Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor

Laurie Wallmark, illus. by Katy Wu. Sterling, $16.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4549-2691-7
Wallmark and Wu (Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code) add another title to the People Who Shaped Our World series, shining a spotlight on the lesser-known side of movie star Hedy Lamarr: the inventor. Lamarr, with friend George Antheil, came up with an idea for a secure torpedo guidance system during WWII, developing a technology that’s used today to secure digital communications. Her “frequency-hopping spread spectrum” allowed torpedo communications devices to rapidly change frequencies, reducing the chances its radio signal would be intercepted, changed, or blocked. Spreads include a quotation from the multifaceted Lamarr (“Improving things comes naturally to me”), and pages recap her inquisitive childhood in Vienna, other inventions, and acting history before explaining the concept of frequency hopping in digitally rendered cartoons. Part picture book biography and part tech primer, the volume concludes with a selected bibliography, a timeline, and a list of the star’s movies. Ages 5–up. Author’s agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2018
Release date: 02/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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