By Patricia Polacco
Scholastic, $17.99, 32 pages
Did you know that Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, is a relative of best selling author Patricia Polacco? Polacco grew up hearing stories about Barton and, knowing what a strong female role model she is, decided to write Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton to give readers a chance to learn about Clara’s early years.
Big brother Davie loves baby Clara. He watches her grow, protects her from bullies, encourages her love of animals and supports her desire to learn about healing them. Clara struggles with a lisp, has very few friends and is shy. Davie is always there to help her stay true to herself. But what will happen when a terrible fall threatens Davie’s life? Will Clara be able to do something to help heal her brother who has been by her side for all these years?
Polacco is an American icon in her own right. She is a bestselling author and illustrator of about 100 books for children. Her illustrations will stick in your memory for years and, as you can with a favorite artist, you’ll be able to identify her books just based on the illustrations because they are that special. Her style is uniquely beautiful.
Clara and Davie is important for all young readers because it teaches the important lesson that even if you are shy or quiet as a kid, there may be a powerful and strong person inside waiting to do something special when you grow up. Clara was shy and was intimidated by her lisp. But she didn’t give up. Early on Clara recognized her own gift for healing others. But it took the rest of the world longer to acknowledge her talent. It is a great story to remind kids not to give up and to keep believing in themselves.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin