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Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas

By Gwendolyn Hudson Hooks
Illustrated by Colin Bootman

Hardcover: out of stock

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 book is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.

About the Creators

Thumb_gwendolyn_hooks_photo_small Gwendolyn Hudson Hooks - Author

was born in Savannah, Georgia. Her father was in the Air Force, so Gwen and her family moved a lot when she was a child. Her first stop in every new city was the local library where she got her new library card. Gwendolyn is the author of many books, including Bebop Books’ Can I Have a Pet? and Lee & Low's Tiny Stitches. Gwen now lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and their three children. Visit her online at gwendolynhooks.com.

Thumb_thumb Colin Bootman

has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including Almost to Freedom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor Book. Bootman grew up in Trinidad and the United States. Much of his artwork portrays the rich diversity of experiences among people of African descent. In addition to creating illustrations for books and periodicals, Bootman enjoys teaching students and young artists. He lives in Texas, and can be found on the Web at colinbootman.net.

About This Title

ISBN

Hardcover: 9781620141564

Awards

NAACP Image Award Winner
NAACP

Lasting Connection Title
Book Links

Starred Review
Booklist

Choices
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

Eureka! Award
California Reading Association

Top Ten Science and Health Books for Youth
Booklist

Best Books for Kids
New York Public Library

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Guided Reading:

U

Lexile:

920L

Interest Level:

Grades 2 - 8

Reading Level:

Grades 4 - 5

Themes

African/African American Interest, Biography/Memoir, Civil Rights Movement, Courage, Cultural Diversity, Discrimination, Dreams & Aspirations, Heroism, History, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Informational Text, Kindness/Caring, Leadership, Mentors, Nonfiction, Overcoming Obstacles, Persistence/Grit, Pride, Respect/Citizenship

Part of These Collections