Acquired Book By: In November  I received a request about the newest Ms Farrell release – for those of you who’ve been visiting with me for awhile, you might have recalled I previously read her “Fannie Never Flinched” release in  which was equally important for what it highlighted for young readers. I love reading empowering works of Non-Fiction which are highlighting hidden stories from History – this one felt as riveting as how I felt when I discovered the story within the film “Hidden Figures”. In many ways, I wish whilst I was in school they focused more on compelling stories like all of these and gave us a better living representation of History from multiple perspectives, cultural heritages and endeavour to make History lit more alive by the stories of the people who lived them. This is one reason I read a lot of Historical Fiction and why I look for Narrative Non-Fiction.
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Standing Up Against Hate from the publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
what i enjoyed about reading fannie never flinched:
We arrive in 1897 (so close to when my great-grandparents were alive themselves!) where the sad reality of girls working in sewing factories is brought to light. Those machines could be deadly or at the very least injurious to young girls whose fingers might not realise the strength of the mechanism they were working on. I flashed back to all the stories – in fiction and in film, where factories were exposed for their bad working habits and traditions. It was not hard to imagine this sequence of Fannie’s life – but for readers just becoming exposed to those harder truths of the historical past, the text and the photograph of all the ladies lined up in tight rows working past deprivation of sleep and hunger proves the point along.
Hers was a hard upbringing but an honest one, too. She was put to work as soon as she could earn her keep; such was the tradition of the era. It was nothing to be gone all day (hours past what a child should be expected to do) and without proper treatment or provisions for the labour given. By the time news was arriving about the insurrection in the industry to rise above the issues and draw attention to the rights women needed most, Fannie rose in a new confidence to seek out how to join the fight.
The historical photographs become the living testimony to strengthen the context – showing real women and real events along the passageway of Fannie’s life. Fannie’s life was one that began and continued in poverty; she simply never was given a chance to get a leg up on anything but was expected to do what was called upon her to get done. This is the era where women had little say, no respect and even had a risk taken against them to speak out against what was unfair. The moxie it must have taken for her to start to put together organisation towards bringing in change!
She became a natural bourne activist – travelling and speaking to as many people as she could who would listen to what she had to say. It did not surprise me she took heed of the plight of miners and their families – as their plight was similar to her own and those amongst her peers. They were given less rather than more, asked to work hard and were provided so little in return. Their families lived in squalor and could barely get by, hence why I think Fannie took a breath of strength to realise that her cause had multiple cross-applications! Working conditions were inhumane in more than one industry!
All whilst she tallied and worked tirelessly towards change, time was against her; as her family moved forward without her presence most of the time. Even in regards to the change she was seeking, it felt distant and unattainable due to the backlash she was getting from those who opposed her efforts. Her death was unnecessary and brutal – spoken with earnest disclosure in the end of the book. This biography is not for the sensitive reader – so if a child isn’t yet emotionally ready to read or listen to the story in full, I’d find a way to gloss over the harder chapters until they reach the point where they can handle all the details. Sometimes children can surprise us and handle more information than we think they can process but other times, too much information can lead to nightmares. Although all the facts are presented quite humbly, I might draw concern that they are a bit too pointed for more sensitive readers who might not want to know those exact details.
What shocked me the most is how she died and how her legacy was tucked underneath a rug so to speak. She never saw justice – not in life nor in death, except that the fight she participated in did yield eventually to better rights in labour laws but the price was so high, you feel sorry for Fannie in the end. How she believed so rightly in standing together and standing strong yet she had a faction of people who were blinded by hate and prejudice who took her out without so much as a passing regret or ounce of remorse. This is the saddest part of uncovering historical artifacts of humanity’s past – sometimes you find that such horrid things can happen in the midst of someone trying to right a wrong.
I commend the author for her tenacity and her dedication to tell Fannie’s story! She truly found the spirit of Fannie in her research and her pursuit of how to voice her living history! She should truly be honoured by what she was able to leave behind and to help safeguard the memory of Fannie forevermore!
-quoted from my review of Fannie Never Flinched
“I write about courage, courageous people, and I dive into each story trying to figure out the nature of their courage and where or how they got it.” – @MaryCronkFarrel (via @SLC_Online) https://t.co/CQUHOTN9wT pic.twitter.com/zeXuyqk3S8
— ABRAMS Kids (@abramskids) February 10, 2019
STANDING UP AGAINST HATE is the story of black women in the World War II Women’s Army Corps. They did not have civil rights nor the full protection of the law in America. Still, thousands signed up to serve their country and help fight the fascist regimes threatening democracy around the world.
As black WACs took up posts around the country they realized they would fight the enemy at home, long before they’d get a crack at the enemy abroad. At Fort Devens, Massachusetts, black WACs protested their unfair assignments to menial jobs that were never given to white WACs. Refusing to clean kitchens and scrub floors, they risked court martial and prison. Black women assigned to posts in the south feared for their lives traveling on buses and trains. Even their army uniforms did not protect them from assault and battery due to their skin color.
This book offers a much-need perspective on the lives of women of color in WWII America, some of the bravest and most adventurous women of their time. They interrupted careers, left home and loved ones, succeeded in jobs women had never done and stood up against racism and prejudice with dignity. African American WACs served with excellence, breaking barriers to make way for black women today who serve at the highest levels of the U.S. military.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Fannie Never Flinched
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
on 8th January, 2019
Format: Paperback ARC
Available Formats: Hardcover Edition
Converse via: #KidsLit, #BlackHistoryMonth + #NonFiction, #WomensRights
Read about what inspired this release on the author’s blog!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: