Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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

Author: Tanya Lee Stone 

Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman   
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

This particular children’s book is an inspiring story about the first female doctor in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell. During the 1830’s women were only suppose to be wives, mothers and had limited career options. Usually, women during this time were either teachers or seamstresses, but being a doctor was definitely not an option. However, Elizabeth Blackwell, a strong-willed stubborn women refused to take no as an answer. After endless rejection and hard work, she was finally accepted into a medical school. After graduating she went on to have an accomplished career, which ultimately paved the way for future females to become doctors.

Element IV:

This book is a perfect example for element four because it illustrates how standing up for yourself against society expectations and rejection can make a difference not only in your life but in the world. This particular story explores the journey of the first female doctor in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell. It describes society’s expectations for all women and how society viewed women as inferior to men because they were weaker, not smart enough and anything outside of being a mother or wife was a joke. However, Elizabeth Blackwell went against society’s stereotype and with encouragement from love ones she was able to accomplish her dream of becoming a doctor. By persistence and determination she paved the way for future females to become doctors and helped break society’s stereotype of what women can do.  


After reading this particular book, I would have a class discussion about how society would be different if she never became the first female doctor in the United States. After the class discussion I would have the students work in pairs and research a female figure that I provided and have them reflect and write a book about something that they had accomplished when others deemed it impossible and how their perseverance changed history. After the revising and editing process is complete, the students will read their story in front of the class to enlighten each other about important female figures and their accomplishments.  

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