Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell

by Tanya Lee Stone (Author) Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell

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.
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone is an NPR Best Book of 2013

This title has Common Core connections.

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Publishers Weekly

"You might find this hard to believe, but there once was a time when girls weren't allowed to become doctors," opens this smart and lively biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America. Stone develops Blackwell's personality through childhood anecdotes--as a child Blackwell once slept on a hard floor just "to toughen herself up"--before detailing her career path. Priceman's typically graceful lines and bright gouache paintings make no bones about who's on the wrong side of history: those who object to Blackwell's achievements are portrayed as hawkish ladies and comically perturbed twerps in tailcoats. Ages 5-up. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--This picture-book biography of America's first woman doctor takes readers back to the 1840s when "girls were only supposed to become wives and mothers. Or maybe teachers, or seamstresses." Stone presents the highly readable and detailed story of a girl who is sure to inspire aspiring young doctors. The anecdotes are well chosen to demonstrate Blackwell's unflagging determination, and the conversational text and dynamic illustrations present a glimpse of her strong, caring personality. Priceman's vivid gouache and India ink illustrations capture the emotion of each scene, as on the page where an exhausted Blackwell lies on a sofa under a cloud of "no's," overwhelmed by rejections (28 in all). Once admitted to medical school, she was not taken seriously by her peers, but studied hard and graduated first in her class, opening the door for women to follow. An author's note continues her life story as well as the discussion of her impact on modern-day medicine, and a list of sources is included for curious readers. A worthwhile addition to any biography collection.--Marian McLeod, Darien Library, CT

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Here's a refreshing introduction to a regularly but often dryly cited female 'first'." —The Horn Book

"Stone presents the highly readable and detailed story of a girl who is sure to inspire aspiring young doctors." —School Library Journal

"Staccato text, short and snappy, easy to read yet full of information about both Blackwell and her times." —Booklist, starred review

"A bracing, vivacious account of a pioneering woman." —Kirkus

"[a] smart and lively biography of Elizabeth Blackwell." —Publishers Weekly

"A short, incisive biography. . . . The cameos of action, matched by full-page pictures, make the history accessible. A must for library shelves." —Booklist, starred review on Elizabeth Leads the Way

"This biography brims with upbeat energy as the spirited woman sets out to change the system—an energy amplified by Rebecca Gibbon's bright folk art-styled pictures." —The Washington Post on Elizabeth Leads the Way

"[This book] fires up readers with a portrait of the 19th-century feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. . . . The sometimes informational tone is animated and energized by Gibbon's plentiful vignettes and paintings, rendered in a vibrant folk-art style." —Publishers Weekly on Elizabeth Leads the Way

"Through words and pictures that work together and an emphasis on ideas and personality rather than factoids, this well-conceived introduction is just right for a young audience." —School Library Journal on Elizabeth Leads the Way

"In lively prose well-matched by Gibbon's irrepressible images, Stone tells the story of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. . . . A fine introduction for very young readers to the woman and her key role in American history." —Kirkus Reviews on Elizabeth Leads the Way

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 20, 2013
Christy Ottaviano Collection
Beehive Awards
Winner 2015 - 2015
Red Clover Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016
Charlotte Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016

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