Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1--4--This addition to the "She Persisted" chapter book biography series chronicles the life of Nellie Bly, a white American journalist during the turn of the 20th century who was known for her fearless, immersive reporting. Short chapters and charming, expressive illustrations detail Bly's life. As a precocious child, she witnessed her mother escape an abusive relationship, though divorce was almost unheard of at the time. Bly's groundbreaking investigative journalism career began in early adulthood with a feminist letter to the editor, catching the attention of the managing editor of the newspaper who invited her to write a regular column. Later, she courageously went undercover inside an inhumane asylum, exposing mistreatment and abuse of vulnerable patients. Bly skyrocketed to international fame when she endeavored to travel around the world in under 75 days, beating the fictional record set in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. Her journey was highly publicized, causing her to become an overnight celebrity. Bly worked tirelessly until the end of her life, writing daring stories that unearthed injustices and pushing back against the traditional, often oppressive roles women were forced into. This welcome installment of the series will captivate an audience of varying reading levels with a fast pace, accessible language, and adventurous storytelling. VERDICT A concise, engaging illustrated biography of an ambitious woman told in short chapters.--Allison Staley, Lake Oswego P.L., OR
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
In the latest installment in the She Persisted chapter-biography series, Knudsen and Flint bring to life a woman with whom many have some familiarity. However, young readers--as well as not-so-young--will delight in discovering the many tiny details of Nellie Bly's life. For example, her nickname was Pink because she loved the color so much. But her real name wasn't Nellie; it was Elizabeth Jane Cochran. When her father died without a will, his estate was divided among Bly's birth family and her 10 older half siblings, leaving Bly's mother in straitened circumstances that led to her marriage to a violent second husband. Bly persevered possibly because of the hardships of her young life. Seeing her mother struggle fueled her determination to be self-sufficient. The book shines the most when it outlines how Elizabeth Jane transformed into Nellie Bly--women journalists were not allowed to use their proper names in print--and defied the norms of fashion journalism and society writing usually set aside for women. Bly became an internationally celebrated journalist based on her courageous, daring investigative journalism. This is a fast read, sure to engage transitioning independent readers or older reluctant readers. However, the information included will certainly hold the attention of more sophisticated readers. Flint's delicate illustrations depict her White protagonist with confident, eager expressions. Per series formula, tips on how readers can persist close the title. A likable, meaningful addition to the She Persisted collection. (bibliography) (Biography. 6-9) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.