Stand Straight, Ella Kate

by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

In 1872, Ella Kate began life as a typically-sized infant, but by age thirteen she... read more

In 1872, Ella Kate began life as a typically-sized infant, but by age thirteen she was almost six feet tall. Although her parents told her to “stand straight” with pride, Ella Kate was embarrassed and sometimes humiliated by the constant attention and teasing. But at age eighteen and eight feet tall, she accepted an offer from a Chicago museum to stand on exhibit for a month. This led to jobs across the country with the circus, in exhibitions, and at a world’s fair. Ella Kate earned an ample income and built a house custom-sized to her unique dimensions in a community that offered friendship and support, but she also continued to work as a circus show star for the opportunity it offered to travel broadly. She found that “as big as I was, the world was so much bigger.” Sensitive and respectful, this accessible story reveals the mockery and teasing Ella Kate endured, but maintains a positive focus on the satisfying life she created for herself. Acrylic paint illustrations offer just the right note of cheerfulness and intriguing detail. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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