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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,959 ratings  ·  356 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 weren’t smart enough to be doctors, or that they were too weak for such ha
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Henry Holt & Company
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Paul  Hankins
Tanya Lee Stone returns to the picture book format to bring us the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America. The title alone presents a subtle kind of challenge like the one Elizabeth Blackwell received from Mary Donaldson.

Tanya presents Elizabeth as an "every girl" kind of character, the kind of girl who might not have even envisioned herself in such a role. But the suggestion of a respected friend stuck with Elizabeth, a suggestion that became a kind of gnawing that saw
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Biography
Pre-Reading Strategy: Anticipation Guide
An anticipation guide is a comprehension strategy used to activate students' prior knowledge and create curiosity about the book.
I would create an anticipation guide with the following 4 statements.
* There have always been women doctors.
* Elizabeth Blackwell was first encouraged by her brother to become a doctor.
* Elizabeth Blackwell had troubles getting accepted to medical school.
* The students at medical school wanted Eli
Loved the message. Love the story. Great short biography at the end. The pictures are bright and lovely.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Back in the 1830s, there were no women doctors, only men could have that career. But also growing up in the 1830s was a young girl who would end up changing that. Elizabeth Blackwell was not particularly well behaved: she was always exploring, working to toughen herself up, and even carried her brother over her head until he backed down. Elizabeth had not dreamed of becoming a doctor, but she was inspired when an friend mentioned how much nicer it would have been to be examined by a woman. When ...more
Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor but after graduating from Geneva Medical School in upstate New York in 1849, she and her sister, also a doctor, opened up The New York Infirmary for Women and Children and then a medial school just for women among other endeavors.
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a thoughtful and educational children’s book about the first female physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, and the challenges and obstacles she encountered during her career.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
1. Twin Text: Bad Astrid by Eileen Brennan (2013)

2. Rationale: Elizabeth Blackwell went to medical school despite all of the male students that attended Geneva Medical School in upstate New York and community members that surrounded it. She was very determined and a bit stubborn. She was not going to let their opinion affect her attending school. Little Astrid was very stubborn in her own ways but ultimately just wanted a friend once she moved to this new town. I would discuss with students that
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are more and more great picture book biographies being published about ordinary people who did extraordinary things. I love it. This is another great one to add to the list. Elizabeth Blackwell was clearly a strong-willed person from the time she was little. I loved the examples the author shares illustrating this, for example carrying her brother over her head until he gave in on whatever it was they fought about, and sleeping on a hard floor to 'toughen' herself up. I also really liked t ...more
Holly Mueller
Elizabeth Blackwell defied all odds when she decided she wanted to be a doctor in the 1830s. I loved the snippets about her determination and strong will - she once carried her brother over her head until he backed down from their fight, and she tried sleeping onthe hard floor just to toughen herself up. I thought it was interesting she hadn't always wanted to be a doctor, but when a friend suggested she consider it, there was a seed planted that started to grow. Despite rejection after rejectio ...more
Elizabeth Blackwell is a strong willed girl who can be anything she puts her mind to. But, in the 1960's a woman being a doctor was unheard of. This doesn't stop Elizabeth from applying to as many medical schools as possible until she is accepted into one. Nor does this stop Elizabeth from being the top student in her medical school class. Thanks to Elizabeth Blackwell, women can now become doctors! ...more
Amanda Gary
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
As a woman, have you ever really thought about what it was like when women were seen only as wives and mothers! I know I sure don't think about it much but after reading this book to my students, I really feel so privileged to be in the position I am today. This book is a excellent depiction of how far we have come as a country. My students were blown away that women were not viewed as equals and some even said, "No way Ms. G I am a girl and I can be whatever I want to be." But what if you could ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
By: Tanya Lee Stone
Student: I loved reading this book. I was unfamiliar with the Doctor Elizabeth Blackwell before reading about her, but I learned that she was driven and determined to reach her dream in life. Originally, Elizabeth didn't want to become a doctor medical practices made her sick and women weren't allowed to become doctors. That changed when her friend Mary got sick and confessed she would rather have a woman docto
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young feminists, doctors to be, women history
I did not deliberately group two books by Tanya Lee Stone close together on my "to read" shelf. However, it did happen and it gave me more admiration for Stone, as well as Elizabeth Blackwell. I did not expect to learn anything new about Blackwell since I've admired her since I was a child and have read several biographies on her. Nonetheless I did learn something new: that she had adopted a girl and raised her as a daughter. My point being more that even in a beginning biography meant for perha ...more
Brittany Clark
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a Children's Biography of Elizabeth Blackwell- one of America's first female doctors. The story begins when Elizabeth is an adventurous child with a lot of chutzpah for a girl at that time. As she grows older, a friend of Elizabeth's mentioned that it might be nice to be seen by a female doctor for once, and that inspires Elizabeth to want to become one herself! She applies to many, many schools and is rejected, but finally one school accepts her and she is able to attain her goal o ...more
Cheryl Dickemper
I love the fun and conversational style of Tanya Lee Stone's narration, the inspirational story, and Marjorie Priceman's playful illustrations! This is a great and obvious choice for women's history, but the sassy narrative style and the story about overcoming obstacles has universal appeal. Any kid who's ever been told he (or she) "can't" grow up to be something will identify with young Elizabeth and find something to appreciate here. The bright illustrations call to mind both Raschka and Bemel ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A picture book biography about the first woman doctor. Text is well written. It speaks directly to the reader and is empowering. Anecdotes that reveal Elizabeth's strong character make up the majority of the text which makes it so engaging as it's not merely just a collection of impressive facts.

Illustrations were rendered with gouache and india ink on watercolor paper and excel at capturing the strong opinions of Elizabeth's critics. Following the story is an author's note and a list of source
May 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wonder who this book is for. It is filed under juvenile biography at my library. But the cute, clever (clichéd) text--"Elizabeth Blackwell, that's who. A tiny wisp of a girl who wanted to explore around every corner and who never walked away from a challenge"--is more suited to an easy book. All the really interesting facts about Blackwell are in the two-page author's note at the back; so it's not a good resource for a school assignment. My grandmother who was born in Turkey in 1900 became a p ...more
Thrilled to add this one to my bookshelf.

I love this format for biography, and I could use it as a mentor text for students to create their own biographies as they research.

Full review

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Sarah Adamson
This is a really great picture book exploring the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the girl who went onto become the first woman doctor in the U.S. Beautiful illustrations and provided lots of background information to help explore the problem, the boundaries, and how she overcame it all.
Tanya Lee Stone's chatty style and interesting research will engage young readers in this book about the first, modern female doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell. ...more
Edward Sullivan
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful introduction to America's first female doctor. ...more
Carrie Gelson
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I need to share this title and often! Inspirational. Motivating. Important history. Loved the accessible style of both illustrator and author!
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
Interesting book. Shows determination. Mom rates 4 stars and kids 3 stars. They liked it but wouldn't read it again. ...more
Laura McLoughlin
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great intro to America's first woman doctor. ...more
Cute illustrations, but I didn't like vibe this book gave off. Medical school is such a lark! I found the author's note at the end more informative and interesting than the rest of the book. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am ecstatic that girls today have books like these -- they are so important to show young girls that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This true story was so inspiring. All little girls need to know anything is possible. The illustrations were colorful and fun. A truly great book.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute picture book about the U.S. ‘s first female doctor.
Jina Suh
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? is a fantastic book about Elizabeth Blackwell - the first female doctor. The book takes us through the journey of her life - specifically, the trials and tribulations she encountered just because she was pursuing a "male career". At the time, women were only thought to take on one of four careers: wives and mothers (shocker), teachers, or seamstresses. But, Blackwell refused to let the ridicule and resistance stop her...defying all odds. It was through h
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Women's History and Doctor requests
Recommended to June by: Joan
Elizabeth became a doctor at a friend's request, "blood made her queasy." She was refused by 28 medical schools and only accepted at one, because the male students voted yes as a joke thinking the school would never accept her. "Some people are afraid of anything new or different." Of course "Elizabeth graduated ...with the highest grades in the whole class!"

Wonderful Author's Note talks about how no one would hire her or come to her own office. So Elizabeth started holding free clinics. Over th
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Tanya Lee Stone is an award-winning author of books for kids and teens. Her work, which includes YA fiction (A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl), picture books (Elizabeth Leads the Way and Sandy's Circus), and nonfiction (Almost Astronauts and The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie) has won national awards such as the ALA's Sibert Medal, SCBWI's Golden Kite Award, YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction, Jane Add ...more

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