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Kati's Tiny Messengers

Dr. Katalin Karikó

and the Battle Against Covid-19



Quill Tree Books

(HarperCollins Publishers)

(pub.10.3.2023) 40 pages

Ages 4-8

Author: Megan Hoyt

Illustrator: Vivien Mildenberger

Character: Katalin Karikó


" When she was young, Katalin Karikó decided she would study science—even though she had never even met a scientist! But she was determined to learn as much as she could about the human body, and once she made a decision, she stuck with it. Katalin had to learn English while attending university, but she worked hard until she became a doctor.

After facing many challenges, including lack of research funding and harsh immigration policies, Kati and her family uprooted from Hungary and moved to America, where she became a top researcher. She knew that, with work, she could teach one of the building blocks of life, messenger RNA, to fight off harmful viruses. There was just one problem—no one else believed her.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Kati and her work were thrust into the spotlight. But with her unshakable will, she was ready to face the challenge."

Tantalizing taste:

" Kati's mind never took a break. Messenger RNA danced through her dreams and filled up her days. She loved her research, even though some scientists were skeptical of her ideas. 'This sounds almost like science fiction,' they said. Kati knew it sounded impossible. She had trouble convincing any lab to give her grant money to continue working on these tiny messengers that would tell human cells how to fight viral invaders. But each experiment brought glimmers of hope. She jotted down notes and figures and celebrated every success, no matter how small."

And something more: A letter from Katalin Karikó is included in the back matter of KATI'S TINY MESSENGERS, and it includes the following touching and inspiring thoughts: "I grew up in a small town in Hungary, in a house with no running water. How did I go from that life to impacting so many people with my scientific discoveries? I can answer that question in one word: curiosity!

...We never had expected our discovery to impact billions of people around the world, and not every idea will do that. But I want you to know that no matter what the people around you say, no matter how many people tell you what you are trying to do is impossible, you just keep on pursuing your dream. If you work hard to achieve your goals, you may impact a whole generation. But even if you impact only one person, you will have changed their world."


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