200 years, an 18 year old girl created what was arguably the first true science fiction novel. Her work was also a masterpiece of the gothic genre. Her name was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
You’ve heard me say it a hundred times…Frankenstein; or a Modern Prometheus is my all time favorite book.
I’m very excited because Linda Bailey has just published a picture book about how Mary came to write this iconic story.
The book is illustrated in gloomy but no scary illustrations by Júlia Sardà. The illustrations bring you the creepy cold feeling of that stormy night when Mary and her friends agreed to each write a ghost story.
Bailey also gives us a glimpse into Mary’s tragic life, though the book is more about the writing process than a biography. Mary’s mother died when Mary was only 11 days old and her unhappy (at times) childhood was spent in daydreams and imagination.
The authors note at the end tells that Mary’s life was tragic all along. Even after meeting and marrying Percy Bysshe Shelley, she lost three of her four children in childhood. Percy himself died in a sailing accident as a relatively young man, and many of her friends died tragically young.
I’m looking forward to sharing this book with 4th grade as our Halloween story this year. It’s spooky, but not scary, and hopefully it will inspire them to someday read the greatest book I’ve ever read.