Creepy Chronicles: March 2024

For the kids looking for more dark and twisted tales, Erika is here to bring you a middle grade scare!

The Radium Girls: Young Reader’s Edition by Kate Moore
All available formats

After the discovery of the Radium element by the Curies in 1898, America was eager to find a use of it to gain as much profit as possible. From paint to beauty products, radium was soon added as a ‘cure all’ ingredient. When the United States Radium Corporation opened its doors for women to work as watch dial painters in 1917, they assured the women the paint was “harmless”, as the workers were instructed to point their brushes by shaping the bristles in their mouths: lip, dip, paint. What started off as minor toothaches quickly morphed into tumors and jaw bones decaying. In this true story that dives into the history of worker’s rights, the law, and medicine, Radium Girls highlights this dark point in women’s history.

There were many aspects of the young reader’s edition of this book that I actually prefer to the original. The photographs are dispersed throughout the story rather than all together in the middle, which I found helpful as we learn about those involved in this moment of history. The end of the young reader’s edition also includes a timeline of the events, amplifying how early we knew of the dangers of radium and yet had allowed women to be working with the element the entire time.  This book would be a great introduction to true crime as well as topics of feminism and class.

Images from Library of Congress

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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