The life of pioneering Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole gets its dramatic due in a sweeping and stunning biography.
Mary Seacole spent much of her life on the front lines of the Crimean War, ministering to the wounded, caring for soldiers, and making her mark on the world of medicine. This fascinating biography honors Mary Seacole’s life, from her childhood in Kingston, Jamaica, and her encounters with racist Americans to her treatment of cholera patients in Panama and her bitter run-in with Florence Nightingale, who declined to work with her in Crimea because she wasn’t white. But Mary Seacole knew that the sick and wounded needed her compassion and care, and despite all obstacles, she answered the call to help them. Author Susan Goldman Rubin gives voice to this fearless nurse and healer through captivating details drawn from Mary Seacole’s own writings, while debut illustrator Richie Pope vividly captures her service at the bedside and on the battlefield. Inspiring and engaging, this biography introduces a compelling heroine who rose above barriers to earn a place in history.
About the Author
Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of many nonfiction books for children, including Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. She lives in Malibu, California.
Richie Pope is an illustrator and cartoonist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, on Google, and in many other places. He is the recipient of the 2018 Columbus Comics Residency and lives in Dallas, Texas.
This slim book features full-page, color illustrations throughout, and the text quotes Seacole’s memoir to give the narrative the flavor of her era, personality, and experiences. It is a riveting story that deserves attention. Both biography and subject are unique and inspiring. —Kirkus Reviews
Pope’s digital illustrations follow Jeanette Winter’s tack: rounded, slightly naïve figures in simple compositions counterpoint the harsh complexities of the subject matter. Manageable length and smooth, direct narration bode well for classroom use, encouraging exploration of both contemporary racial attitudes and medical practice—as well as why a proper lady might attend a battle in her signature pearls. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Rubin sprinkles Seacole’s own words throughout the book, bringing in some of her larger-than-life personality. The text is longer than a typical picture-book biography, making this a good choice for readers who may be ready for but intimidated by chapter-book biographies. Pope’s illustrations have the difficult job of showing the devastating circumstances Seacole often finds herself in as a battlefield nurse, and his soft, cartoony watercolors deftly walk that line. Back matter includes source notes and a brief bibliography. —The Horn Book