Kids are so often firefighter obsessed and I was thrilled to find this female-centric firefighting tale when Frances was a baby. We check it out of library on a regular basis! Dianne Ochiltree subtitles this book “The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter.” Molly Williams was a real person – the African-American servant of one of the volunteer firefighters with New York City’s Fire Company Number 11. Ochiltree did extensive research for this book, and this story is the one often told about Molly – how when, in the early 1800s, there was a fire call during a snowstorm & flu epidemic, Molly joined the male volunteers with the company to fight the fire. There is so much awesomeness in this book – a look at how fires were fought 200 years ago, a strong woman to cheer for, and a portrayal of an African-American woman during the early days of our country who was not a slave. Pick this one up!
First published in 1939, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes was a staple of my childhood and I’m working to make it a staple of Frances’. Sometimes when you reread books from your childhood, it’s this horrifying experience in which you realize how racist/sexist/awful the book actually is, but I’m here to tell you that The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is the opposite. It is more right on than you remember! A little country girl bunny dreams of growing up to be one of the five Easter bunnies, but the big white bunnies who live in fine houses and the long-legged Jack Rabbits all laugh at her. Sure enough, she grows up, gets married, has 21 babies (surprise!) and thinks her Easter bunny dreams will never cover true. But when one of the Easter bunnies retires, she takes her children to watch the younger, larger male bunnies compete. Pretty soon, the Country Bunny has proven to Grandfather Rabbit that she is wise, kind, fast and clever – just what he needs in an Easter Bunny. Not only is this a girl-power kind of tale, but it’s one of the only picture books I can think of that not only features, but totally celebrates a working mother.