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Never Give Up

Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race

for the Future of Vaccines



Millbrook Press

(Lerner Publishing)

(pub.3.7.2023) 40 pages

ages 5-10

Author: Debbie Dadey

Illustrator: Juliana Oakley

Character: Dr. Kati Karikó


" Growing up in a small Hungarian town, Kati Karikó was curious about everything.

As an adult, she channeled her curiosity into her work as a scientist. An mRNA vaccine had never been made before, and she faced frequent criticism and was told by other scientists she would never succeed. After many years of hard work and dedication, she figured out how to use mRNA to make a vaccine―and when a deadly virus called COVID-19 started infecting millions of people, Kati’s invention turned out to be exactly what the world needed."

Tantalizing taste:

" That evening, Kati told her family she wanted to be a scientist. Apuka was a butcher, and Anyuka, Kati's mother, did the bookkeeping at a nearby bottle factory. They believed that with hard work and perseverance, their children could do anything.

Anyuka said, 'I look forward to you earning the Noble Prize.'

Kati loved a challenge. Could she really win the biggest honor possible for a scientist?"

And something more: Debbie Dadey, in the Author's Note writes about choosing to write this book: "Dr. Katalin Karikó's pioneering work with mRNA inspired me and I wanted other people to know what she achieved. Her curiosity and tenacity saved many lives during the COVID-19 pandemic...I am thankful to scientists like Kati who want to make the world better and don't give up even when times are hard."

In the Acknowledgments section listing numerous awards she has won, the book includes this quote: "A cofounder of Moderna, Derrick Rossi, said, 'Katalin Karikó deserves the Nobel Prize.'"


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