Synopses & Reviews
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 werent 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
"'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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this picture book bursting with vibrance and rhythm,and#160;a girl dreams ofand#160;playing the drumsand#160;in 1930s Cuba, when the music-filled island had a taboo against female drummers.
Girls cannot be drummers.
Long ago on an islandand#160;filled withand#160;music, no one questioned that ruleandmdash;until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongandoacute;s. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both
girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cubaand#39;s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
About the Author
Tanya Lee Stone loves to write about women pushing boundaries where no woman has before, in books like Elizabeth Leads the Way, Almost Astronauts, and now Who Says Women Cant Be Doctors? Her work has received such accolades as the ALA Robert F. Sibert Award, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, Bank Streets Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, and the Jane Addams Childrens Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book, and NCTE Orbis Pictus honors.
Marjorie Priceman has twice received Caldecott Honors, one for her illustrations in Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! and one for Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride, which she both wrote and illustrated. She lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Reading Group Guide
1. Look at the art on the front and back cover of the book, as well as the spot art on the title and dedication pages. What do you think the book might be about, based on just the art? What do you think might be happening in the art on the back cover?
2. In what time era does the book take place? Why do you think so? Support your answer with specific examples from the book. 2
3. Think about the doctors you have met. Were any of them women? What qualities make a good doctor? (Create a list.) Do you see anything on the list that has to do with being male or female? (Read the text on the second spread that begins, “Back in the 1840s…”) Imagine growing up at this time and wanting to do something that other people say you couldnt do. What might you do then?
General Discussion Questions
1. Was life better for boys when Elizabeth was young? Why or why not? Do you think any of your reasons are still true today?
2. Why might Mary Donaldson have “much preferred being examined by a woman?” Today, people often have the choice of going to a male or a female doctor. Do you think it is better to have that choice; why?
3. Mary Donaldson put the thought of being a doctor in Elizabeths mind. Has anyone ever suggested that you try something you might not have thought of trying before?
4. How did Elizabeth earn the money to pay for medical school? Have you ever wanted something badly enough to find a way to earn the money to pay for it?
5. The author writes that Elizabeth “was as stubborn as a mule. Quite rightly!” What does the author mean by this? How many letters did Elizabeth receive telling her she did NOT get accepted to medical school? Have you ever tried to do something and did not succeed at it? What did you do? Did you keep trying?
6. The author writes: “Soon the boys wanted to know what Elizabeth thought about this or that.” Why do you think the boys changed their opinions about Elizabeth?
7. Why do you think the male doctor said, about Elizabeths graduating from medical school, “I hope, for the honor of humanity, that [she] will be the last?” Do you think other people felt that way as well, and why? How might Elizabeths success have paved the way for other women?