Nellie Bly

Philomel. (She Persisted). May 2021. 80p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593115749; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593115756.
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.

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