Perkin’s Perfect Purple

Queen Victoria commanded “Make me a purple velvet crown!”

But purple was tricky.

Until a boy named William Perkin did an experiment at home during his spring break.

William wanted to invent a new medicine to cure malaria, but his experiment, using the scientific method, created something else…
the world’s first synthetic dye. PURPLE FOR THE PEOPLE! And a new way to approach chemistry, to identify and cure disease, and to make a better world.

Perkin’s Perfect Purple: How A Boy Created Color With Chemistry will be in bookstores and libraries on October 6, 2020.

Reviews & Accolades

  • KIRKUS Starred Review- Aug. 1, 2020 “The narrative is brisk, alliterative, and full of well-chosen details…The conclusion and extraordinarily rich author’s note and period visuals emphasize the White Englishman’s contributions to the fashion, medical, and scientific communities.Perfect for STEAM-infused reading and for grasping the value of serendipity.”
  • Horn Book- September/October 2020 “Populist message… thorough history…meticulous science process”
  • School Library Journal Sept. 1, 2020 “This pleasant narrative detailing an unexpected discovery could appeal to readers interested in a variety of subjects: history, science, fashion, and uplifting stories of perseverance.”

  • OUTSTANDING MERIT  Bank Street Best Books Of The Year 2021    “Trying for a medical breakthrough, a chemistry student discovered a new hue that satisfied Queen Victoria’s wish for a truly purple gown. Playfully illustrated. Rich historical and scientific back matter.

Perkin’s Perfect Purple is a 2021 Cook Prize Honor Book

“The Cook Prize is named in memory of two ground breaking Bank Street educators – Don Cook of the Graduate School of Education, and Michael Cook (no relation) of the School for Children… The Cook Prize honors the best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) picture book for children aged eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM book.”