Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Shannon Zemlicka
Illustrator:   Nicolas Debon 
For ages 6 to 8
Lerner Books, 2003   ISBN: 978-0876141021

Flo was born into a wonderful life of comfort and ease. Her parents were very rich and Flo never had to go without. She wasn’t that old before she came to realize that not everyone was a lucky as she was. There were poor people in the world who lived hard lives. There was also a great deal of sickness around which devastated the lives of the rich and the poor alike.

Flo soon found that she wasn’t interested in the having a life like the one enjoyed by her parents and her sister. She wanted to do something more with herself, she wanted to serve others and do something useful. At that time though there was very little that a young woman from a wealthy family could do other than get married and have children. After much thought and heart searching Flo decided that she wanted to train to be a nurse. Her family was horrified but Flo would not to be put off. In spite of her family’s opposition Flo began to train to be a nurse and in time she went on to run a hospital for women in London.

Flo still wanted to do more and she decided that her best course of action was to go to the Crimea to be a nurse there. England and Russia were at war and hundreds of men were being injured every day in the conflict. Flo was sure that there had to be something that she could do for the sick and the wounded soldiers. Little did she know how much she would be needed and how famous her work in the Crimea would make her.

This "On My Own Biography" title gives children a wonderful introduction to the work and life of that most famous of women nurses, Florence Nightingale. The author has manages to touch on all the main events that occurred in Florence’s life and at the same time she captures the personality of this formidable and determined woman who would not take no for an answer.