Thematic Reading List: Nobel Prize winners
In the history of its existence, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to outstanding humans from around the world. These people have contributed significantly to their areas of expertise and have moved global civilization forward in doing so. From peace to science to literature, these movers and shakers have made and continue to make a mark on the world. In honor of Nobel Prize Day (December 10), this book list is comprised of non-fiction titles about several winners of this prestigious award written for children ages 8-12.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
By: Aaron Frisch
A biography of the twentieth-century physicist whose theories of relativity revolutionized the way we look at space and time.
|Alfred Nobel: the Man Behind the Prize
By: Kathy-jo Wargin
Illustrated by: Zachary Pullen
Alfred Nobel was the man who founded what became known as The Nobel Prizes. Nobel also invented dynamite, becoming very wealthy from his invention. Saddened by its use for harmful destruction, Nobel left his fortune to create yearly prizes for those who have rendered the greatest services to mankind.
By: Jim Ottaviani
In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered from his death.
|The Goose Man: the Story of Konrad Lorenz
By: Elaine Greenstein
This book tells the true story of Konrad Lorenz, whose love for animals as a child led to his winning the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking research of the behavior of geese.
By: Vicki Cobb
Biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Polish scientist whose work with radium helped to change the world.
|Marie Curie for Kids
By: Amy M. O’Quinn
Marie Curie, renowned for her work on radioactivity, was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win in two fields (chemistry and physics), and the first woman to hold a chair position at the Sorbonne. Marie Curie for Kids details Curie’s remarkable life, from her childhood under a repressive czar in Poland to her tireless work supporting herself through college to meeting her ideal match in scientist Pierre Curie to her revolutionary research. Kids learn how Curie quietly flouted societal norms, working in full partnership with her husband while also teaching and raising two daughters. Scientific concepts are presented in a clear, accessible way, and a range of activities–from making Polish pierogi to exploring magnetism to using electrolysis to split water–allow for exploration of Curie’s life, times, and work.
By: Demi Komm
A biography of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as Mother Teresa, who spent most of her life serving “the poorest of the poor” in Calcutta, India.
By: Rowena Akinyemi
Tells the life story of Nelson Mandela, who fought for human rights, endured years in prison, and became the President of South Africa.
|Nobel’s Women of Peace
By: Michelle Benjamin and Maggie Mooney
Profiles the twelve female recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize since its creation, including how they became activists for peace and their accomplishments before and after winning the prestigious award.
|Seeds of Change
By: Jen Cullerton Johnson
Illustrated by: Sonia Lynn Sadler
A biography of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a female scientist who made a stand in the face of opposition to women’s rights and her own Greenbelt Movement, an effort to restore Kenya’s ecosystem by planting millions of trees.
By: Michael Cooper
A biography of the president includes his interest in conservation, his presidency, his winning of the Nobel Prize, his career as a soldier and author, and his role as a devoted family man.
By: Barbara Kramer
Read about Toni Morrison’s life and writings.
|Wangari Maathai: the Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
By: Franck Prévot
Illustrated by: Aurélia Fronty
Recounts the life and accomplishments of the environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.