Never Give Up

Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2023
Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press ™

Talking about this book? Use #NeverGiveUp #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


The first-ever picture book biography about Dr. Katalin Karikó, winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

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.

Never Give Up is the inspiring true story of a determined scientist who proved that a little bit of curiosity and a lot of hard work can save lives.

The first-ever picture book biography about Dr. Katalin Karikó, winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

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

Advance Praise

"An engaging look at scientific dedication and the timely development of effective vaccines."—Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging look at scientific dedication and the timely development of effective vaccines."—Kirkus Reviews

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781728456331
PRICE $21.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 28 members

Featured Reviews

Enjoyed this book. I read it with kids. Now they have new vocabulary of DNA, mRNA. They understood that Dr Kati was following her dreams when she chose the science camp over a water park vacation. We saw that for work of her life that could save millions, she has moved to far off places. It is amazing that even through marathon, she would work through research. It shows her "Never Give Up" attitude through all the troubles of lack of support for her work as well as sustained curiosity. Great way of letting the people know of the effort that goes into life saving technologies.

Was this review helpful?

What a wonderful and education story about Kati and her work with mRNA and vaccines. The science content of this book is a bit high for elementary students however, having had them live through the pandemic, it is a story that hits home with them. What a wonderful way to celebrate a woman scientist in addition to showing the perseverance it takes to accomplish your dreams. Would recommend to teachers to share with their students.

Was this review helpful?

It was good to see women getting credit for their accomplishments, even years after the fact. I thought it was interesting how her efforts from long ago made such a pivotal impact on life now.

Was this review helpful?

Never Give Up describes the life of scientist Dr. Kati Karikó and her research on mRNA that led to the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

My biography-loving kindergartner enjoyed this book, but the science content was well ahead of her understanding. For older kids (and even adults) I think this is an informative and inspirational book that is very relevant right now. The author's notes at the end are a nice addition. Even though it's a children's book, the research is cited, which I appreciate. I didn't find the quotations throughout particularly helpful, especially for children, but they were easy to skip so they didn't detract from the reading experience.

Mr. Rogers is known for advising kids to "look for the helpers," and this book helps them do just that. Highly recommend.

Thank you to Lerner Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy for me to review! My family enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?

This was a wonderful book. It follows the life and work of Dr. Kati Kariko who's life work and dedication led to the speedy development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

While I wished the illustrations had another layer of polish, they were wtill very engaging and lovely. They gave a lot of life to the story, with a lot of variety.

I enjoyed how thorough the story was, talking about, for example, her favorite snack and thinking about her research while she ran marathons and the hardships she faced. The timeline and glossary at the back were also a thoughtful touch.

It was clear that this story was presented to inspire and to educate, and I felt it did a very good job at that.

Was this review helpful?

This was a must-read for me, as I have been grateful for and fascinated by the progress of the mRNA technology that led to a COVID-19 vaccine. I am eager to include this in my collection because of the portrayal of a woman in STEM who perservered, and was able to identify a new way to fight this novel virus.

I highly recommend this for all schools and libraries.

Was this review helpful?

This was FASCINATING. I learned SO MUCH. And I think EVERY school and classroom should have this book! It's so informative and so interesting to learn about not only an incredible woman in STEM, but also just vaccines and medicine in general.

This woman deserves at least 32 different medals and we should all know her name. I hope with this book, more people finally do.

Was this review helpful?

Very interesting to learn about how mRNA vaccines were created and that the process was started by a woman. Very relevant to today's times!

Was this review helpful?

We’re entering an era where the beginning of COVID-19 is actually a part of history, which feels incredibly weird to me. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the world’s success in overcoming the dangerous beginning stages of the virus was in motion long before the virus showed up. In Never Give Up by Debbie Dadey, illustrated by Juliana Oakley (Millbrook Press, 2023), we learn just how years of development led to the rapid testing and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The subtitle of this biographical picture book is Dr. Kati Kariko and the Race for the Future of Vaccines, and it tells the story of a determined woman who had an idea and sought to make it work. Kati’s story begins in a small one-roomed home in Hungary, and brings her into the lab developing the COVID-19 vaccine, to her success (obviously!).

But her story is not a simple A-Z journey. Rather, during the 1980s and 1990s, she consistently faced pressures to abandon her idea. She was even demoted from a university assistant professor back to researcher, due to her refusal to abandon her idea of using mRNA to develop a vaccine. Because she began working on these ideas and developing a basic mRNA vaccine for flu, when the call for a COVID-19 vaccine appeared, her company was better prepared to develop and produce a vaccine in a timely manner.

As we all know, the vaccine was developed, tested, and approved in 10 months, instead of years. What a blessing to so many people. Dr. Kati Kariko’s dedication to her scientific ideas has saved many, and I’m personally grateful for her perseverance.

I will admit that I am not clear on the the specifics of how an mRNA vaccine works, although my high school has done an extensive research paper on mRNA so he got it right away. I understand the basics, and this picture did a good job of not overwhelming the young reader with the science. In general, it matched the audience very well. I love that the end matter included a timeline of Kati’s life and the vaccine development, stages and information about vaccines, a glossary of scientific terms, source notes, and a long list for further study, which includes videos and picture books just right for the elementary and middle grade audience.

Everything about this book provides a great introduction to one of the heroes of the COVID-19 crisis, and is a valuable and important contribution to children’s picture books. Home school parents could use Never Give Up as a part of science unit about cells, DNA, vaccines, and other essential microbiological concepts.

I received a digital review copy of Never Give Up.

Was this review helpful?

Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Kariko and the Race for the Future of Vaccines by Debbie Dadey

Never Give Up is about Kati Kariko and her passion for researching mRNA and its potential uses in vaccines. She was interested in science from a young age and ended up going to competitions while in school. She went on to get a doctorate and continued her research. Many of the other scientists thought she was crazy and that using mRNA couldn’t be done. Eventually she found the way to accomplish her goal and it ended up helping create the COVID-19 vaccine! I really enjoyed this book. I liked that it explained things thoroughly but in an easy enough way to understand. It also included a time-line of her life and a glossary. The illustrations were nice too! Dr. Kati is a true inspiration for anyone looking to get into science or for anyone who has a dream. The book also had inspirational quotes by Dr. Kati.

Thank you NetGalley, Debbie Dadey, and Millbrook Press for allowing me to read this advanced copy of Never Give Up! I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in science.

Was this review helpful?

Fascinating biography of Dr. Kati Kariko and her work on mRNA vaccines, including the breakthroughs that contributed to the COVID-19 vaccine. This one was so good that at the end, my daughter didn't ask to read it again, she asked me to drive her to Pennsylvania to meet Dr. Kariko. It intersperses quotes from the doctor and people who know her in text boxes that really made me feel her joy in scientific discovery. It is a really wonderful story of believing in yourself, following the science even when no one else believes, and finding the right people to work with. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read early!

Was this review helpful?

This biography of scientist Kati Kariko emphasizes her perseverance and dedication in the search for a way to perfect mRNA vaccines. After 40 years of hard work she and a colleague succeeded. The book is clearly written and interesting and includes helpful quotes from Dr. Kariko as well as supportive illustrations and explanations. Back matter also includes Steps in Making a Vaccine, Stages All vaccines Must Go through Before They are Given to the Public, an Author's Note, and a glossary. This is very helpful in adding addition information. Young readers can learn a great deal about how scientists work from this well-crafted book

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: