Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0

Timely Biography of Social Pioneer

Following Jane Addams life from her well-to-do but uncomfortable childhood, we see that she was interested in helping the underprivileged from a young age. After going to college and traveling the world, Addams set up a settlement house in Chicago that was aimed to help immigrants. Named Hull House after the man who built the building, the organization provided language lessons, childcare, and help with employment.

Lauded by many, including Theodore Roosevelt, Addams could have just continued with her work with the poor, but the beginning of World War I gave her a new purpose. Staunchly opposed to the war, she formed the Women's Peace Party and came up with a twenty resolution plan to end the war. Derided as a silly woman who didn't understand such things, Addams was undaunted. She spoke out against the war, wrote letters, and even traveled to war-torn countries to help the children there. All of these activities damaged her reputation, but she didn't let it stop her from continuing to help people in need.

Good Points
Slade's simple explanations of Addams' activities are beautifully illustrated by Ratterree's watercolor illustrations. I particularly liked the repeated use of green material in all of Addam's dresses as the styles changed over the years; it lent a nice feeling of continuity.

The afterword gives a more in depth explanation of Addam's activities, and mentions that despite the public censure, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. There is also a timeline that includes not only Addams' activities, but a timeline of world events as well.

Dangerous Jane is a timely tale of a woman who saw a social need and filled it, even to the detriment of her own social standing. Addams is a great example to use to show young readers that everyone is able to make a difference and can make the world a better place. Add this to a collection of women's stories including the fictional Cooney's Miss Rumphius, as well as
Krull's Louisa May's Battle and biographies of more recent groundbreakers such as Krull's
No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Levy's I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.
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