I Could Not Do Otherwise
The Remarkable Life of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker
Grateful American Book Prize Book of Honorable Mention
As a teenager, Mary Edwards Walker determined she would no longer wear the confining corsets and long skirts society dictated women wear at the time and instead opted for pants with a short skirt, setting the stage for her lifelong controversial efforts to change expectations. One of the first women to earn a degree in medicine, Walker championed women’s rights, social justice, and access to health care. She became a Civil War surgeon and a spy, who was captured and arrested by the Confederacy, and she is still the only woman to have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Written by young adult author Sara Latta, I Could Not Do Otherwise teaches readers about Walker’s determination and strength of conviction, as well as her complete disregard of what others thought of her unconventional style. The slogan, “women’s rights are human rights” is a direct descendent of Walker’s words: “The recognition of the individuality of woman, is simply an acknowledgement of human rights, which all human beings have guaranteed them, by the fact of their having an existence.” I Could Not Do Otherwise brings to light an amazing historical figure who broke gender norms and fought for issues that are still relevant today.
|Interest Level||Grade 8 - Grade 12|
|Reading Level||Grade 8|
|Genre||Social Studies, Young Adult|
|Category||5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Feminism, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Zest Books ™|
|Number of Pages||208|
Author: Sara Latta
Sara Latta has written several books for middle grade and YA readers, including Body 2.0: The Engineering Revolution in Medicine (Twenty-First Century Books, 2020); Black Holes: The Weird Science of the Most Mysterious Objects in the Universe (Twenty-First Century Books, 2018); Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider (Graphic Universe, 2017), and Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know about 50 Famous Phobias (Zest Books, 2014). She lives in New York City with her husband and children. Visit her online at www.saralatta.com.
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- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
- Texas Topaz Reading List
- Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention
- School Library Journal Best Book of 2022
“This clearly written chronological biography, full of lively quotes from Walker’s writings and her frequent mentions in the press, is ideal for research projects.”—Booklist
“[A] fascinating introduction . . . Latta utilizes primary sources, from contemporary newspaper articles to photographs, to make Walker’s remarkable life come alive for readers.”—starred, School Library Journal
“An eye-opening and engaging tribute to a fascinating historical figure.” —Kirkus Reviews