To the Front!: Clara Barton Braves the Battle of Antietam

Calkins Creek. Mar. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781635923223.
Gr 1-4–Nurse Clara Barton traveled in a wagon to the Civil War battleground in Antietam, where she tended to wounded soldiers and assisted surgeons during and after the fighting. The story is told largely in Clara’s own clear and compelling words, augmented with concise and poetic third-person text. Soft-edge, digitally painted illustrations make great use of light, shadow, and perspective; they represent the story faithfully, including the surgeon’s ominous tools. As the subtitle indicates, this book shows only a few days of Clara Barton’s life and work, but has rich resources in an afterword, photographs, quotations, an extensive bibliography, and places to visit, illuminating Barton’s lifelong work as an educator, humanitarian, suffragette, civil rights campaigner, and founder of the American Red Cross.
VERDICT A vivid window into a few bloody and exhausting days shows Barton’s unflinching bravery and inexhaustible dedication to helping those around her. Recommended.

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