Stand Straight, Ella Kate
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Stand Straight, Ella Kate

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  267 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Ella Kate Ewing was born in 1872. She started out small, but she just kept on growing. Soon she was too tall for her desk at school, too tall for her bed at home, too tall to fit anywhere. Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to hide herself away. Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her equally large dreams. The masterful Klise sisters deliver a tou...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 29th 2010 by Dial
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Kathryn
The story begins, "Most tall tales are made up. But my tall tale is true. I was a giant--a real, live giant." This is the true story of the "giantess" Ella Kate, born in 1872 well before anyone understood the disease gigantism. Though she is teased and stared at, she learns to embrace her differences and even use them to her advantage.

I loved the Klise sisters' Regarding the Fountain. With this picture book, I missed some of the humor from that book, though perhaps I just felt in too somber a mo...more
Margo Tanenbaum
The versatile Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise have penned and illustrated a variety of titles for young people, ranging from picture books to novels to non-fiction. Their newest book, a large format picture book, is based on the true story of a real woman giant, Ella Ewing, who lived from 1872 to 1913. "Most tall tales are made up," the book opens. "But my tall tale is true. I was a giant--a real, live giant." Narrated by Ella herself, the book features delightful illustrations, which evoke a prim...more
Tasha
When Ella Kate was born in 1872, she was normal sized, but that soon changed. At school she needed a larger desk that her father built for her, and she was wearing her father’s shoes, size 12. Ella Kate was sometimes ridiculed for her size. At age 17, she reached 8 feet tall, finally growing to a height of 8 feet 4 inches tall. When she was 18, she was approached to appear at a museum because of her height. This started a six year tour of museums, exhibitions and circuses where she made enough m...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'd never heard of this woman until I read this book. She stood 8 feet 4 inches tall, and was the world's tallest women in her time. I thought the illustrations of her were odd, because they seem to show her legs as being abnormally long. However, it's just that she wore empire waist dresses, which make one's legs look longer by bringing the waist up to just under the breasts. The story ends with her going off to see the world. A note at the end, with a picture of the real Ella Kate, indicates t...more
Kelly
A very lovely book. The illustrations (acrylic on Bristol board) are simple, with vivid colors and interesting texture. My favorite aspect of the illustrations were the "Actual Size" depictions of a shoe and clove on the flyleaf. I must admit, I held the book down next to my foot to compare. The type is a bit small and bland for my taste. I was glad to see a source note at the back with a photograph of the real Ella Ewing.

As for the story itself, I would like to say that one of my favorite thin...more
Abby Johnson
This picture book biography of Ella Kate Ewing (1872-1913), a woman with gigantism who was over 8 feet tall by age 18, is written in an accessible first-person voice. The illustrations add to the text with lots of great details. The positive message of staying true to yourself is relayed without being didactic. A great read for elementary students.
Arminzerella
Ella Kate grew up in the late 1800s. She started life in the normal way, but when she was 7 years old she started growing rapidly, quickly outdistancing her peers. She didn’t stop growing until she was 22 years old, and by then she was over 8 feet tall! Initially, Ella was very distressed by her height. Like most kids, she just wanted to be able to blend in, and people were often mean to her – calling her a freak. When she was 18, she was offered a job as an “attraction” – to make appearances as...more
Marfita
What a wonderful book that you can use all sorts of ways! Imagine being so much bigger than anyone else ... or so much smaller. What would that be like? The endpapers contain comparison information about Ella Kate's size, including actual size representations of her shoe and glove so that children can measure themselves up to Ella Kate!
I'd like to use this in storytime because the story is so compelling. Instead of hiding at home so she's not mocked for her unusual size, Ella Kate agrees to be a...more
Kelly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shana Martin
The Teacher’s Choice Award Stand Straight, Ella Kate by Kate and M. Sarah Klise is a story about Ella Kate who is born normal however she continues to grow taller till the age of 22. From growing taller, Ella is faced with many problems such as not fitting in her desk which caused her distress about her height. However, she is able to overcome her height by embracing it by being an attraction as the tallest women in the world. Not only was she able to overcome the distress, but use her height as...more
Whitney
Winner of the 2011 Comstock Read Aloud Book Award, an annual award for the best read aloud picture book for older children (ages 9-12).

I am slightly above average height and I hate that sometimes I feel like a GIANT, but this book really spoke to me about making the most of one's situation. Ella Kate was about three feet taller than me and sometimes she would get frustrated by the laughing and staring, but she was a bold enough person to tell herself to stand straight and be herself. Klise does...more
Anne Broyles
This lovely collaboration from the Klise Sisters gives a little-known heroine her place in the sun. Ella Kate Ewing lived with gigantism and her 8'4" height made her stand out in several ways. This version of her story focuses on a loving family who accept and encourage their exceptionally tall daughter. Readers will feel Ella's pain at being called names, and her excitement to be showcased in traveling shows. Ella Kate was able to earn good money and keep her dignity at the same time. (And it's...more
Tina
My Summary
When you think of a giant, what comes to mind? Jack and his beanstalk? Fables? Fairy tales?

Ella Ewing (1872-1913) was a real American giant! By the age of thirteen, she was almost six feet tall. At seventeen, she was 8 feet tall. Being bigger wasn't always better, though, as many people were mean to Ella.

Take a walk in Ella's large shoes, and learn how she used her height to become famous, to travel, and to accomplish what many "normal" people from her time could not dream of.

My revi...more
Andrea
I love this book. It is wonderful to pair with The Thing about Georgie and any SEL themes on different perspectives and respect. There are some wonderful informational books on P.T. Barnum that can expand on the same ideas in here and Ella Kate is such a forward thinking woman. We have had one of the Klise sisters come speak at my school and she was excellent. They are a sister duo where one sister writes and the other does the illustrations who, if you don't know, have written a lot of fun book...more
KidsFiction Teton County Library
Teton County Library Call # J PICTURE KLISE
Suzy's rating: 4 stars

At a time when media/advertising is dictating to society what our bodies should look like, this is a welcome book, allowing for differences to exist. Ella Kate was born taller than most, with a gland condition callled gigantism. She learned how to live with it, and use it to her advantage. The very thing that made her unhappy as a child, made it possible to live a remarkable life. She became a star attraction in traveling shows, a...more
Sarah BT

Stand Straight, Ella Kate is a picture book biography of Ella Kate Ewing, the tallest lady on Earth. When Ella starts growing at an alarming rate at age seven, she's embarrassed, teased and becomes shy. But as she grows up, she realizes that her height can also lead to great adventures. She travels with the circus, appears in museums, and makes money for her family.

I loved the illustrations! The illustrations bring the story to life. I also love that there's a great discussion that can happen w...more
lilylovespjo
This is such a cute book! And its a true story too, which is kind of sad but this is a really nice book!
Rachel
I too had never heard of this woman until I picked up this book while shelving today at the library. The story looked interesting and I have always been fascinated with people who joined the side shows at circuses, so that is a good enough reason for me to read it. The book is based on the real life of the "Gentle Giantess," Ella Kate Ewing, who stood 8 ft 4 in tall! I liked it because it said that despite what she cried about as a child, being made fun of for being too tall, it allowed her free...more
Elizabeth
Like this book on numerous fronts! From "shared" height to the discussion options as Ella Kate uses that which makes her "different" to make her own life fulfilling and unique. Math tie in's with measuring, could find (perhaps) primary sources with photos/newspaper articles about Ella Kate, have kids discuss what makes them unique and how that's a good and a hard thing ... Definite read-aloud for the older crowd. Could also discuss circuses, shows, etc. Maybe pair with Circus Ship if done carefu...more
Diana Hanke
This is an interesting well-done biography that captures the life of Ella Kate with simple lyrical language. It is one children's biography that held my interest from beginning to end.

It tells the story of Ella Kate, a giantess in the early 1800's. The book does a great job capturing her experiences with prejudice as well as her ability to turn her physical features into something positive. This is a great resource for all kids to relate to because every single one has a "giantess" of some type...more
Rachel Placchetti
Loved it. Great booktalk for grades 1-2.
Jennifer Phillips
I stumbled across this as I was researching other extra tall people in history while working on my own children's biography about Robert Wadlow. What a wonderful picture book and inspirational story of a little-known figure in history. I'm sure Ella Kate Ewing was written off as a "freak" in her day--the harsh reality of people who were different during her time period. But her positive attitude and strategy to handle her situation are worth reading about. Check this out for the young readers in...more
Jenny
A non-fiction picture book on the life of Ella Ewing, a "gentle giantress." She started out small, but she just kept on growing. Soon she was too tall for her desk at school, too tall for her bed at home, too tall to fit anywhere. Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to hide herself away. Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her equally large dreams.

A touching true story about a strong-minded girl who embraced her differences. It's a perfect book for children who have felt...more
Laura
Ella Kate, born in 1872, grew to be a giant. Instead of being embarrassed by her height, she embraced her unique stature and began traveling with sideshows and circuses. She saw the world and was able to build a house to suit her needs.

Told from a first-person point-of-view, this story is only based on a true story. The author includes an interesting note at the end of the book but there are no source notes nor a bibliography. I have a hard time loving historical fiction or nonfiction texts that...more
Angie
This is a good picture book biography of the world's tallest woman. I loved the fact that she was from Missouri. I think the message of her life was a good one about dealing with what you are dealt and overcoming what may seem to be a disadvantage. Ella Kate took her extreme height disadvantage and turned it into a lucrative career. She earned a living and got to travel the world at a time when women didn't enjoy those freedoms. Very nice story with great illustrations. 2012-13 Missouri Show Me...more
Ann Haefele
Really well done picture book biography of a woman who was born in the late 1800s and grew to be 8'4". There is an afterword with a photo of Ella Kate and more detailed info about her life. The best part of the book are the end pages that show what her actual shoe size of 24 was and the actual length of her glove. I read this to two 5th grade classes yesterday in the library after some significant testing. They were acting "too cool for school" but by the end of the first page I had them in the...more
Amy Carr
I am absolutely in love with this genre of juvenille, non-fiction picture books. They are intelligent, interesting, well-written and beautifully illustrated. This is the story of the tallest woman in the world (in the late 1800's, early 1900's) and how the very thing she hated most about herself when she was a young girl became the very thing that became a huge blessing in her life as a woman. The message is for every person to "stand straight" and be proud of who they are. Thoughtful, interesti...more
Samantha
A picture book bio about Ella Kate Ewing 1872-1913), a shy woman with a gland disorder known today as gigantism. The story is told in 1st person and provides readers with snapshots of what it felt like to be taller than everyone else, including some of the great opportunities that it afforded Ella Kate to see the world.

An author's note follows the story and the inside front and back covers give readers a chance to measure up to Ella Kate (her glove and boot are pictured actual size).
Karen Arendt
Ella Kate was born in 1872. She had a glandular disorder that caused gigantism. Her story shows how she was teased, embarrassed, but loved by her family and friends. She overcame her condition and earned money by appearing in circuses and museums. Her generosity toward those who cared about her is clearly shown when she uses her earnings to help her parents. I may use this as a biography read aloud with my first graders to see how they react to the story.
Mrs. Downs
GR Level: ?

Elementary: E KLI

This is a great story of a woman named Ella Kate who had gigantism in the 1800's. She grew to be more than 8 feet tall by the time she was 22 years old. Because of her size she was in circuses and museums for others to see. She saw many places in the US and Canada and met many different people.
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