Sunday, April 4, 2021

Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield

Author Susan Goldman Rubin does a wonderful job introducing Mary Seacole to young readers. Ms. Seacole was not someone I had heard of before. Her story was inspirational as well as disheartening when learning of the prejudice she experienced.

Growing up in Jamaica, Mary had dreamed of visiting England and spent a couple years there. Upon returning home, Mary helped her mother care for patients with yellow fever. One of the patients she attended kept proposing marriage and they eventually wed. But her husband's health was poor and Mary was soon a widow.  After her mother also died, she took over her mother's duties.

Mary then helped during cholera outbreaks. Upon visiting her brother in Panama, Mary's nursing skills were once again put to use. She worked tirelessly fighting cholera, another round of yellow fever back home, and then sought to apply her skills to helping the wounded in the Crimean War.  She soon discovered that racial prejudice kept her from nursing positions. So finding a business partner, Mary opened her own convalescent home to care for the sick.

Affectionataly known as Aunty Seacole by some and Mother Seacole by others, Mary helped everyone she could (in spite of much snubbing by others). She and her business partner built a new building and served nourishing meals to all (whether they could pay or not). This amazing woman continued nursing until she was seventy-six years old.

Illustrator Richie Pope, helps bring Mary's contributions to life and children will get a sense of the challenges and difficulties that Mary faced throughout her life. I highly recommend this book!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. 

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