Stone, Tanya Lee. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Marjorie Priceman, Illus. Non-fiction. Henry Holt, 2013. p. $16.99. 978-0-8050-9048-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-2.
It is no easy task to write a biography of someone long gone and make it feel fresh and relevant to young readers today, but Stone is adept at just that. She did it in another award-winning book (Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote, 2008) and has done it again here with the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the U.S. Stone speaks directly to readers in a conversational tone; drawing them into Blackwell’s story, starting from her curious, spunky childhood and her motivations to enter a field closed to women even though she was averse to blood and illness. It follows her persistent path in the face of repeated rejection until her graduation from medical school at the top of her class. An authors note describes how Blackwell went on to help many more women pursue that path, and includes a bibliography of sources. Two-time Caldecott Honor winner Priceman’s (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!, Aladdin, 2000) loose, energetic gouache and ink illustrations add vitality and humor to this important story. Unlike many biographies, it is brief and entertaining enough for a read-aloud.
Cassy Lee, Cragmont School