Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Tiny Stitches 9.14.16

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

As many of you know, doctors play a prominent role in our household.  Here's our story.

I found out at my 20 week ultrasound that my child had a short femur, short tibia, no fibula, no hip joint and what looked like a clubfoot.  No one knew the name for it.  Without knowing your baby, this becomes all you know.
Skip ahead about 16 weeks.  My daughter comes early, on her own terms, certainly not mine, and we quickly learn her personality.  Yes, all of the things that were seen on ultrasound were present, but we also discovered her determination, her tenacity, and her spark!
After visiting a few doctors in the Chicagoland area, we discovered, all in the first 6 months of her life, our daughter had PFFD and the only option was to amputate her leg.
Thank goodness one of her doctors thought we should see the specialist in this area.  He worked in Baltimore (Baltimore? We live in Chicago, aren't the experts better here?) and he might have a different outlook.  Dr. Paley worked at Sinai Hospital, down the road from John Hopkins, and was an expert in our daughter's condition.  In that first visit we learned her condition should be called CFD (same prognosis - congenital femoral deficiency, but he takes the presence, or lack, of a hip out of the condition) and fibular hememilia.  His prognosis?  He will make all 3 of her joints working joints and he would lengthen her leg.  
With this positive outlook, we've travelled with Dr. Paley to his new hospital location in West Palm Beach, Florida, and have never looked back.
Why is he the leading expert?  Because he's always thinking.  He's always coming up with new and innovative ways to make the lives of children and adult with congenitally short limbs better and stronger.  He always thinks outside of the box.  He doesn't work with limitations.
Thank goodness for doctors like these.

Tiny Stitches by Gwendolyn Hooks
Tiny Stitches:
The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas
written by Gwendolyn Hooks
illustrated by Colin Bootman
Published by Lee & Low Books

Tiny Stitches tells us about Vivien Thomas.  While never a learned doctor, he was a man who was always thinking, always trying, always learning.  And because of that, new procedures and medical equipment were made and used and lives were saved.  Growing up during the Great Depression and times of segregation, Thomas did not have it easy.  Not getting credit where it was due.  Not having access to the education he craved.  He made it work.  He found ways.

I know my child's life is better because of a doctor who didn't take no for an answer.  Who didn't look for the easy way out.  Who keeps trying and learning.  
Thank goodness for doctors like these.

Be sure to read the Nerdy Post about this book here


  1. What a fantastic story, both about Vivien Thomas and your daughter's experiences with innovative doctors! I'm so thankful for the creative, innovative, dedicated doctors and scientists who are willing to think outside the box and never stop learning.

  2. Our family also just had a life-changing experience when one doctor recognized how the "diagnosis" was inaccurate and started asking questions. Thank you so much for sharing your daughter's inspiring story. I'm excited to read Tiny Stitches!