Today's stack of books for Women's History Month introduced us to some American pioneers in their fields: a cookbook author, a leader in the business of sports (and civil rights), a dancer, and a librarian.
Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Aladdin, 2004.
The story of Fannie Farmer is told through the eyes of a little girl, the daughter of Fannie's employers, and how Fannie began writing down precise measurements for her recipes, in order to help the little girl learn to cook properly. Fannie Farmer, of course, pioneered the idea of using very exact measurements and instructions in cooking, writing a cookbook that remains in print today, as well as founding a cooking school. Click here to see a bit about the opening of the Fannie Farmer School of Cookery.
This book was well-written, informative, and features delightful illustrations, courtesy of the wonderful Nancy Carpenter. We enjoyed it very much!
Here is an interesting video for you. This is a video from Le Gourmet TV, "How to make Fannie Farmer's 1896 Brownie Recipe." By the way, there is no chocolate.
She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate. Balzer + Bray, 2010.
This is one of the most educational books we have read so far, this year, in that none of us had heard of Effa Manley. Effa Manley was the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. She met her husband, Abe Manley, at a Yankees game, and her husband involved her in the business of running his Negro League team, the Newark Eagles. Effa had a great head for business, as well as a true love of baseball. She worked hard to make sure her players and the league was taken care of. When baseball began to integrate, she was proud of her players, but spoke up on behalf of the Eagles and other Negro League teams, demanding compensation from the major leagues for the breaking of players' contracts. After the Negro League ended, she campaigned tirelessly for recognition for her players in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Years after her death, she herself was inducted into the hall of fame.
Here is the book trailer for She Loved Baseball.
And a video from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief with Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Gary Kelley. Viking, 1999.
Maria Tallchief was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, to an Osage father and Scotch-Irish mother. She would later become a prima ballerina, one of the great stars of twentieth century dance, but this book doesn't cover her career. Rather, it is a look at her childhood love of music and dance. Her parents had money, as the oil found on Osage land had made the Osage rich. While she and her sister studied dance and piano in Oklahoma, their ambitious mother felt they were being held back. The family moved to Los Angeles, where the sisters relearned to dance with their new, better teacher. When she was older, her parents made her choose between ballet and piano. She chose dance, because with dance she could still have the music. She became a student of Madame Nijinska, and when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo came to Los Angeles, she knew she wanted to lead that life someday. The book ends rather abruptly. The illustrations are lovely, and Tallchief's voice is strong throughout, but I wished the story had continued.
Maria Tallchief interviewed with excerpt's from George Balanchine's Firebird.
Maria Tallchief and Rudolf Nureyev in Flower Festival.
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough, illustrated by Debby Atwell. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013.
In the 19th century, children were not allowed in libraries. What few books there were for children were kept locked up in cabinets, for fear children would ruin them. Anne Carroll Moore planned to become a lawyer, like her father. She was a well-read, intelligent woman, and her father was prepared to help her succeed. Alas, her parents died, and Moore changed her plans. She went to school to become a librarian instead. Moore became the head children's librarian of the newly unified New York Public Library system, helping to change the way children were serviced by libraries across the country. The text is great, the illustrations are bright and interesting.
I already knew a bit about Anne Carroll Moore through Leonard S. Marcus's book Minders of Make-Believe. There is no denying the importance of what Moore did for libraries and children's literature in the twentieth century, but Moore was also a very harsh critic, heaping disdain upon a good many books that were destined to become classics. I highly recommend that book, by the way.
A book trailer by the Mooresville, IN Public Library.
We have many more books to read, and many more women's stories to learn. I have a few other things to throw in this month, but after losing a week of blogging, I'll probably be concentrating on Women's History Month through the end of March.