Friday, September 30, 2016

Biographies of Strong Girls

I love stories about strong girls. Here are two that are true ~ one about a pilot, one about a baseball legend.

 theme: biography, nonfiction 

Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and her flying machine
by Heather Lang; illus. by Raul Colon
40 pages; ages 5-8
Calkins Creek, 2016

Who can resist a story that begins, "The loop ... the spiral dive ... the dip of death!" coupled with the drawings of biplanes careening through the air.

 What I like about the book: Ruth is an independent woman with a dream: to fly her plane across the country. The year is 1916 and people say it can't be done by a woman. But if anyone can do it, Ruth can. She added gas tanks, installed metal guards to protect her legs from the frigid wind, and gathered her maps. Then one dark November morning she took off.

I like the occasional quotes from Ruth: "When your engine suddenly stops while you're 2,000 feet in the air, it's some comfort to know that if anything can be done, you can do it." I like that there's back matter: more about Ruth, a bibliography, resources, and source notes for the quotes.

Explore beyond the book with this video of Ruth Law in her flimsy flying machine.
Check out Ruth's "pilot story" from the Smithsonian's Postal Museum collection.

The Kid from Diamond Street: the extraordinary story of baseball legend Edith Houghton
by Audrey Vernick; illus. by Steven Salerno
40 pages; ages 4-7
Clarion Books, 2016

Edith Houghton used to say, "I guess I was born with a baseball in my hand," and if you'd seen little Edith playing in the 1920's, you'd probably have believed it. 

It didn't matter that there was no such thing as Little League - if there was a sandlot game going on anywhere near her house, she'd be in the middle of it. Edith was so good that she was playing professional baseball at the age of ten!

What I like about the book: It's a fun read of American history and a tale of women's professional baseball. Edith had to roll up the waistband of her Philadelphia Bobbies pants to make 'em fit, but she was passionate about the game. The book takes us on their trip to Japan (the principal agreed that Edith would get more out of this "field trip" than staying in her classes).

Go beyond the book and listen to an interview with Edith Houghton here.
And check out a wonderful photo and story about Edith in the Philadelphia Inquirer  here

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies provided by publishers.


  1. Hurray for stories about strong girls! These both sound fantastic. Wow -- Edith was playing professional baseball by the age of 10. I'm going to check both of these out and read them with my daughter.

  2. Oh. I love the story about Ruth Law. it sounds like a super book. Adding it to my TBR list now! Thanks.

  3. These sound terrific. Strong girl stories are so important. Thanks for telling me about these.

  4. Love these mighty girl stories, Sue. And I hadn't heard about the first one...will try to get a copy ASAP.

  5. Why did Ruth Law pick November for her flight?! Brrrrr.
    I have read that book and loved it. I'm in awe. Thanks for the tip on Audrey's picture book. I know a baseball loving girl...

    1. November seems awfully chilly! I'd have picked early September...