May 2, 2013
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?
The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
by Tanya Lee Stone,
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt
In a place and time when many children have women doctors, it can be hard to imagine a time when this was not possible. Not that Elizabeth Blackwell planned on being a doctor. She was too busy having adventures, arguing with her brother and doing various things to toughen herself up.
Besides, she wasn’t much of a patient and blood? It made her queasy.
Then one day shew as visiting a sick friend and the friend mentioned that she would have been much more comfortable being examined by another woman. She encouraged Elizabeth to consider becoming a doctor. At first, Elizabeth didn’t think much of the idea but she found herself thinking and thinking and thinking about it.
Although some people thought it was an awful idea, Elizabeth’s family supporter her and she started applying to medical schools. Twenty-eight schools said no. And then one said yes. The male students has approved of the idea because they thought it was a joke but the joke was on them. Elizabeth studied hard and graduated at the very top of her class.
Stone anchors Blackwell’s experience in the time in which she lived. Though not everyone agreed that women were too weak or too fragile, enough people did that Blackwell had to fight to become a doctor. Priceman’s illustrations seemed oddly modern for this historic tale but that might be the point. This is a timeless story of one person struggling to do the impossible. The specifics may be historic but it is the kind of thing that is still happening all over the world today as young people fight to realize their dreams and make the world a better place.
Pick up this book and share it with the young dreamer in your own life. It would make a great jumping off point for discussions on the limitations we put on ourselves and others and dreams for a brighter future.