Girls from all walks of life and from all regions of America are represented in Penny Colman's glorious celebration of the resilience of girls throughout history. One story after another--unearthed in diaries, memoirs, letters, photographs, household manuals, popular magazines--reveals everyday experiences of girls. In 1704 a group of French soldiers and Abenaki warriors raided a Massachusetts settlement, killing many and taking 7-year-old Eunice Williams prisoner. Eunice ended up being adopted by a family of Roman Catholic Iroquois, and she chose to continue living her life as a member of this culture, dressing in blankets and living in a wigwam. In the 1940s, Drew Gilpin Faust's mother often said, "It's a man's world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that the better off you'll be." Drew refused to bow to gender pressure, and joined the 4-H club, not to sew and can like the other girls, but to raise sheep and cattle with the boys.
Girls such as Eunice and Drew have much to offer today's generation of girls. Their compelling stories and the accompanying photos and illustrations offer a running commentary on American girlhood, from the Ice Age to the present. Sections on slavery, crippling fashion trends (such as tight corsets and huge hoop skirts), and the working world provide a context for understanding the wide range of perspectives represented. This illuminating book will empower and inspire girls ages 9 to 99. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-A fascinating look at a seldom-studied topic. The bulk of the book explores the roles of girls (and women) in Native American society, Colonial communities, and up through modern times. The author includes some general discussion of societal structures, social movements, and historical events but much of the information is conveyed through descriptions of the lives and deeds of individuals. Among the girls included are pioneers, former slaves, mill workers, children of farmers, and immigrants. They often speak for themselves through excerpts from letters, diary entries, and published memoirs. Black-and-white period photographs and reproductions are included along with occasional portraits. The layout is particularly pleasing, with plenty of white space and frequent illustrations. An index lists names, places, works cited, and general topics; the list for further reading is extensive. The author's thorough research, inclusiveness, and accessible style make this book an essential resource for libraries serving young people.Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
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