Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale (Picture Book Biography)

A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale (Picture Book Biography)

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  John C. Wallner , Alexandra Wallner 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 1997   ISBN: 0823412849

Florence Nightingale was born in the city of Florence while her English parents were traveling around in Italy. Her parents were wealthy, and Florence was raised in comfort, educated at home, and given every advantage that a girl from her class could expect. When she was a young woman, she traveled around Europe with her parents, and in 1839 when she was nineteen, Florence was presented to Queen Victoria.

Beautiful and popular Florence was admired by many men and she certainly could have married well, but the life of a society matron did not appeal to her. Several times over the years she had felt the touch of God and somehow knew that she needed to do something meaningful with her life.

Florence began to visit the sick and poor, and then in 1844 she decided that her calling was to become a nurse in a hospital. When Florence told her parents about her decision they were appalled. At that time, nurses were not trained professionals, and they had a reputation for being women who partook of too much alcohol and who knew nothing about health or hygiene.

Florence did not give up on her dream, and eventually her parents allowed her to go to a nursing school in Germany. After her training was complete, Florence went on to observe nurses in hospitals in France and England, and she was given the job of managing a women’s hospital in London. Little did she know that this was only the beginning of what would be a long and illustrious career in nursing.

Florence Nightingale was one of the world’s most remarkable women, and the narrative in this picture books makes her incredible story accessible to young readers. They will find out why Florence came to be known as the Lady with the Lamp, and they will appreciate how courageous she had to be to follow her chosen path in life.

This is one in a series of excellent picture book biographies written by David A. Adler.