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Children's Fiction European

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

by (author) Linda Bailey

illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Initial publish date
Aug 2018
European, Books & Libraries, Girls & Women
Recommended Age
5 to 9
Recommended Grade
k to 4
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


The inspiring story of the girl behind one of the greatest novels -- and monsters -- ever, perfectly timed for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. For fans for picture book biographies such as I Dissent or She Persisted.

How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her strict father and overbearing stepmother is through the stories she reads and imagines. Unhappy at home, she seeks independence, and at the age of sixteen runs away with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, another dreamer. Two years later, they travel to Switzerland where they meet a famous poet, Lord Byron. On a stormy summer evening, with five young people gathered around a fire, Byron suggests a contest to see who can create the best ghost story. Mary has a waking dream about a monster come to life. A year and a half later, Mary Shelley's terrifying tale, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, is published -- a novel that goes on to become the most enduring monster story ever and one of the most popular legends of all time.

A riveting and atmospheric picture book about the young woman who wrote one of the greatest horror novels ever written and one of the first works of science fiction, Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein is an exploration of the process of artistic inspiration that will galvanize readers and writers of all ages.

About the authors

Linda Bailey a jonglé longtemps avec l'idée d'écrire, mais ce n'est qu'après avoir eu ses deux filles qu'elle a lancé sa carrière d'auteure. Elle a écrit des albums, des romans et aussi des livres informatifs. Linda a beaucoup voyagé dans sa vie et ses livres aussi! Certains sont publiés en Chine, en Corée, en Australie, en Grèce, en Pologne et dans de nombreux autres pays.


Linda Bailey has written more than twenty books for children in a number of different genres, including the best-selling Stanley-the-dog series, Toads on Toast, and most recently, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur (Si jamais tu avais un dinosaure...). Linda has garnered a long list of honours in Canada such as the Ontario Blue Spruce Award, the Atlantic Provinces Hackmatack Award and the Arthur Ellis Award. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Linda Bailey's profile page

Júlia Sardà's profile page


  • Nominated, Silver Birch Prize
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Nominated, Sakura Medal
  • Short-listed, UKLA Book Award - Information Books
  • Winner, Information Book Award
  • Winner, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award
  • Winner, UK School Library Association Information Book Award - 7-12 Years
  • Long-listed, Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award
  • Short-listed, Kate Greenaway Medal

Editorial Reviews

Named one of Horn Book’s CaldeNott Honour Books 2019
One of USBBY's Outstanding International Books 2019
One of Children’s Book Review’s Best Non-Fiction Picture Books of 2018
A Canadian Children’s Book News Bookseller Recommendation (Winter 2018)
One of CBC Books' Best Canadian Children's and YA Books of 2018
One of Globe and Mail's 100 Notable Books of 2018
One of Globe and Mail's 100 Best Books of the Year 2018
One of Publishers Weekly's Best Children’s and YA Books 2018
One of New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2018
One of Evanston Public Library's 101 Great Books for Kids 2018
A Booklist Editor's Choice, Top of the List 2018
PRAISE FOR Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein:
“[Júlia] Sardà’s distinctive angular illustrations are rife with thoughtful period detail and patterns in rich tones, evoking an appropriately maudlin mood while showcasing how Shelley’s life was a catalyst to art and creativity—and, perhaps, the birth of science fiction.” —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

"[Bailey’s] writing is warm and inclusive, posing occasional questions directly to the reader and establishing Shelley as a spirited dreamer . . . . Readers will revel in this artful portrait of a celebrated young author and better appreciate the true brains behind the operation." STARRED REVIEW, Booklist
“The many decorative details, reminiscent of 18th-century gravestone designs, will fascinate children, and the gaunt, Gorey-like, grave-pallid figures will send chills down the spine. An exciting tale in its own right, this biography should prime readers for the original.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Sardà’s snappy, elegant illustrations evoke Gothic suspense. . . . Visually atmospheric and bold.” —Toronto Star

“If you have an aspiring writer on your list this year, a story of one of literature’s finest female horror writers will thrill and inspire them." —Barnes & Noble

"Linda Bailey will inspire young writers with this picture book biography of Mary Shelley, the girl who dreamed up the idea for one of the greatest novels of all time." —School Library Connection
“Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein . . . is sure to inspire would-be writers and other imaginative minds. I heartily recommend this book for any library, public or personal – adult readers will enjoy it, too!" —Resource Links

“A riveting and atmospheric picture book . . . an exploration of the process of artistic inspiration that will galvanize readers and writers of all ages.” —Children’s Book Review

"[T]his account of Shelley’s life and how she dreamed up her now-famous story will captivate young readers.” —Booklist Online

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein shows how a book can be imagined and created through the inspiration of personal experiences and daydreams. It is a book that will inspire readers that they, too, can become writers by tapping into their own experiences and imaginations!” —CM Magazine

“An excellent introduction to classic literature for young readers. . . . With the muted palette of grey, maroon and burnt orange, one feels transported into a world of gothic intrigue where ghouls can roam amongst us.” —Canadian Children’s Book News

Other titles by Linda Bailey

Other titles by Júlia Sardà

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