All art © 2020 Jaclyn Warren
When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I said how about a copy of the new book Brilliant!, by David Michael Warren, Illustrated by Jaclyn Warren. To my delight, it arrived in the mail a couple weeks later! When I saw a preview of this book, I knew it would be right up my alley and something that I’d be excited to share with my son and any other children who came along. For all of my artistic leanings, I’ve been a big fan of science for most of my life, particularly the natural sciences and astronomy. This book features 25 notable people in the sciences, mathematics, music & medicine who all have one thing in common common, they are Catholics!
There’s a giant myth that the world likes to perpetuate, that science and faith are diametrically opposed. This book exposes that myth, and quite well. Numerous pioneers in the sciences and medicine came from faithful backgrounds, and quite a lot of those were Catholic. Figures such as Father Marin Mersenne, the Father of Acoustics, Louis Pasteur, the Founder of Microbiology, and DNA Pioneer Sister Miriam Michael Stimson are profiled here along with so many others, with so many accomplishments. Did you know that a nun was on the team that helped pave the way for personal computers? Her name was Sister Mary Kenneth Keller. Did you know that the inventor of the rabies vaccine is now a saint? St. Giuseppe Moscati! And the father of the Big Bang Theory is of course, Fr. Georges Lemaître. A couple of the persons profiled are still living today; Pope Francis (Environmental sciences) and Karin Oberg (Astrochemist). Each of the 25 “supersmart” people is profiled over some 2.5 pages, with a big illustration. This would make going over 2 or 3 profiles a night with younger kids fairly simple, or make for easy reading for your slightly older children.
Now for my favorite part- the illustrations! I must admit, what caught my eye first about this book was the modern take on art nouveau style, which is totally my cuppa tea. The life-like graphite drawings rendered by Jaclyn Warren are beautifully done, and are stylized just enough to make for a very cohesive project. Each figure gets one large illustration along with a spot illustration or two that are cleverly laid out. And I particularly love this page, which is reminiscent of the advertising style used around the turn of the last century (when St. Giuseppe Moscati was working):
Looking for a book that inspires your family toward both faith and reason, in a beautiful fashion? I highly recommend that you nab yourself a copy of Brilliant! today!
Author: David Michael Warren
Illustrator: Jaclyn Warren
Age Range: 7-11