To the Front! Clara Barton Braves the Battle of Antietam by Claudia Friddell, illustrated by Christopher Cyr

Published by Calkins Creek

Summary:  Clara Barton’s role in the battle of Antietam is documented in her own words, poems written by the author, and realistic illustrations of battlefront scenes.  She nurses men (including one who is shot as she is giving him water), helps doctors, and cooks gruel from Indian meal she unexpectedly finds used as packing material.  At the end of the ordeal, she’s put on a makeshift bed in the back of a wagon and driven 80 miles back to Washington, where she collapses from exhaustion and typhoid fever.  Includes several pages of additional biographical information about Clara Barton, a bibliography, and a list of places to visit.  40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  The narrative and illustrations combine to portray the horrors of war, as well as the tirelessness that Clara Barton brought to the battlefield.  The extensive back matter will help researchers understand more about Barton’s life.

Cons:  Kids will need some prior knowledge of the Civil War and Clara Barton’s life to understand what is going on.

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