A bracing, vivacious account of a pioneering woman.

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WHO SAYS WOMEN CAN'T BE DOCTORS?

THE STORY OF ELIZABETH BLACKWELL

“Women cannot be doctors. They should not be doctors.” Elizabeth Blackwell received 28 rejections from medical schools before one accepted her.

Stone takes a lively and conversational approach to the life of the first female doctor in the United States. A tiny but adventurous girl, Elizabeth Blackwell once carried her brother over her head until he stopped fighting with her, and she got the idea to go to medical school from a sick friend who confided that she would much rather be examined by a woman. When Geneva Medical School in New York state accepted her, she didn’t know that the (male) student body had voted on her acceptance as a joke, but she graduated with the top grades in her class. Priceman’s swirly and vivid gouache-and–India ink artwork is an excellent foil for the text, which directly addresses young readers’ own experience while reminding them that in the 1840s, things were different, and that one very determined girl had changed that. The author’s note describes the difficulties Dr. Blackwell experienced setting up her practice and her career treating the poor women and children of New York City. It also notes that today, more than half of all students in U.S. medical schools are women.

A bracing, vivacious account of a pioneering woman. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9048-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Utterly compelling.

WHEN I WAS EIGHT

The authors of Fatty Legs (2010) distill that moving memoir of an Inuit child’s residential school experience into an even more powerful picture book.

“Brave, clever, and as unyielding” as the sharpening stone for which she’s named, Olemaun convinces her father to send her from their far-north village to the “outsiders’ school.” There, the 8-year-old receives particularly vicious treatment from one of the nuns, who cuts her hair, assigns her endless chores, locks her in a dark basement and gives her ugly red socks that make her the object of other children’s taunts. In her first-person narration, she compares the nun to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, a story she has heard from her sister and longs to read for herself, subtly reminding readers of the power of literature to help face real life. Grimard portrays this black-cloaked nun with a scowl and a hooked nose, the image of a witch. Her paintings stretch across the gutter and sometimes fill the spreads. Varying perspectives and angles, she brings readers into this unfamiliar world. Opening with a spread showing the child’s home in a vast, frozen landscape, she proceeds to hone in on the painful school details. A final spread shows the triumphant child and her book: “[N]ow I could read.”

Utterly compelling. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55451-490-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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