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Little People, BIG DREAMS: Stephen Hawking

Authored by Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by Matt Hunt
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

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Stephen Hawking (1944-2018) is famous for making one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th Century. Stephen discovered Hawking’s Radiation, which showed that matter could escape from black holes. Children will enjoy learning some interesting facts about this great man. For example, Stephen was never top of his class, yet his classmates nicknamed ‘Einstein’, after the great scientist. As a schoolboy, he even built a computer from clock parts and an old telephone.

Given that he was born in 1944, this invention was remarkable because computers were not common at that time. Hawking got a dreadful diagnosis from doctors when he only 21. Children will be fascinated at how he confounded the medical experts.

The illustrations are excellent. They show Hawking as a child – at home with his eccentric family, in school and then in University. Hunt has selected critical moments in Hawking’s life that will appeal to children. These include depicting him as a Dad, giving his children rides in his wheelchair. Another illustration shows the glee he experienced on his 65th birthday. The picture shows him floating in zero gravity conditions with a team of astronauts. Hawking made significant scientific discoveries, but this book will show children too, that, ‘however difficult life may seem, there is always something that you can do and succeed at’.

The Little People, Big Dreams series demonstrates that famous people began as little people who had a dream and went on to achieve incredible things in their lives. It is ideal for school and classroom libraries. The series will be invaluable for students who like the genre of biography. It might also be a stepping-stone to more detailed biographies about remarkable people.