Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors


Book Summary:

Elizabeth Blackwell wanted to be a doctor. She dreamed of going to medical school and helping others. But despite her desire to become a doctor, she was met with scorn and a chorus of NOs. However, tenacious Elizabeth doesn’t take 28 NOs for an answer. Instead, she perseveres to overcomes the odds and become the first female doctor in America.

APA Reference of Book:

Stone, T.L. (2013) Who says women can’t be doctors. New York, NY: Christy Ottaviano Books.


The illustrations in the book are phenomenal, very colorful and captivating. I found this book to be a wonderful, smart substitution for the typical princess and Barbie book. It is important for children to understand how recently women were considered inferior, and it’s doubly important for girls to see a strong woman rising above her opposition and conquering the NOs. This book is full of lively detail. Anecdotes about Elizabeth carrying her brother over her head until he stopped trying to fight with her and sleeping on the cold wood floor to toughen herself up made me instantly relate to and like Elizabeth’s tenacity. The specific details of Elizabeth’s character added a lot of color to the story and really show Elizabeth in a relatable light. I highly recommend this book for woman needing a boost or any girl learning to come into her own. Fantastic book!

Professional Review:

“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.”

(2013, Feb. 04). [Review of the book Who says women can’t be doctors, by T.L. Stone]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8050-9048-2.

Library Uses:

I can think of a myriad ways this book could some in handy. It could be used in a Women’s History Month display or as a tool to help student’s study up on careers. A library could even hold a costume contest where young patrons dress up as their favorite real life hero or career goal.


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