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  • Little, Brown Young Readers US

Perkin's Perfect Purple: How a Boy Created Color with Chemistry

Tami Lewis Brown, Debbie Loren Dunn, Francesca Sanna

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Natural history (Children’s/Teenage)

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.

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