Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Women of Hope: African Americans who made a difference

Women of Hope: African Americans who made a difference

Joyce Hansen
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic, 2007   ISBN: 978-0590939744

Most of us have heard of John Glenn, Amelia Earhart, Roald Amundsen, Florence Nightingale, Edmund Hilary, Martin Lither King Jr., and the Wright brothers. These are heroes, men and women whose names are known around the world. There are other heroes however whose names are not as well known and yet who have made enormous contributions to the world. In this book the author celebrates the lives and the work of twelve remarkable African American women who have made a difference in their communities, who have helped in the civil rights movement, and who have given a great deal to the world’s of music, literature, sports, the media, education, and more.

Joyce Hansen begins with Ida B. Well-Barnett, who was born in 1862 when slavery was still dividing the country. When she was still very young Ida’s parents died and Ida took on the formidable task of providing for her five siblings. She became a teacher and she also decided that she had to fight against segregation; she had to do something when she saw that injustice was being done. Ida went on to become a formidable writer and she gave many speeches in which she attacked those who stood by when helpless black people were lynched by white mobs. Even when her own life was threatened, Ida continued to speak out and to demand that African Americans should be given the same rights as white American citizens.

The author then goes on to describe the lives of the Delaney sisters, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ella Josephine Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Marian Wright Edelman, Alice Walker, Alexa Canady, and Mae C. Jemison. Each biography includes some of the person’s words in a quotation and a wonderful black and white photograph which captures the strength and the beauty of its subject.

This book is a splendid tribute to women who would not take no for an answer and whose courage and creativity has made the world a better place for all of us.