The fascinating true story of groundbreaking chemist William Perkin, who used the scientific method to invent a new way for creating the color purple.
Many years ago, the color purple was available only to a privileged few. Making purple was tricky. The dye was concocted from a certain snail, and later, from plants, bugs, and rocks. Then it had to be soaked in minerals and . . . urine! The process was very complicated and expensive (not to mention smelly!).
Until 1856, when a boy named William Henry Perkin invented a new way. While testing a hypothesis about a cure for malaria, he found that his experiment resulted in something else -- something vivid and rare for the times: synthetic PURPLE. Perkin, a pioneer of the modern scientific method, made numerous advances possible, including canned food and chemotherapy. But it was his creation of purple that started it all.
Authors Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn craft a compelling tale, and Francesca Sanna's dynamic art is a joyous celebration of Perkin's impactful purple.
About the Author
Tami Lewis Brown is a former lawyer and elementary school librarian. She holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has written a novel for children and several picture books, including Instructions Not Included, co-written with Debbie Loren Dunn. Tami is always on the lookout for a new story to tell -- the more weird or wonderful the better. She lives with her family in Washington, DC.
Debbie Loren Dunn graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in computer science and worked in the computer industry for twenty years, specializing in databases and data mining. She holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She loves true stories about people doing amazing things -- especially when others have told them they can't, or they shouldn't. She is the coauthor of Instructions Not Included and lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.
Francesca Sanna is an illustrator and children's book author, whose books include The Journey and Me and My Fear. She is a recipient of the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and Illustrator Honor, the Parents' Choice Awards Gold Medal, and an Amnesty CILIP Kate Greenaway Honour, among others. When she was a teen, she dyed her hair purple, which made her feel extremely cool. Francesca grew up in Italy and is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland.
"Perfect for STEAM-infused reading and for grasping the value of serendipity."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This pleasant narrative detailing an unexpected discovery could appeal to readers interested in a variety of subjects: history, science, fashion, and uplifting stories of perseverance."
—School Library Journal
"Brown and Dunn provide a thorough history of the color purple and reinforce the important, lifesaving ripple effects Perkin's discovery and systematic methods had across the scientific community; they smartly devote several pages to Perkin's meticulous scientific process."