Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Bravest Woman in America

The Bravest Woman in America

Marissa Moss
Illustrator:  Andrea U'Ren 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
Tricycle Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1582463698

Ida loves the sea in all its moods, so she is delighted when her father gets the job of lighthouse keeper. Every day, twice a day, he has to row out to Lime Rock, a small island in Newport Harbor to check on the light. Ida wants to go to the island with her father, who agrees to let her go if she will do the rowing.

Though the work is hard, and though Ida gets blistered hands and aching shoulders, she manages to row all the way to the island, and thereafter she goes out to Lime Rock with her father whenever she can. He teaches her how to take care of the light in the lighthouse, and as the years go by, Ida becomes a skilled and strong rower.

When Ida is fifteen, she and her family go to live on Lime Rock in the new house that was built there so that a lighthouse keeper can be on the island all the time. When her father gets too frail to man the light any more, Ida and her mother take over the job. Ida can not only man the light and row in high seas, but she knows what to do if she sees a ship that is in trouble. She never imagines that she will have to use this knowledge, because she has never seen her father save anyone, but it turns out that Ida is going to be called on to be “the bravest girl in America.”

Based on the true story of Ida Lewis, this picture book will show young readers that courage comes in many forms. Ida Lewis did what she thought was her duty, and she did not make a big fuss about it. In her lifetime, she saved at least eighteen lives, and she was awarded two medals for her heroic rescues at sea. She demonstrated that women can be just as brave as men at a time when many people thought women were delicate and not capable of such things.

An author’s note at the back of the book provides readers with further information about Ida Lewis’s life.