Monday, October 14, 2013

Challenging the status quo

Who says women can’t be doctors?:the story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone is a terrific picture book about the first women to become a doctor in the United States in 1849.

It has a pretty typical biography format chronologically outlining Elizabeth’s life. Her childhood and her nature as a child are given several pages.  Despite being a “tiny wisp of a girl” she was supposedly a fairly resolute child who didn't back down from a challenge or a fight.

This quality would stand her in good stead when it came time for her to get into medical school and attending the school once she was accepted.  Neither of these was easy.  Twenty-eight schools refused her admittance.  The school that did accept her, Geneva Medical School in upstate New York, had done so more as a joke.  But her determination to stick it out resulted in her graduating with the highest grades.

That’s where the book ends but the author’s note at the end of the book fills us in on the rest of Elizabeth’s life as a struggling woman doctor.

Elizabeth’s story is an interesting one, showing us the tough road that women had to take to overcome prejudices from both men and women, to pursue their ambitions.  Elizabeth Blackwell is accredited with paving the way for women to become doctors.

Marjorie Priceman’s illustrations have a very airy, fluid feel to them that keeps the story moving, with bright colours and lots of white space.

I would recommend this for primary grades.


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