Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ladies First: 40 daring American women who were second to none

Ladies First: 40 daring American women who were second to none

Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
For ages 12 and up
National Geographic Children's Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0792253938

In today's world women are doing all kinds of remarkable things. They are doctors, CEO's of big companies, great athletes, and politicians. However, this was not always the case. In the past women were often not allowed, by laws and by society, to extend themselves beyond their domestic roles as mothers and wives. Thankfully for women today, there were women back then who were not willing to have their skills, their dreams, and their creativity suppressed. Instead, these women broke through the barriers that were placed around them and proved to the world that women can do anything that they put their minds to.

In this book we celebrate the lives and achievements of forty of America's women. These women defied social mores and they were the first to break down barriers in their respective fields. On the pages we meet athletes like Katherine Switzer, who insisted that she had the right to run the Boston Marathon. There are social reformers like Jane Addams who built America's first truly successful organization that helped the poor and the disenfranchised. There are artists and musicians like Olga Samaroff Stokowski who was the first American woman to debut at Carnegie Hall, and Georgia O'Keeffe who was the first woman to give a retrospective exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art. There are women like Brenda Berkman who refused to allow anyone to tell her that she could not do the job she wanted to do. In Berkman's case she wanted to work in the Fire Department of New York City and she faced, and still faces, considerable opposition as she insists that she has a right to be there.

This well written book is very informative, and it also shows young women that there really is nothing that they can't do if they are determined enough to do it. The book's message is a powerful and empowering one, and one can only hope that it is a message that many young women will be able to take away with them.