I Could Not Do Otherwise

The Remarkable Life of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

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.

Format Your Price Add
978-1-7284-1391-4
$29.99
978-1-7284-1392-1
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978-1-7284-5608-9
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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
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Zest Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 208
Publication Date 2022-10-04
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS YAN006120, YAN006140, YAN025200
Dewey 610.92 [B]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Lexile 1180
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Starred Reviews, and Table of contents

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Awards

  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2023
  • Texas Topaz Reading List, Winner, 2023
  • Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention, Commended, 2023
  • School Library Journal Best Book of 2022, Winner, 2022

Reviews

Booklist

“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

School Library Journal

“[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

Kirkus Reviews

“An eye-opening and engaging tribute to a fascinating historical figure.” —Kirkus Reviews