Even as a child in Austria in the early 1920s, Hedy's curious mind wanted to know how things worked. What powered automobiles? Which type of motor worked best in an airplane? How could she improve a machine's design? At age five, Hedy took apart her music box to examine the mechanism.
Hedy Lamarr's Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark is the second book I've read by Wallmark about women in STEM and I hope this is just a beginning of a lengthy series. This children's biography tells the story of Hedy's interests in science and invention, as well as her love of acting. Wallmark describes how these interests grew from her childhood onward, how she became a famous actress but continued to invent, and how she and another scientist came up with frequency hopping, an invention that is used today as a security feature in modern electronics.
Written for ages 5 and up, Hedy Lamarr's Double Life is loaded with quotations by Hedy about her life.
"(My father) had encouraged me by telling me to hold fast to my dream and that if I held fast it would come true."
The book includes a timeline of Hedy Lamarr's life; a separate, more in-depth description of Hedy and her friend George's frequency-hopping invention (so the book can grow a bit with your child); a selected bibliography of books about Lamarr and additional suggested reading about women in STEM; and, a list of Hedy Lamarr's film credits.
Highly recommended - Books about women's accomplishments and bios of women in STEM seem to be among the new, big things in publishing and I couldn't be happier. It's wonderful to read about smart, talented, driven women. I wish books like this had been available when I was young but I'm happy they're around, now. I have two granddaughters and I'm thrilled that they'll have access to books that will help encourage them early if they choose to go into fields that are still, in many cases, male-dominated.
Also by Wallmark and Wu:
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu
Updating: Completely forgot to add the line about who I got the book from. I received a copy of Hedy Lamarr's Double Life from Sterling Children's Books for review. Thank you, Sterling! Please keep this series going for a long, long time!!!
And, for Fiona Friday I give you a sadly out-of-focus photo (it was over too quickly) of Fiona climbing my knees and peeking over to say hello.
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