“Most tall tales are made up.
But my tale is true.
I was a giant—a real life giant”
Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise are an outstanding duo in their creation of picture books in the non-fiction genre for children. Stand Straight Ella Kate is a large format picture book based on the true life story of Ella Ewing, who suffered from gigantism. This lovely book is narrated by Ella herself and is featured by delightful illustrations which invoke curiosity among school age children. Some would even get a kick out of Ella being taller than the tallest basketball players in the NBA! Young readers will be introduced to Ella’s struggles with her height difference, but they will also discover, with Ella herself, self-confidence in her ability able to achieve goals that she never thought she could achieve.
The book starts off from the very beginning of Ella Ewing’s life. She was born in 1872 to a farmer and his wife. She was like any other baby at first, tiny and helpless against the world. Until she started growing, by thirteen she was nearly six feet tall, towering over her peers and adults alike. During a Fourth of July celebration, she was ridiculed and teased as she stood before a crowd to recite the Gettysburg Address. Despite the cruel treatment, Ella never let such words break her spirit, and eventually she decided to use her own differences to her own advantage. She agreed to show off her exaggerated height of eight feet and four inches to a museum, and she found herself traveling with circuses across America—gaining fame and fortune. When she finally returned home, after years of touring, she was able to pay off her parent’s debt to the bank and built her own home, complete with over-sized windows and doors. In her spare time, Ella enjoyed telling friends and family all about the sights and experiences that she encountered on the road. If she had stayed locked away because of her difference, she would have never had the confidence to become a successful and financially stable woman.
Stand Straight Ella Kate would be a great to read out loud to kindergarten through third grade classrooms. This book emphasizes not only on the acceptance of the differences in others, but also the acceptance and confidence in oneself. Here are a few handpicked Pinterest activity ideas and discussion topics for a future classroom! Please leave comments for other ideas you think would go great with this book!