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Florence Nightingale


Florence Nightingale revolutionized the world of medicine by emphasizing cleanliness, food that was hot and nutritious, and organization in hospitals. What began as an attempt to make army hospitals safer and more effective became a lifelong mission, and remains relevant today.


This new picture book biography of Florence Nightingale, from celebrated author and artist Demi, beautifully portrays the story of Florence's life and ...

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Florence Nightingale revolutionized the world of medicine by emphasizing cleanliness, food that was hot and nutritious, and organization in hospitals. What began as an attempt to make army hospitals safer and more effective became a lifelong mission, and remains relevant today.


This new picture book biography of Florence Nightingale, from celebrated author and artist Demi, beautifully portrays the story of Florence's life and explores the long-lasting effects of her career.

A 2014 Parents' Choice Award Silver Honor Winner for Non-Fiction

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
Demi's language is clear, and the story will be comprehensible to older children, who may find the piety, compassion, enterprise and perseverance of "the Lady with the Lamp" inspiring…Demi's illustrations bring great charm to each page, and create a sense of cultural and historical context…She draws faces with great skill…
Publishers Weekly
Demi uses her characteristically delicate, gold-accented style of artwork to tell the story of Florence Nightingale’s youth and adult life. Nightingale has a largely unassertive presence on the page, clothed in flowery fabrics or an inky blue dress as she tends to others, yet she appears almost angelic as she carries a glowing lantern while serving at a hospital during the Crimean War, earning her the moniker “Lady with the Lamp.” The narrative mimics the art in its modesty, emphasizing Nightingale’s meekness and generosity, while also addressing her persistence and devotion to the indigent and infirm: “We remember Florence Nightingale today as a driving force behind improvements in nursing during her time and as a woman of extraordinary vision,” Demi writes; a timeline of Nightingale’s life closes out this straightforward, comprehensible biography. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Demi uses her characteristically delicate, gold-accented style of artwork [in] this straightforward, comprehensible biography."—Publishers Weekly
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
One of the hardest assignments to fill is an early biography that will not overwhelm young readers with text. Demi has created just such a book with her trademark large, beautiful illustrations highlighted by a brilliantly blue cover with a gold script title, guaranteed to have shelf appeal. The story of Florence Nightingale, nicknamed “The Lady with the Lamp” because of her nighttime visits to patients, is covered from her privileged childhood to her dedicated career of commitment to the welfare of others. Florence’s story is told in relatively short paragraphs on each page, while the color-drenched pictures add real dimension to the story. The illustrations highlight, in minutely wrought detail, Florence’s life and long history of work on behalf of the sick and poor. The digital illustrations are almost three dimensional, with carpets, dresses, and fixtures that leap from the page. The story tells of Florence’s family’s extreme wealth and privilege. The family was entrenched at a Downton Abbey-level of British society where a separate house was maintained just for parties. However, Florence was more committed to the welfare of common people. She was an innovator in sanitation for battlefield hospitals and a system of efficiently run hospitals and institutions for the poor in England. Rats running among soldier’s beds illustrate the filth of battlefield clinics during the Crimean War. Nightingale was also an innovator in the education of nurses, training them in her methods of order. All of Nightingale’s achievements came at the expense of her own health, shown by Demi as an ever-cheerful if invalid woman. Girls looking for inspirational, historical women will find that this book fits the bill, and provides not just story but captivating and intricate illustrations. A timeline of Nightingale’s life achievements and a brief bibliography are amended. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 4 to 7.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Nightingale was born in 1820 to a wealthy English family. She lived a privileged existence, and, due to her parents' social status, she was afforded the opportunity to meet famous artists and politicians and see the world. It was on her travels that she became aware of the tremendous need for improved health care for all and became convinced that she should become a nurse. She spent a great deal of time visiting hospitals and studying best practices. She became a compassionate, hardworking nurse who raised the standard of cleanliness and organization in military hospitals, women's facilities, and workhouses in Europe and beyond. This beautifully illustrated picture book is comprehensive in scope, providing the perfect balance of interesting facts from her early life on into adulthood. Readers will gain an understanding of Nightingale's work ethic, trials, and accomplishments. Each page is fully adorned with colorful paintings that artfully depict life in the 1800s. There are also intricate patterns woven throughout that add texture and depth and reflect the time period. Students will linger on each page, soaking in the details and seeing connections with modern-day practices that were inspired by Nightingale's tireless work. Demi's attention to detail and thorough descriptions make this biography one to own.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-20
Demi wields her gifts to celebrate Florence Nightingale, who transformed the care of the sick and injured. Florence Nightingale was born to wealthy English parents in Florence, Italy, and from an early age studied nursing and the care of the sick. As her family traveled from England to Italy, France and Germany, she visited hospitals and poorhouses to teach herself and to compare healing strategies. She went to Turkey to assist injured soldiers from the Crimean War, working to ensure sanitary conditions and to make healthful food and medicines available. The text is direct and clear, conveying complex information fluidly. Demi's pictures feature her exquisite line and magnificent use of color, manipulating the flat, decorative space she uses to advance the story. She makes beautiful decorative patterns out of difficult and sometimes horrific situations. Nurses cleaning, scrubbing, comforting and assisting are directed by Nightingale, always pictured in a midnight-blue dress or cloak. One astonishing, gutsy double-page spread depicts the war hospital in Turkey. Leaking walls, rats, garbage and overflowing chamber pots among the stricken soldiers make a formal backdrop to officials rebuffing Nightingale and her nurses. With the turn of the page, readers see the changes in cleanliness, care and mood Nightingale effected. Characteristically beautiful illustrations nevertheless provide a pull-no-punches appreciation of the Lady with the Lamp. (timeline, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805097290
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 303,591
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: NC1020L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Demi is the author and illustrator of many well-loved books for children, including The Empty PotLiang and His Magic Paintbrush, and Buddha Stories. She lives in Washington state.

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