Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco is a nominee for the 2015-16 South Carolina Picture Book Award. This moving book tells readers of the early life of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross.
Clara, the youngest of five children, had a very special bond with her brother, Davie. Davie encouraged Clara to be herself, he listened to her troubles, and he was always there for her. Even when others called Clara lazy or stupid because of her lisp, Davie looked for ways to make his little sister happy.
As Clara grew into a young woman, it became clear to all that she had a way with nature and healing. She loved working with flowers and spending time with animals, but her true gift was healing. She tended to animals and humans alike…and she was soon tasked with caring for her beloved brother, Davie.
Just as Davie supported her through difficult times, Clara was determined to help him during his troubles. She did everything she could to nurse him back to health, and her care worked wonders.
Clara Barton not only helped her brother to walk again, but, with his support and her own desire to help others, she also went on to become one of the greatest and most beloved medical practitioners in history.
Clara and Davie is a great addition to elementary library and classroom collections. This book would be a wonderful selection for women’s history studies, and it may even be an excellent gift for school nurses.
I also think Clara and Davie is a must-read for students who may struggle with speech (or any other) issues. This book demonstrates that those obstacles (for lack of a better word) don’t have to get in the way of doing something that truly makes a difference.