Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science by Lisa Gerin and Chiara Fedele

Happy, happy Friday! Lisa Gerin stopped by to finish my sentences. We discuss Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science, Chiara Fedele's illustrations, nonfiction picture books, school libraries, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Lisa wrote the words in black. Thank you, Lisa!

Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science tells the story of the amazing Jewish scientist Rosalind Franklin who took hundreds of pictures of DNA in the 1950s. Her best picture, called Photo 51, showed DNA to be shaped as a double helix. She was one of the few female scientists using a new technique, X Ray crystallography. 

Chiara Fedele’s illustrations are beautiful and so creative. She brings warmth and life to a lady scientist that not too many children and even adults know about. I love the muted color pallet Chiara used. She captured the heart of my story and then some. I cried when I first saw her gorgeous spreads of Rosalind as a child and adult. 

Nonfiction picture books are having a golden age! When we were kids, nonfiction books were kind of encyclopedic? Now they are so much more creative and fun. The storytelling in biographies and other nonfiction for kids is on a higher level.

School libraries are the heart of a school. They are not just a place to sign out books, but maker spaces, tech hubs. I grew up on libraries; my first job as a teen was at a public library and I loved working with kids as an elementary librarian. My elementary school librarian at P.S. 184 in Queens, fostered a love for books in me from first grade on.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… Why is Rosalind’s story so important right now?

Although Rosalind Franklin was known for her work in discovering DNA’s double helix shape, she also researched RNA, DNA’s cousin. She looked at the RNA in different plants and saw how viruses in these plants mimicked human viruses, such as polio. So her scientific studies from the 1950s help today’s researchers of the CORONA 19 virus. And I think her story will especially inspire today’s girls who are interested in STEM careers.

Lisa Gerin is a former elementary librarian and high school teacher with a Masters' degree in Education. She had a satisfying career working with children, teaching reading and writing for grades PreK through 12. Lisa now writes nonfiction picture books. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, but was raised in New York City. Lisa loves animals and nature, especially her rescue kittens, Thor and Cleo. Rosalind Looked Closer is her debut picture book.

Chiara Fedele is an Italian illustrator, born in Milan and now living in the country. She has a degree in illustration and has worked for publishers around the world since 2004. Her illustrations, a mix of traditional and digital, are characterized by strong gestural features that create an emotional texture completed by a strong chromatic sensitivity. She is also the illustrator of A Fall Ball for All, by Jamie A. Swenson; The Brave Cyclist, by Amalia Hoffman; and When Rosa Parks Went Fishing, by Rachel Ruiz.


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