Reviews

BOOKLIST REVIEW OF WOMEN MAKING AMERICA

“Although there are a number of books that trace the history of women in the U.S., this is an exceptionally fine compilation that looks at the lives of American women in general and in particular. The introduction covers the role women had in building the country and explains the areas on which the authors have chosen to focus: health, paid work, home, education, beauty, amusements, and the arts. The book then proceeds in chronological fashion, beginning with the Revolutionary War. Throughout, it is filled with fascinating anecdotes about individual women and the lives they led, but it also sets these lives against the sweep of U.S. history. Consequently, this can be likened to a quilt, where both the individual pieces and the whole demand attention. This is an attractive offering as well, with historical art and photographs-color and black-and-white-enlivening each page. Most readers probably won’t read this hefty tome from beginning to end, but the material is so interesting, a few just might.” Cooper, Ilene.

THE AMELIA BLOOMER PROJECT CHOOSES WOMEN MAKING AMERICA

The Amelia Bloomer Project of the American Library Association has chosen Women Making America to be in their top ten books of 2010.

“A fascinating look at U.S. history, dividing it into nine chronological periods, this book combines an overview of major events and social trends with women’s lives, rights, responsibilities, and accomplishments. It includes racial and ethnic considerations as well as social movements. Each page has sidebars clearly set apart from the main text by bright colors or clear borders. If you like your history from the white male canon, this book is not for you. For the rest of us, it is a welcome view of how women were involved in creating history. Highly recommended for school, academic, and public libraries.”

The Amelia Bloomer Project creates an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18. They are part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. “The books [on the Amelia Bloomer list] show girls and women—past and present, real and fictional—breaking stereotypes to follow their dreams and pursue their goals, challenging cultural and familial stereotypes to gain an education, taking charge, and making plans for community, regional, national, and world change,’ says the Task Force. ‘We hope that these books inspire readers to make the world a better place for all.’”

You can read more at http://ameliabloomer.wordpress.com/

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEWS WOMEN MAKING AMERICA

“Gr 6 Up—This hefty volume surveys the role of women in American history from 1770 to the present, focusing primarily on health issues, paid work, home, education, beauty, amusements, and the arts. Each chapter includes a brief summary of historical events and then examines the common threads. Photographs, reproductions, and numerous sidebars convey information on pages filled with bright colors and lively layouts. Quotes, biographical information, facts, and vignettes place women in the context of the times. Outstanding highlights are the “Did you know?” and “Have you heard of…?” sections. There is good racial, ethnic, and age diversity in the text and in the illustrations. The bibliography offers general histories and specific chapter references. The book concludes with the authors addressing their female readers by asking “How will your passion and hard work pave the way for those still to come?…The next chapter of American history belongs to you and your children and grandchildren. What will that story be?” The book’s innovative and direct approach is sure to capture the attention of young women. Classroom teachers can utilize the plethora of facts to liven social studies and history lessons, and the format is appealing enough to attract browsers.”—Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL June 1, 2009

CINDY HUDSON OF THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB REVIEWED WOMEN MAKING AMERICA ON MAY 26, 2009

“I’ve been reading a book called Women Making America by Heidi Hemming and Julie Hemming Savage and I think many of you would find it both interesting and useful. First, it’s a great resource for finding information and ideas when your daughter is assigned an essay to write about a woman she admires or about an historical figure The book is organized so well you can open to any page and find some historical tidbit that you may want to follow up on.

Second, it’s the perfect guide to have when your daughter starts to realize that not many women are featured in her school history book. This may happen early in her school years, but it will certainly happen by the time she is in middle school or high school. Even better, don’t wait until your daughter questions it on her own; buy a copy and keep it out on your family room coffee table. Pique her interest by opening to any page and reading one of the boxed facts like this one from the New Ways of Living 1865—1890 section: “Employers justified paying women less by hiring them only for unskilled positions. This was impossible in the case of cigar makers from Bohemia. Women were the experts. A war in Europe led thousands to immigrate to America in the 1870s. Arriving with their own tools, these skilled workers quickly earned enough money for their husbands and children to join them.”

Women Making America is organized by era. There are nine chapters, and each covers several decades in American history. Each chapter also highlights different topics, such as health, paid work, at home, education, beauty, amusements and the arts. Sidebars on every page offer little bits of information in pull-out boxes.

There are several historical illustrations and photos on each page, and most of them are fascinating pieces of history that make you want to find out more. Women Making America is a resource you will want to have around for years to come. I highly recommend it for homes with daughters of any age.”