I love the chance to share some great picture books with the community at Kid Lit Frenzy. Stop by the site every week for wonderful nonfiction picture books!
Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud
Published February 18th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2014)
ISBN 0374316996 (ISBN13: 9780374316990)
Ellen Prentiss’s papa said she was born with saltwater in her veins, so he gave her sailing lessons and taught her how to navigate. As soon as she met a man who loved sailing like she did, she married him. When her husband was given command of a clipper ship custom-made to travel quickly, she knew that they would need every bit of its speed for their maiden voyage: out of New York City, down around the tip of Cape Horn, and into San Francisco, where the Gold Rush was well under way. In a time when few women even accompanied their husbands onboard, Ellen Prentiss navigated their ship to set the world record for speed along that route.
If you haven't noticed from many of my other posts and book reviews, I am a HUGE fan of biographies that highlight the lives of women in history. I believe that we shouldn't relegate women's studies to "women's history month"... but I'm also happy that March gives us an extra chance to highlight the triumphs and struggles that 50% of the population have had on this planet.
I loved this story about Ellen. Her love of the sea, and her father's love for her, shine through on every page. I'd like to believe that if I were born in a time when women weren't seen as capable of doing whatever they wanted that my own father would have been much like this (my dad rocks, and he totally would have).
The vocabulary is rich, filled with sextants, chronometers, schooners, and calculations. The illustrations are gorgeous, showcasing the ocean in every type of weather. Love of the sea is evident on every single page. Ellen's passion for sailing, and for proving herself worthy to do a "man's job" filled my heart with glee.
Get this book for your classroom. Display it proudly during women's history month. Showcase it during geography units to talk about her path around Cape Horn. Bring it out during weather units to illustrate how storms impacted travel. Leave it out all year round, because it's a wonderful story.