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3 Children’s Books about Black Doctors

by | Feb 3, 2024 | Books about Black History | 0 comments

Children’s Books about Black Doctors

 

It’s officially February, which means it’s Black History Month here in the United States! As a nurse, for me it’s also Heart Month – a month where we wear red, call attention to the causes and consequences of heart disease, and raise awareness for research and prevention.

So, naturally, my first post for this Black History Month is a tribute to three Black Americans in history who have achieved big things in the field of medicine.

Be sure to save this post and share with the the children in your life who are interested in the medical field!

 

five book covers for books about women in politics
The Water Lady Darlene Arviso

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first Black female physician in America in 1864. Yes, during the Civil War, a Black woman became “doctoress of medicine,” as they called it, earning her degree at the New England Female Medical College.

After the Civil War ended, she spent most of her time tending to the health needs of formerly enslaved people, especially women and children. She published her experiences in 1883, becoming one of the first known African American authors with her Book of Medical Discourses.

Introduce your children to Dr Rebecca Lee Crumpler with these books:

Leaders Like Us: Rebecca Lee Crumpler by J.P. Miller and Markai Jenai

Dr Rebecca’s Healing Heart: The Inspiring Story of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler by Daphne Dee Mann

 

 

 

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

While Dr Crumpler was the first Black female physician, Dr Daniel Hale Williams was the first Black cardiologist. Aside from breaking the barriers with the specialty of medicine he practiced, he was also the founder of Provident Hospital, the first integrated hospital in the country, in 1891.

After founding Provident Hospital, he continued to advance the practice of medicine by becoming the first Black doctor to perform heart surgery on a patient. Dr Williams believed every patient deserved high quality and equitable care, so he founded a nursing school for Black students, mentored younger physicians, was a Professor of Clinical Surgery, and sat on the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Provident Hospital is still keeping his legacy alive by serving the people of Chicago.

Check out this children’s book to show the kids in your life that equitable access to healthcare is in large thanks to the efforts of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams!

The Heart of a Hero by Stephen Noble and Ana Patankar

 

The front cover of What Do You Do with a Voice Like That, a children's book about Barbara C. Jordan
I am not a number

Dr. Vivien Thomas

This story is one I find personally very special. As a newer nurse, I worked in the Cardiac ICU of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where I cared for tiny babies born with congenital heart defects. For many of those babies, one of the procedures they would receive was called the Blalock-Taussig shunt (B-T shunt for short).

But it turns out that it should actually be called the Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt, because Drs Blalock and Taussig were not the only two who invented the procedure: they had help from one Dr Vivien Thomas.

Dr Thomas (awarded with an honorary doctorate by Johns Hopkins University in 1976 and was not actually a medical practitioner) was a laboratory assistant for Dr Blalock. He learned quickly and actually coached several doctors through their surgeries.

For anyone interested in the medical field, or for those who love a Heart Warrior, this book is a must read. I am so glad this incredible man is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Dr. Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks and Colin Bootman

 

There are so many incredible Black doctors who have advanced patient care, this is just a good place to start! As I find more books to recommend, I will continue to update this post. If you know of a children’s book about black doctors that I have not yet posted, leave me a comment with the book recommendation! I am always looking for new resources.