Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists’ Breakneck Race Around the World

Calkins Creek. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781684373772.
Gr 2-4–Two creative, energetic women set out on an around-the-world journalists’ dream assignment in this book. Readers meet Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland in the late 1800s. Bly, inspired by the popularity of the book Around the World in 80 Days, upped the idea of circling the globe in 75 days! After Bly assured her editor that a woman could do the assignment, she set sail across the Atlantic. That very evening Bisland’s editor called to ask if she would challenge Bly and sail the opposite direction. At first, Bisland was less than enthusiastic but eventually, she also set out to globe-trot. The book follows these two women on their journeys around the world, and at one point even their steamships cross paths. The pages are colorful and have lovely landmarks of the locations Bly and Bisland pass through during their travels. One highlight young readers will love is Bly’s souvenir from Singapore, a monkey she names McGinty. This empowering story ends with a terrific author’s note that includes images from the time period, newspaper clippings, and other highlights of the lives and work of other female journalists.
VERDICT This unusual story with its driven women and epic tour belongs on the biography shelves, but the adventure shelves, too.

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