MASKED HERO: How Wu Lien-teh Invented the Mask That Ended an Epidemic, by Shan Woo Liu and Lisa Wee, MIT Kids Press, Oct. 10, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Meet the man who invented the precursor to the N95 mask in Masked Hero: How Wu Lien-teh Invented the Mask That Ended an Epidemic, by Shan Woo Liu and Lisa Wee.
More than a hundred years before Covid, a deadly pneumonic plague threatened to sweep through Northeast China. Medical experts were summoned to help contain it—among them Wu Lien-teh, who had overcome hurdles to be a doctor since his boyhood in Malaysia. Unlike others, Dr. Wu deduced the disease was spread through airborne bacteria and advocated for quarantines and other measures familiar to readers today, including the use of a face covering he designed from layers of cloth and gauze: the first version of the N95 mask.
Wu Lien-teh faced ridicule and discrimination, but his trailblazing methods prevailed: the 1910 Manchurian plague was vanquished in four months, and his invention continues to keep us safe now. Masked Hero, written by Dr. Wu Lien-teh’s great-granddaughter Shan Woo Liu and illustrated by Lisa Wee, celebrates the little-known history of the N95 mask and the hero who first devised it. Back matter, including an author’s note and a time line, sheds further light on the ever-relevant past, encouraging budding scientists to think bravely—and remember the small acts we all can perform to keep our communities safe. —Synopsis provided by MIT Kids Press
Most kids ages 4-8 are familiar with face masks. Many will have worn them at some point during the Covid-19 pandemic. Masked Hero provides context for that period in their lives.
Masked Hero is the story of a doctor’s determination to save people’s lives. This fascinating picture book biography follows Wu Lien-teh from childhood through his career. Readers will be amazed at his ingenuity that earned him a nomination for the Nobel Prize in 1935.
Author Shan Woo Liu’s text is comfortable and informative. And Lisa Wee’s digital art captures both time and place perfectly.
Masked Hero is an inspiring picture book that remains timely.
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