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Children's LiteratureToward the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, America's imagination was fired with exploration, gold discovery and conquering of the West-by men. Danneberg writes about five remarkable women, who, as the author puts it, succeeded when female ambition was considered a flaw, not an asset. Jessie Benton Freemont married beneath her social station when she wed John Charles Fremont. When Congress appointed him to explore the area between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, Jessie wrote his reports, making them something that can be read with pleasure today. Louise Clappe lived with her physician husband in the gold mining area of Colorado and frontier San Francisco. Her letters home eventually became the Dame Shirley Letters, still in print. Mary Hallock Foote, woodcut artist and friends of famous writer/poets such as Longfellow, married her engineer husband with the condition that marriage would not interfere with her career. While her husband designed the layout of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, she illustrated then wrote about her experiences in California. Hellen Hunt Jackson traveled alone to Colorado for her health, met her husband who also promised to enable her writing career, then became a champion of Native Americans who were being cruelly resettled. Her Ramona has stood the test of time. Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, a Sioux, lived life torn between her Indian roots and White Man's world. She wrote Old Indian Legends for children, then turned her considerable writing talent to advocate Indian rights. Danneberg writes each biography as creative nonfiction, presenting snippets from many viewpoints to form a complete-and pleasurable-readabout each woman. Part of the "Notable Western Women" series, this important book should be handed to young adult readers for pleasure or school curriculum. Danneberg makes history come alive. 2003, Fulcrum Publishing, Ages 12 to Adult.
— Judy Crowder