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The Daring Nellie Bly: America's Star Reporter

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Overview

From the award-winning picture book biographer of Woody Guthrie comes the inspirational story of Nellie Bly. Born in 1864, during a time in which options were extremely limited for women, Nellie defied all expectations and became a famous newspaper correspondent. Her daring exploits included committing herself to an infamous insane asylum in New York City to expose the terrible conditions there and becoming the first American war correspondent of either sex to report on the front lines of Austria during World War...
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Overview

From the award-winning picture book biographer of Woody Guthrie comes the inspirational story of Nellie Bly. Born in 1864, during a time in which options were extremely limited for women, Nellie defied all expectations and became a famous newspaper correspondent. Her daring exploits included committing herself to an infamous insane asylum in New York City to expose the terrible conditions there and becoming the first American war correspondent of either sex to report on the front lines of Austria during World War I. In 1889, Nellie completed her most publicized stunt, her world-famous trip around the world in just 72 days, beating the record of Jules Vernes’ fictional hero in Around the World in 80 Days.

With an informative text and pen-and-ink illustrations reminiscent of the graphic style of the late 1800s, The Daring Nellie Bly captures the independent spirit of America’s first star reporter, Nellie Bly.

Introduces the life of Nellie Bly who, as a "stunt reporter" for the New York World newspaper in the late 1800s, championed women's rights and traveled around the world faster than anyone ever had.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
★ “Perfect for read-alouds, the book gives just enough information to tell a good tale, while providing inspiration for the curious to seek out more material about this fascinating woman.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“Christensen crafts an intriguing introduction to a larger-than-life figure in this attractive picture book biography.“—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
Christensen (Woody Guthrie) crafts an intriguing introduction to a larger-than-life figure in this attractive picture book biography. Born in 1864, Elizabeth Cochran (better known by her pen name, Nellie Bly) faced dim career prospects. Bly fell into journalism almost by accident at age 20, when her spirited letter to a local newspaper caught the editor's eye. In lucid prose, Christensen traces Bly's career as an investigative journalist, groundbreaking woman war correspondent (at 50, during WWI) and "stunt reporter" who once got herself committed to a women's insane asylum in order to expose its abysmal conditions. However, younger readers may lack the historical context to appreciate the nature of Bly's crusades. The author reserves the core of the book for Bly's most famous stunt: her successful attempt, in 1889, to break the fictional travel record of Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (Bly did it in 72 days). Using pen and ink washed with muted color, Christensen creates an appropriately Victorian mood, and her busy cross-hatching echoes the style employed by newspaper artists of the day. She intersperses full-spread vistas with smaller framed scenes, while Bly's plucky world tour unfolds through a series of maps overlaid with drawn tickets, postcards, coins and the like. Although Bly the individual remains elusive here, readers will come away with an appreciation of her many feats. Ages 6-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A thorough, but not cumbersome picture book/biography of Nellie Bly, the infamous newspaper reporter and champion of women's rights who lived from 1864 to 1922. Nellie grew up learning to stand out in a crowd and after her mother's failed marriage, she vowed never to depend on a man. Independence did not come easy for women in those days however, teaching being one of the few acceptable female professions. Nellie tried this, but due to insufficient funds had to withdraw. Factory jobs appeared to be the only alternative after a move to Pittsburgh. However, an op-ed letter she wrote to the Pittsburgh Dispatch changed the direction of her professional life forever! Nellie defied convention by having herself committed to a mental institution to expose inhumane conditions. Her most well known assignment, the one that brought her fame, was a race around the world to beat the record of the fictional hero Jules Vernes' Around the World in 80 Days. She completed this in a mere 72 days! Illustrations composed of pen and ink describe perfectly the era in which Nellie lived. A chronology, bibliography and videography are contained at the end of the book. Recommended. 2003, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 7 to 10.
— Cindy L. Carolan
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Born in 1864, Bly (christened Elizabeth Jane Cochran) lived at a time when opportunities for women were extremely limited. Not only did she overcome overwhelming obstacles to become one of the first "serious" female newspaper reporters, but she also became one of the most well known. Her expos s on the discriminatory work practices toward women at several factories and the deplorable condition of a city-run mental institution made her famous, but her historic 72-day journey around the world made her a folk hero. Large, colorful, pen-and-ink illustrations cover almost every page, and a four-page world map helps readers follow the journalist's round-the-world jaunt. Appropriately enough, this terrific biography reads like an adventure story. Perfect for read-alouds, the book gives just enough information to tell a good tale, while providing inspiration for the curious to seek out more material about this fascinating woman.-Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Christensen unabashedly positions Nellie Bly in the pantheon of feminist heroes. She "grew up competing with two older brothers," "learned the art of standing out from the crowd" from her mother, and in the course of a spectacular journalistic career highlighted by a less-than-80-day solo jaunt around the world, exposés of dreadful conditions in a New York asylum, and a stint as correspondent in WWI, she "changed how the world viewed women and paved the way for the young women who followed." Despite the hyperbole, this account of that career's high spots makes riveting reading, and a perfect lead-in to the more detailed accounts offered in the concluding bibliography. The author illustrates Bly's exploits with vigorously drawn scenes that resemble period newspaper engravings. Nary a dull moment in this rousing profile. (chronology, bibliography, videography) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375851186
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 965,826
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie Christensen has illustrated Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne and wrote illustrated Woody Guthrie, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book. She teaches art at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
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Customer Reviews

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    A large clearing filled with soft grass and clover. Easy to train here; no apparent danger. A good place to find herbs, cobwebs, and beehives.

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