Sunday, February 19, 2012


Ottaviani, Jim. 2011. FEYNMAN. Ill by Leland Myrick. New York: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9781596432598 [Suggested Grade Levels 8–12]

Ottaviani brings to young adult readers a fascinating look at the life of the late physicist Richard Feynman. Using a back and forth story technique in a graphic novel format, the author recounts Feynman’s life in such a way that the complexities of his explorations into physics seems reachable for anyone. Yet despite Feynman’s gifted abilities, he expresses an aversion to writing papers on his findings, which will find a responsive chord in most young adults. Later in life, his decision to stop drinking is presented in a very precise, logical way, just as Feynman presents his findings. Ottaviani continues to give the reader these snippets of a real person that demystifies the legend while maintaining Feynman’s uniqueness.

Biographies of famous scientists are often dry and appeal only to those who have a specific interest. Ottaviani has broken this expectation by crafting a relaxed look at not just the scientist but the boy, the young adult, and the man behind the brain that made pivotal changes in the way the world is understood. The reader is exposed to not just the Nobel-winning quantum physicist, but to the man who is an older brother, a musician, a loving husband, and a jokester who many call one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century.

Two story maps could be created from this graphic novel, one following the personal history of Feynman and the other the scientific discoveries he made or participated in. Comparisons could also be made to contemporary scientists of Feynman’s time, both personally and scientifically.

Ottaviani, Jim. TWO-FISTED SCIENCE. ISBN 978-0978803742
Stannard, Russell. TIME AND SPACE OF UNCLE ALBERT. ISBN 9780571226153

By Christine J. Rayl

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