Post by njk on Feb 3, 2017 9:50:25 GMT -5
It takes a lot of courage to live life on your own terms. Especially when you're a woman and a former slave. Especially when you cuss and smoke and do a man's work. When you're six feet tall, two hundred pounds, and take no guff from nobody. But Mary Fields had courage to spare. She defied expectations, making her way to the Montana Territory in the 1880's, and into pioneer history as the first African American and second female to drive a mail delivery wagon for the fledgling U.S. Postal Service.
HEART LIKE A MONTANA SKY, MG narrative nonfiction, chronicles Mary's life from slave days to her years on the frontier. Her unlikely friendship with the head of the Ursuline Sisters of Toledo, Ohio, led Mary to undertake the extraordinary journey to Montana. There she helped build St. Peter's Mission for the education of Blackfeet children. After her sudden and unjust dismissal from the Mission, Mary took advantage of the relative openness of the West to take up stagecoach driving. For her hard-working ways, she enjoyed a special status among the white residents of her hometown. Yet, as an unconventional woman of color, Mary would always be something of an outsider, a reality she bore with strength and grace.
HLMS, fully completed, runs about 5,500 words. While the few books about Mary Fields written for young readers rely heavily on folklore, this books delves behind the myths to find the real woman, gently weaving into the narrative how race and gender shaped her experience. HLMS also offers plenty of frontier flavor and gives middle graders a sympathetic character to root for--an ordinary person who broke boundaries by being true to herself.
I am the author of The Whispering Rod, MG historical fiction, and a member of SCBWI.
Thanks for reviewing.