One of my favorite new features on BookPage.com this week is a behind-the-book essay by Kate Klise, half of the Klise Sisters, the award-winning author-illustrator duo.

Kate and her sister M. Sarah's latest picture book is called Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant. The subject of the book is Ella Kate Ewing, who was considered to be the world's tallest woman at her death in 1913:

Photo courtesy of the Circus World Museum, part of the Wisconsin Historical Society


Kate Klise first heard of Ella in Rural Missouri magazine, and she and her sister fell in love with the 8-foot-4 woman who used money from the circus to pay off her family's farm, build her own (big) house and see the world. Here's an excerpt from Klise's essay about how she researched and wrote the story:


I’m sure some people will read Stand Straight, Ella Kate as a when-life-gives-you-lemons, make-lemonade kind of story. And in a sense, it is. But to my mind, Ella’s story is a more universal story about growing up, literally, and how so often the things we dislike about ourselves as children, the things that make us different and cause people to laugh at us, are the very things that allow us to take extraordinary journeys. Click here to continue reading.

As a 5-foot-10 woman (since 5th grade!), I have to say that Stand Straight, Ella Kate really made me smile.


Will you share Stand Straight, Ella Kate with young readers? What are your favorite girl power picture books?

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