Hamline News

MFAC Alumna Cheryl Bardoe Publishes Book for Children

Bardoe 375

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe (MFAC ‘10)
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 2018


The true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream.

When her parents took away her candles to keep their young daughter from studying math…nothing stopped Sophie. When a professor discovered that the homework sent to him under a male pen name came from a woman…nothing stopped Sophie. And when she tackled a math problem that male scholars said would be impossible to solve…still, nothing stopped Sophie.

For six years Sophie Germain used her love of math and her undeniable determination to test equations that would predict patterns of vibrations. She eventually became the first woman to win a grand prize from France’s prestigious Academy of Sciences for her formula, which laid the groundwork for much of modern architecture (and can be seen in the book’s illustrations).

Award-winning author Cheryl Bardoe’s inspiring and poetic text is brought to life by acclaimed artist Barbara McClintock’s intricate pen-and-ink, watercolor, and collage illustrations in this true story about a woman who let nothing stop her.


"The artwork--created with pen and ink, watercolor, and collage--is truly a sight to behold.... A highly recommended choice to the growing shelf of picture book biographies featuring women in STEM."
School Library Journal, starred review

"Cheryl Bardoe's story brings Sophie to life for young readers. With watercolor and collage illustrations, Barbara McClintock captures not only the time period but also the complexity of the math problems that occupied Sophie's mind. ...a highly recommended addition to the growing number of books about women who have made significant contributions to knowledge yet have received little or no recognition."
—School Library Connection, starred review

"Engaging.... Inspiring."

"This portrait of a quiet heroine is elegant, striking, and sure to inspire."
Kirkus Reviews

"McClintock's scenes of 18th-century France are infused with a golden glow; numbers loom along city streets and burst from Germain's quill pen. Bardoe concludes this warm biography by emphasizing how later mathematicians built upon Germain's work."
—Publishers Weekly

"Impressive.... Bardoe and McClintock have...gone into new territory, tried new artistic techniques, and brought to life ideas that until now have never been displayed in this way in a biography for kids.... They not only succeeded but triumphed."
—Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production

"Bardoe's text is concise and clear, right down to kid-tailored explanations of Sophie's mathematical pursuits. McClintock's line and watercolor scenes are an engaging meld of literal scene-setting and whimsical mathematical symbolism."

Congratulations, Cheryl!