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By the time Anna Howard Shaw was barely twelve years old, she had crossed the stormy Atlantic (one and a half times), survived a grueling journey from Massachusetts to the unexplored woods of Michigan, and helped create a house and home in the middle of nowhere. By most measures, Anna Howard Shawâ€™s life was hard and filled with struggle.
But a life in the North American wilderness also had many pleasures. Anna was young, happy, and strong. What Anna didnâ€™t have was school.
With incredible fortitude and purpose, not only did Anna go on to teach school herself, she also accomplished a great many other things, including helping to win the right to vote for women. With his magical storytelling and radiant artwork, Don Brown welcomes us into the pioneer life of a most extraordinary woman.
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Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies." He lives in New York with his family.From Publishers Weekly:
Focusing on another intrepid woman from the past, Brown (Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa; Ruth Law Thrills a Nation) offers an anecdotal account of the life of Shaw, who is perhaps best known for her work as a suffragette. Her family emigrates to the U.S. from England in the mid-19th century and settles in Massachusetts. Yet Anna's father "believed a better life awaited the family in the West"; he and his son James travel to the wilds of Michigan to build a rudimentary cabin, which Anna and her siblings later make habitable. Weaving into his narrative Shaw's words from her 1915 autobiography, Brown explains how she takes charge after her father and James return east; she digs a well, plants crops, etc. As a young woman, she works as a teacher and seamstress, enrolls in college and later becomes a minister, then a doctor careers that Brown notes women "were discouraged from entering at the time." A concluding author's note fleshes out Shaw's story, while ironically emphasizing certain events more than those covered in the chronicle. Most notably, the narrative's minimal mention of Shaw's work for the women's suffrage movement does little to support the idea of these efforts as "her life's work," as Brown describes them in his afterword. Ultimately, this intriguing portrait of a true pioneer, with softly focused pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that underscore the barren Michigan landscape, may well ignite further reading on Shaw. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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