A Voice From the Wilderness: The Story of Anna Howard Shaw [NOOK Book]

Overview

By the time Anna Howard Shaw was barely twelve years old, she had crossed the stormy Atlantic (one and a half times), survived a grueling journey from Massachusetts to the unexplored woods of Michigan, and helped create a house and home in the middle of nowhere. By most measures, Anna Howard Shaw's life was hard and filled with struggle.

But a life in the North American wilderness also had many pleasures. Anna was young, happy, and strong. What...

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A Voice From the Wilderness: The Story of Anna Howard Shaw

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Overview

By the time Anna Howard Shaw was barely twelve years old, she had crossed the stormy Atlantic (one and a half times), survived a grueling journey from Massachusetts to the unexplored woods of Michigan, and helped create a house and home in the middle of nowhere. By most measures, Anna Howard Shaw's life was hard and filled with struggle.

But a life in the North American wilderness also had many pleasures. Anna was young, happy, and strong. What Anna didn't have was school.

With incredible fortitude and purpose, not only did Anna go on to teach school herself, she also accomplished a great many other things, including helping to win the right to vote for women. With his magical storytelling and radiant artwork, Don Brown welcomes us into the pioneer life of a most extraordinary woman.

Author Biography: Don Brown is a professional illustrator. His first children's book, RUTH LAW THRILLS A NATION, was a Reading Rainbow feature selection and an NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. His second book, ALICE RAMSEY'S GRAND ADVENTURE, received starred reviews in THE BULLETIN, KIRKUS REVIEWS, and SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL. School Library Journal has called him "a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies." His most recent book, RARE TREASURE, was selected as a NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Focusing on another intrepid woman from the past, Brown (Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa; Ruth Law Thrills a Nation) offers an anecdotal account of the life of Shaw, who is perhaps best known for her work as a suffragette. Her family emigrates to the U.S. from England in the mid-19th century and settles in Massachusetts. Yet Anna's father "believed a better life awaited the family in the West"; he and his son James travel to the wilds of Michigan to build a rudimentary cabin, which Anna and her siblings later make habitable. Weaving into his narrative Shaw's words from her 1915 autobiography, Brown explains how she takes charge after her father and James return east; she digs a well, plants crops, etc. As a young woman, she works as a teacher and seamstress, enrolls in college and later becomes a minister, then a doctor careers that Brown notes women "were discouraged from entering at the time." A concluding author's note fleshes out Shaw's story, while ironically emphasizing certain events more than those covered in the chronicle. Most notably, the narrative's minimal mention of Shaw's work for the women's suffrage movement does little to support the idea of these efforts as "her life's work," as Brown describes them in his afterword. Ultimately, this intriguing portrait of a true pioneer, with softly focused pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that underscore the barren Michigan landscape, may well ignite further reading on Shaw. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Don Brown adds to the impressive numbers of picture book biographies with this inspiring story of one woman who raised her voice to secure women's right to vote. Anna Howard Shaw came to America in 1857 and immediately displayed her resilient nature when her father settled Anna, her mother and siblings in the roughly cleared forest of Michigan. In this desolate frontier, Anna worked hard to make a life for her family while sampling the simple pleasures of reading and finding beauty in the nature that surrounded her. Driven by ambition, she went from teaching in a one room schoolhouse to attending college where she graduated and became first a minister and later a doctor. The inequities she saw in the wages given to women prompted Anna, who once preached to an imagined audience in the forest, to speak out for a woman's right to vote. The pioneer girl had found her cause, and using "her own scale and keeping her own measurement," she made a difference. Warm watercolor illustrations capture the spirit of a woman who was no stranger to adversity but learned to face it head on. 2001, Houghton Mifflin, $16.00. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer:Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Brown hones in on a little-known figure. The book focuses on Shaw's tumultuous childhood and young adulthood marked by her long, stormy journey from England to Massachusetts in 1851, hardscrabble pioneering days in the Michigan woods when she was 12, self-education, and college and medical school. The fact that she was a trailblazer for women's rights is only brought to light near the end of the volume. Full-page, at times cartoonlike, pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are pleasing to the eye. One spread, showing Anna and her brother planting and fishing, is particularly touching. Another, awash in blue, reveals perfectly her mother's despair at attempting pioneer life with young children and an absent husband. Most of the information for this text comes from Shaw's autobiography, written in 1915. Because of the relative obscurity of the subject, this title might be overlooked on library shelves but it would be suited for classroom reading. An attractive and readable selection.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Brown (Mary Kingsley in Africa, 2000, etc.) relies on Anna Howard Shaw's autobiography as the inspiration for his account of a woman whose pioneer background prepared her for the causes she championed in her adult life. "By most measures, Anna Howard Shaw's life was hard and filled with struggle. But Anna used her own scale and kept her own measurements, and that made all the difference." So begins the story of a young girl who survived a perilous crossing of the Atlantic, settled in Massachusetts, and then spent one and a half years in the Michigan wilds, where the family was 100 miles from the railroad and 40 miles from a post office. Although Anna learned to hook fish with the iron wires from her hoop skirts and chop sod with an ax to plant corn and potatoes, she didn't have any schooling. But there were books and she read histories, novels, and math texts until she knew them by heart. She was a schoolteacher at 15 and eventually graduated from college and received a medical degree-highly unusual for a woman in her time. She became a minister and was angered by the fact that women's wages were half of what a man earned. She spoke to people around the world, battling for women to win the right to vote since that was, to her, the first step to independence for women. Anna Shaw died one year before the woman's right to vote became law. Elegant phrasing and seamless narration complement pastel watercolors. The paintings are especially effective in conveying the mood of the text. Quiet, lovely scenes of the forest are in contrast to the lively scenes of the children carrying out chores. An author's note fleshes out the details of this extraordinary woman's life. (Biography. 7-9)
From the Publisher
"Elegant phrasing and seamless narration complement pastel watercolors. The paintings are especially effective in conveying the mood of the text. Quiet, lovely scenes of the forest are in contrast to the lively scenes of the children carrying out chores." Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547561820
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/24/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 15 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him “a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies.” He lives in New York with his family.

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