Seven Brave Women

Overview

Take a journey through time as a young girl recounts the exploits of her female ancestors, seven brave women who left their imprints on the past and on her. Beginning with the great-great-great-grandmother who came to America on a wooden sailboat, these women were devout and determined and tireless and beloved.

A young girl recounts the brave exploits of her female ancestors, including her great-great-great grandmother who came to ...

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Overview

Take a journey through time as a young girl recounts the exploits of her female ancestors, seven brave women who left their imprints on the past and on her. Beginning with the great-great-great-grandmother who came to America on a wooden sailboat, these women were devout and determined and tireless and beloved.

A young girl recounts the brave exploits of her female ancestors, including her great-great-great grandmother who came to America in a wooden sailboat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noting that "in the old days, history books marked time by the wars that men fought," Hearne (Eliza's Dog) tells stories of seven women in her family who "did great things" without fighting in the eight wars that frame their lives. This is a smartly crafted collection of page-long personal tales that shake up common notions of what makes a life worthwhile or even heroic. War defines the era of Hearne's stories, but only incidentally: "Helen lived during World War I, but she did not fight in it. My great-grandmother was brave enough to go to medical school when it was hard for women to become doctors." (This Helen later founded a women's hospital in India). The other women's careers are less dramatic but no less noteworthy. The vividly detailed stories stretch from the Revolutionary War to the present, and are depicted with equal unconventionality by first-time illustrator Andersen's folkish, lyrical, uncommonly energetic oil paintings. Her imaginative compositions show each woman with people or mementos, including some that float in the background; they also feature a pink ribbon that links each scene to the next. The result is a book that is all the more magical for being rooted in history, an exhilarating reminder that "there are a million ways to be brave." Ages 5-up. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Betsy Hearne's Seven Brave Women brings to front and center the contributions of women usually ignored in traditional historical accounts. Hearne lauds seven generations of females from her family. These women stayed home, tended kids, sewed quilts and kept a home together-while the men went off to war. In keeping with Hearne's text, Bethanne Andersen's illustrations focus on women "doing," actively shaping their own and others' lives. The book offers a wonderful jump-off point for home and classroom discussions and writing about family. And it provides a powerful example of history from a perspective different than that of the usual focus on war and big events as society's defining moments.
Children's Literature - Karen Saxe
This is an interesting idea for a book: each major United States war (the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War) is the backdrop for telling the story of a female ancestor of the author's. For example, the first chapter tells of the author's great-great-great grandmother's life during the Revolutionary War, and chapter two is about the author's great-great grandmother's life during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. It is an attractively illustrated book, and it makes interesting reading. Young readers will get a better understanding of what life was like for women during each of these time periods and the important contribution women have made.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4History is often defined by its wars and the men who fought in them. Here, Hearne presents a family history that marks eras by the wars in which the women didn't fight. For instance, the first chapter begins, "My great-great-great-grandmother did great things. Elizabeth lived during the Revolutionary War, but she did not fight in it." The brief text goes on to describe her journey, in a wooden sailboat from Switzerland to America, with two young children and another on the way. Each double-page spread shows how these women's lives were distinctive in their own way. Some, like the great-grandmother who started a women's hospital in India, are remarkable by any standards. Others are remarkable in quieter ways, like the grandmother who lived in the same house her whole life, caring for many family members and all of the neighborhood animals. Hearne's smooth writing style is suited to the succinct narrative; her carefully selected details help bring the past to life. Andersen, in her picture-book debut, has created oil paintings full of color, light, and movement. A dove carrying a pink ribbon moves gracefully from page to page, tying the women's stories together visually and thematically. Feminism, pacifism, and genealogy are woven together to make an attractive book that may inspire young readers to delve into their own family histories. While this book is short on dramatic tension, it's strong in artistry and heart.Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
In eight two-page chapters, Hearne (Eliza's Dog, 1996, etc.) draws upon stories from her family to transcribe a history of feminine accomplishment. The undercurrent of personal history runs parallel to recorded history, marked mainly by war. During the time of the Revolutionary War, a great-great-great- grandmother, a Mennonite, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden boat, with two small children and another on the way. A great- grandmother rode into town on horseback, working art lessons into a day full of chores. Another grandmother became an architect, and then designed and built her family a house. The stories stress emotions (a love of art) and sympathetic human interaction (like storytelling) instead of what the author calls "the wars that men fought." Soft pastel illustrations by Andersen (who illustrated Sandy Sasso Eisenberg's But God Remembered, 1995, and A Prayer for the Earth, p. 146) complement these tales of quiet courage and perseverance. The young girl who narrates comes forth in the last chapter, knowing that she, too, can make history: "There are a million ways to be brave."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060799212
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/24/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Hearne is the author of several acclaimed books for teens and for young readers, including The Canine Connection: Stories about Dogs and People; Wishes, Kisses, and Pigs; and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Seven Brave Women. She is a noted children's book reviewer and scholar who teaches folklore and storytelling at the University of Illinois. Betsy Hearne lives in Urbana, Illinois, but has spent every summer for more than twenty years in the village of Kilcrohane, County Cork, Ireland. These stories are partly drawn from that experience and partly made up out of very thin air.

Bethanne Andersen is the illustrator of Bluebird Summer by Deborah Hopkinson and Seven Brave Women, winner of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, written by Betsy Hearne. She lives in Boise, Idaho.

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