Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Florence Nightingale: Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale: Lady with the Lamp

Trina Robbins
Illustrator:  Anne Timmons 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Capstone Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-0736868501

Florence Nightingale was the daughter of wealthy and very well connected Englishman who took pride in his two daughters and who, contrary to the customs of the time, believed in educating his girls. Parthenope, Florence's sister, was content to accept the life that girls like herself were expected to lead. She looked forward to getting married and running a household. Florence however did not see marriage and children in her future. She wanted to do more with her life, and by the time she had reached her late teens she knew that she wanted to become a nurse.

At that time, in the mid 1800's, nursing was not a respectable career. Nurses were often uneducated, indifferent, and slovenly. After she got her own training in Germany Florence began to set about changing the world of nursing. She took charge of a women's hospital and brought about many changes in the charitable institution. Often her changes were unpopular at first, but her successes were so significant that she was able to keep on doing what she did best.

When the Crimea War broke out and when the public learned that the hospitals for the wounded soldiers were a disgrace, Florence was asked to go to the Crimea to see what could be done. Florence was horrified to discover that the soldiers were being housed in a filthy, lice infested building and she quickly set about making radical improvements. The doctors at the hospital were not happy to see the nurses and made life very difficult for them. However people back in England learned of Florence's efforts and they heard that she was really improving conditions for the wounded. Fewer men were dying and soldiers who went home after being in the hospital spoke very highly of Florence, her nurses, and their work.

This Graphic Library title is a fitting tribute to the woman who is considered the founder of modern nursing. The text is interesting and often moving, and readers will discover that it sometimes takes a very special kind of courage and determination to bring about change. With an easy-to-follow graphic novel type format, this is a title which will appeal to reluctant readers.

Readers will be pleased to know that there are dozens of other titles in the Graphic Library series, titles which bring history and the lives of famous men and women to life.