I am a strong believer in signs. If something comes into your sphere take note, for it is likely meant to guide you towards your destiny. Ok, so mildly melodramatic. It could be that once I hear or see something my subconscious is more aware of it and takes note. But what fun is that? I’d rather interpret it as signs, a nudge to take action, or even fate.
Today I came across the third (yes, the third time seals the deal for me) reference to Nellie Bly in the past couple weeks and I knew it was fated that I post about this intrepid-journalist turned world-traveler. I admit, although I had heard the name before, I knew little of Ms. Bly’s adventures. The first mention of her was on a educational television program that provides insightful historical anecdotes. Ok, fine. I watch Drunk History religiously. It’s as close to reality TV as I get, and it’s for history geeks! So this is where Nellie Bly, and her counterpart Elizabeth Bisland, first crossed my path. Then, just a few days later I attended the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, where author/illustrator Matt Phelan was signing books. When I came to his table what should I discover, but his graphic novel Around the World– which depicts the story of Nellie Bly! Hmmm…twice in one week? Coincidence perhaps, but I wasn’t ready to dismiss her just yet. And today, a post in my Facebook feed from A Mighty Girl (one of my favorite sites to follow) heralded the anniversary of the start of Nellie Bly’s around the world trip, which she began on November 14, 1889.
Clearly it was meant to be. I encourage you to check out these inspiring stories about Nellie Bly, a 24 year-old female journalist who, over 125 years ago, took on the challenge of beating Jules Verne’s fictional journey Around the World in 80 Days.
The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter – Author Bonnie Christensen shares the story of adventurous and groundbreaking journalist Nellie Bly, as she reinvents the rules to become one of the most famous and influential investigative journalist in history. (ER-2/RA)
Around the World – Matt Phelan’s intriguing graphic novel recounts three amazing journeys around the world – all more than 100 years ago! Travel the high seas with Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone, hop on a bicycle with Thomas Stevens as he pedals his way across the globe, and follow journalist Nellie Bly as she takes on a record-breaking challenge and becomes a celebrity of the times. (MR-5)
Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids: Mighty Muckrakers from the Golden Age to Today – Ellen Mahoney brings to life the story of Nellie Bly, and her exploits as one of the first investigative journalists in the United States. Highlighting Bly’s influence, and following the evolution of this new form of journalism and it’s headline makers up to modern day, this is an excellent introduction to Bly and her counterparts that changed journalism forever. (MR- 5)
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings – The collected works of Nellie Bly, including the travelogue of her unchaperoned journey around the world in 1889. (YA+)
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World – by Matthew Goodman. Follow the voyages of journalists Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland as they attempt to best Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg and journey around the world in less than 80 days. Traveling in opposite directions, the two female journalists, pioneers of their day, keep readers at home enthralled with tales of their exploits and discoveries, as they journeyed through foreign lands competing against each other, and time, to be the first to return to New York. (YA+)