Rosalind Looked Closer | Lisa Gerin


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

Out now from Beaming Books; 40 pages.

About the author: “Lisa’s library background exposed a need for more readable children’s books in science and history. She creatively tells stories of exceptional people and events and their impact on our lives’ today. Children gravitate to Lisa’s books because she weaves tales that are relatable and enjoyable to read.” (Bio taken from author’s website). 

Find Lisa Gerin on the following platforms: 

About the illustrator: “Chiara Fedele is an Italian illustrator, born in Milan and now living in the country. She is also the illustrator of A Fall Ball for All, by Jamie A. Swenson; The Brave Cyclist, by Amelia Hoffman; and When Rosa Parks Went Fishing, by Rachel Ruiz” (Bio taken from the back flap of Rosalind Looked Closer).

Find Chiara Fedele on the following platforms: 

“You look at science as some sort of invention of man, something apart from real life. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”

Rosalind Looked Closer is a picture book that chronicles the life of the scientist Rosalind Franklin. The story focuses on upbringing as well as her scientific achievements, showing exactly how she went from a young girl in boarding school to one of the most underrated scientific heroes in history. She studied various types of coal and carbon to make gas masks more effective in World War I and she took the first photograph of a strand of DNA. While Rosalind did not get credit for the latter achievement, she never gave up on science — she always looked closer. 

Rosalind’s perseverance and dedication to the field of science really shines through in this picture book. Gerin’s beautiful and detailed writing will leave readers feeling a mix of emotions after they put the book down. They might be angry at the ways women in STEM were treated during the 1920s. They might be rightfully frustrated with the ways Rosalind was undermined throughout her career. Or, they might find joy in the breakthrough scientific discoveries Rosalind was able to make during her lifetime. I know that I personally felt all three emotions while reading this picture book. 

In addition to Gerin’s writing, Fedele’s illustrations beautifully showcase many of these discoveries, especially Rosalind’s photograph of DNA. These pictures aren’t just a gorgeous addition to this story — they help bring it to life. Science can be a difficult thing to understand, regardless of age, and Fedele’s illustrations visually illustrate the concepts explained in the storyline. This creates a well-rounded, easy-to-understand guide to all of Rosalind Franklin’s achievements that anyone will be able to enjoy reading. 

PRR Writer, Emma Watts