Title: The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath
Author: Julia Finley Mosca
Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Target Ages: 5 and up
Genre: Picture Book Biography
Meet Dr. Patricia Bath—the scientist who never lost sight of her dreams! As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threated this goal, she persevered—brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness.
If you like to think BIG,
But some say you’re too small,
or they say you’re too young
or too slow or too tall…
Pay no mind to their doubts,
and just follow the path
of one AWESOME inventor,
PATRICIA E. BATH!
So, if helping the world
seems too hard, you are wrong.
If some say you can’t do it,
don’t listen. Be STRONG.
Like Patricia, stay FOCUSED.
Push FORWARD. Shine BRIGHT.
And you’ll find all your DREAMS
will be well within SIGHT.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! There is so much about Dr. Bath’s life that is inspirational. She had to overcome difficulties to get an education and dealt with racism and sexism early in her career. The narrative is more focused on what she did to overcome those negative people and social constraints than the actual incidents themselves, which is empowering.
There are several pages devoted to her childhood that give an nice picture of the influences in her from her parents to her brothers to her first science kit. Her parents instill some vital lessons that parent and teacher readers will want to highlight, explore, and expand on.
Another admirable character trait is her never-ending quest to learn and to advance in her field. Her post-school educational pursuits are what led to eye treatment advancements that have helped millions around the world.
The story keeps a steady pace, focusing on the highlights of her career. The information is the right balance of being informative without being overwhelming. However, the author provides plenty of additional information for teachers and parents to share with students, including Fun Facts and Tidbits from the Author’s Chat with Patricia, Timeline of Dr. Bath’s life, and About Dr. Patricia Bath section.
YouTube has a short, animated video about Dr. Bath in her own words.
Here is a Reading Guide for the book.
Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
- Science: Learn about the parts of the eye—pupil, cornea, lens, and so forth—what the parts do, and how to keep eyes healthy. To spark of love of science, order a science kit for the family or plan some science experiments in class.
- Senses: Read this biography while studying the 5 senses. Some fun five senses activity ideas are HERE.
- Time Line: The book includes a timeline of Dr. Bath’s life. Use this organizer in a history unit or to outline the life of another famous scientist. Another possible way to apply it is to have student create a timeline for their future. What do they hope to accomplish and by what age? This ties in nicely with math as well since they have to calculate the year they will be the target age for each accomplishments.
- Geography: Identify the places on the map that Dr. Bath lived or traveled to for her work, such as California, New York, and Paris.
- Community Helpers: Connect this book with a unit on community helpers for younger children. Older students can learn more about the process of becoming a doctor and their important contribution to the community.
- Letter Writing: Write a letter to Dr. Bath. Tell her about what you enjoyed most about her story or what inspired you from her life story.
- Writing—Personal: Dr. Bath accomplished many “firsts.” Students can write about what they want to be the first to do or to discover. Younger students can fill in a simple sentence like: “I want to be the first to ______.” Older students can write more, depending on age and ability.
- Writing—Argument: Pick one of the lessons her parents taught her (“We’re equal—all genders, all shades.” “Nothing’s off limits—no job, dream, or role.” “Education is the key to success.”). Use it as a prompt for students to write an argument, such as arguing why the quote is true or how it was the lesson that impacted her life most (based on the evidence in the story).
- Poetry: The story is written in poetic form. Possible connections can be anywhere from identifying rhyming words to students writing their own poetic lines. Poems can be about Dr. Bath or about their own goals for the future. Assign a specific poetic form or allow them to write in free verse.
Civil Rights Movement
For more great picture book recommendations, visit the Perfect Picture Book Friday Round Up.