Messages of self-esteem, women in science focus of CSLC Young Readers

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Henry Herz

What would have happened if Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie had decided to use her intelligence to join “the dark side” instead of using it for scientific research and advances?

That’s just one imagined possibility young readers can explore through genres like fantasy, science fiction, and even horror in a compilation of 20 short stories and poems by multiple award-winning authors, based — however loosely — on Curie’s adventures as a teenager. 

At 12:15 p.m. today on the porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall, young readers and children’s literature enthusiasts are welcome to gather for a discussion based around this week’s CLSC Young Reader selection, The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Henry Herz.

Curie, born Maria Sklodowska, was a Polish-French physicist and chemist who was a pioneer in the discovery of polonium and radium recognized for her work in radioactivity.

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie — which was announced as a CLSC Young Reader book during last summer’s Byrant’s Day celebration — speaks to the legacy of women in science across history, while putting a fun twist on it, said Manager of Literary Arts Stephine Hunt. 

“Some of these stories are fictionalized, or have fictionalized elements, influenced by her story,” Hunt said. “It’s putting a bit more of the storytelling (aspect) into it and feels more like a historical fiction piece.”

The book also follows the Chautauqua Lecture Series of the week, “What We Got Wrong: Learning from our Mistakes,” through its stories, said Hunt.

“(Teenaged Curie) has to overcome challenges sometimes that she causes herself, and sometimes ones that she encounters very simply for being a woman in the scientific field,” Hunt said.

Chautauquan Holly Marineau and Brette Hindman, an assistant at Smith Memorial Library, will be leading the discussion for The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie, highlighting key themes and topics present in the book and opening up a space for conversation among those who read the book or may want to read it in the future.

This week’s early reader book, Big, by Vashti Harrison is a picture book about a young ballerina exploring what it means to be big in different ways, like height, build and personality. It will be part of today’s discussion if time allows.

“Young women and women (of any age) frequently encounter self-esteem issues and critiques of their bodies throughout their lives,” said Hunt, and Big encourages young women to have different understandings of their bodies, instilling confidence in them at a young age.

Following the book discussion, a Play CHQ event will be hosted on the Alumni Hall Lawn if weather allows, where kids of any age can engage in activities and games related to the book. 

Tags : Bryan Thomas SchmidtChautauqua Literary and Scientific CircleCLSC Young ReadersCSLCHenry Herzliterary artsMaria SklodowskaMarie CurieThe Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie

The author Sabine Obermoller

Sabine Obermoller is spending her first year as an intern at The Chautauquan Daily as the literary arts reporter. She is a rising senior at Ohio University majoring in journalism and minoring in retail fashion merchandising. She is from Santiago, Chile, where her family and beloved dog Oliver still live. Sabine serves as the director of public relations for Ohio University’s student-run fashion magazine, Thread Magazine. In her free time she enjoys reading, crocheting, concerts, watching movies, and fangirling over various celebrities. Sabine will never say no to a Chai latte with almond milk.