Project Description

It Cant Be Done Nellie Bly PB
Discussion Guide

It Can’t Be Done, Nellie Bly!

A Reporter’s Race Around the World

by Nancy Ohlin

The true story of Nellie Bly, a bold woman, reporter, and adventurer who set a world record for her famous journey around the globe.

“Readers will thrill to this story of Bly’s daring 22,000 mile journey…” ―A Mighty Girl

Nellie Bly was a 19th century newspaper reporter for The New York World, but instead of writing about “ladylike” subjects like tea parties and charity balls, Nellie wrote about critical social problems of her day—poor job conditions, dilapidated housing, and dishonest politicians. If someone told her “It can’t be done, Nellie Bly,” she went right ahead and did it anyway.

So when Nellie read Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, she was inspired to circle the globe herself and attempt to beat the record of the fictional character Phileas Fogg. But would she go too far in her quest?

Young readers will cheer for Nellie Bly as she embarks on her 22,000-mile trip. Equipped only with one sturdy travel dress, a small satchel, and a pet monkey she picks up in Singapore, Bly travels by ship, train, and foot, experiencing incredible events and places—from a monsoon at sea to a leper colony in China. This delightful true story of a woman with an indomitable spirit will inspire a new generation of young women and adventurers.

Back matter includes additional information about Nellie Bly’s life.


Amelia Bloomer Project ―ALA Booklist, Feminist Task Force
Children’s Crown Award (Nominee) ―National Christian School Association

To pre-order this format, please contact sales at 1-800-241-0113 (404-876-8761) between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Format: Paperback
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-56145-686-4
Publication Date: 3/1/2021
Page Count: 144
Size: 5” x 7”
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English

Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-68263-358-8
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

AR Level: 5.2
F&P: S, Gr 4, Genre B
Lexile: 810L
Themes: Gender, Journalism, Nellie Bly, Travel
BISAC 1: JNF007020 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Historical
BISAC 2: JNF025200 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / United States / 19th Century


“The book contains additional information about the reporter’s life, making it a satisfying biography suitable for reports and recreational reading. Fun, factual, and well written.” ―School Library Journal

“Readers will thrill to this story of Bly’s daring 22,000 mile journey…” ―A Mighty Girl

“A wonderful true story tale sure to inspire readers to tackle their own unique challenges.” ―Midwest Review of Books

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“A delightful story of a newspaper reporter’s attempt to travel around the world in 75 days to beat the record of the fictional character of Phileas Fogg. The author weaves a wonderful tale of the adventures faced by this daredevil woman and creatively inserts Nellie’s own words.” ―ACS Reader’s Haven

“A reporter, a race against time, and a pet monkey… what’s not to like? And at the end of the book, author Nancy Butcher provides some additional reading and more details about Nellie’s life and the race.” ―Sally’s Bookshelf

“Butcher does a good job of explaining terms and what’s going on, without completely spelling it out or watering it down. There are fun details and illustrations scattered throughout, and the reading experience is a satisfying one in terms of both information and entertainment. Having never heard of Nellie Bly before this read, I am now intrigued.” ―A Word’s Worth

Read Less


Amelia Bloomer Project ―ALA Booklist, Feminist Task Force, 2004

Children’s Crown Award (Nominee) ―National Christian School Association, 2005-2006

Meet the Author

Nancy Ohlin

Nancy Ohlin was born in Tokyo, Japan and divided her childhood between there and Ohio. She received a BA in English from the University of Chicago. She is the author of the YA novels B*Witch and its sequel Witch Rising (co-authored with Paige McKenzie; Little, Brown); Consent; Beauty; and Always, Forever (all Simon Pulse) as well as the Blast Off! early-grade history series (Little Bee). She has collaborated with Quvenzhane Wallis, Chloe Lukasiak, and other celebrities, and written or ghostwritten over a hundred books for children, teens, and adults. She lives with her family and many cats in Ithaca, NY.