Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven Brave Women

Hearne, Betsy. Seven Brave Women. Ill. by Bethanne Andersen. New York: Greenwillow, 1997.  (ages 4-8)
A young girl tells the story of her female ancestors. They did not fight in wars like the men did, but they all had some achievement of which she could be proud. The stories are told in a manner in which a child would enjoy. The biggest problem that I have is with the timeline for the ancestors. For a young girl reading this book in 1997, it is more likely that a female ancestor living in the Revolutionary War era would have been a 5 or 6 great grandmother rather than a 3 great grandmother. It is more likely that the female ancestor living during the War of 1812 would have been a 4 or 5 great grandmother rather than a 2 great grandmother. The 20th century generations are closer to reality in terms of their relationship to the child. Some of the illustrations were better than others in the story. My favorite illustration is probably the one of the Mennonite ancestor crossing the Atlantic with her children. It is perhaps not a very realistic illustration and glamorized the trip, but it was a beautiful one. This is a book that could be used with children to show that although there are fewer records for female ancestors, they still played important roles in the family. If the child is old enough to understand the problems with the timeline, I would discuss that problem with the child. It might be a useful book for discussing how some published trees sometimes leave out a generation or two.

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