Review: Rosalind Looked Closer
Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science
by Lisa Gerin, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Beaming Books (imprint of 1517 Media), 2022
The story mentions that Rosalind is the only Jewish girl at her boarding school. It also touches on the dire situation of World War II, but does not relate it to Rosalind’s life other than noting that “Rosalind and her four siblings realized how lucky they were living in England where Jewish people were protected” and describing Rosalind’s work on gas masks for the war effort. This is probably not enough connection to the Jewish experience to qualify the book for a Sydney Taylor Book Award.
What makes the book more notable in Jewish representation, but again probably not for an award, is that the illustrations show Rosalind’s Ashkenazi Jewish punim (face). While nothing should be remarkable about depicting someone accurately, I notice that in illustrations of some Ashkenazi Jewish women, features become a little pointier and hair a little lighter than the subjects’ actually were. It’s good to see a close portrayal of the face of this accomplished scientist.
Rosalind Looked Closer is an excellent STEM picture book example of a young person overcoming societal obstacles, pursuing dreams, and creating a real impact on the world. School librarians, classroom teachers, and children with interest in science will all appreciate the details and inspiration in this book.
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