Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?
Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Published February 19th, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.

Goodreads Summary: In the 1830s, when a brave and curious girl named Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up, women were supposed to be wives and mothers. Some women could be teachers or seamstresses, but career options were few. Certainly no women were doctors.

But Elizabeth refused to accept the common beliefs that women weren’t smart enough to be doctors, or that they were too weak for such hard work. And she would not take no for an answer. Although she faced much opposition, she worked hard and finally—when she graduated from medical school and went on to have a brilliant career—proved her detractors wrong. This inspiring story of the first female doctor shows how one strong-willed woman opened the doors for all the female doctors to come.

My Review: I love that Tanya Lee Stone chose to write about a women in history that changed our world in a big way, but has not get the credit for it.  It is amazing to think that one young lady was brave enough to be the first to try to get into medical school to help pave the way for millions of woman doctors today.  Although I realize there has to be a first for everything when overcoming prejudice and inequality, it is not often that you hear about who this one person was and how s/he had to do it alone, but that is how it was for Elizabeth Blackwell. No one had tried to jump over the barrier, but she did. This is such an inspirational story and such a big part of history–it should be shared with everyone.  And what tops off the book is the vibrant, colorful, playful illustrations that will draw the reader in even more.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: A couple of interesting themes that can definitely pulled out of this story is resilience (she never gave up after all of the rejections), the power of friendship (she has never considered being a doctor until a friend suggested it), and selflessness (just read the author’s note about the rest of Elizabeth’s life at the end). All three of these would lead to phenomenal discussions and can be connected to other historical figures and fiction texts.

Discussion Questions: Why do you think it took the townspeople longer to accept Elizabeth?; We learn that Elizabeth’s sister also became a doctor and the two of them eventually start a hospital. What type of people would Elizabeth and her sister have to be to be able to go from not being allowed to be a doctor to owning a hospital? What traits would they need?; How would life be different now if Elizabeth had never tried to become a doctor?

We Flagged: “I’ll bet you’ve met plenty of doctors in your life. And I’ll bet lots of them were women. Well, you might find this hard to believe, but there was once a time when girls weren’t allowed to become doctors.” (p. 3)

Read This If You Loved: Brave Girl by Michelle Markel, Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell, Daredevil by Meghan McCarthy, Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey

Recommended For: 

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