Back of Book:
Vivien Thomas’s greatest dream was to attend college to study medicine. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings. Then he heard about a job opening at the Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Vivien knew that the all-white school would never admit him as a student, but he hoped working there meant he was getting closer to his dream.
As Dr. Blalock s research assistant, Vivien learned surgical techniques. In 1943, Vivien was asked to help Dr. Helen Taussig find a cure for children with a specific heart defect. After months of experimenting, Vivien developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Afterward, Dr. Blalock and Dr. Taussig announced their innovative new surgical technique, the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Vivien s name did not appear in the report. Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine children s heart surgery.
This story has such an incredible wow factor. The drive of one doctor to help babies live was truly inspiring to me. I was amazed at all the new information I learned while reading this story. I had never heard of Vivien Thomas or his incredible techniques in medicine. This is among the best picture books I have ever read. It shows readers to never give up no matter what the challenge may be. I love that the back of this book has more information about Vivien Thomas and his medical procedure. The illustrations are stunning and very realistic. They draw a reader into the story. I would add this to any upper elementary reading list and library.
Ages 7 and up