I Could Not Do Otherwise: The Remarkable Life of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (Library Binding)
Grateful American Book Prize Book of Honorable Mention
As a teenager, Mary Edwards Walker determined she would no longer wear the confining corsets and long skirts society dictated women wear at the time and instead opted for pants with a short skirt, setting the stage for her lifelong controversial efforts to change expectations. One of the first women to earn a degree in medicine, Walker championed women's rights, social justice, and access to health care. She became a Civil War surgeon and a spy, who was captured and arrested by the Confederacy, and she is still the only woman to have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Written by young adult author Sara Latta, I Could Not Do Otherwise teaches readers about Walker's determination and strength of conviction, as well as her complete disregard of what others thought of her unconventional style. The slogan, "women's rights are human rights" is a direct descendent of Walker's words: "The recognition of the individuality of woman, is simply an acknowledgement of human rights, which all human beings have guaranteed them, by the fact of their having an existence." I Could Not Do Otherwise brings to light an amazing historical figure who broke gender norms and fought for issues that are still relevant today.