When you head to the library or bookstore this weekend with the kiddos, keep an eye out for The Bravest Woman in America by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Andrea U’Ren. From sixteen to sixty-three Ida Lewis saved between eighteen and twenty-five lives as part of her position as the unofficial and official lighthouse keeper at Lime Rock. She loved the sea, and this is her story.
Young Ida Lewis loved everything about the sea so when her father was given a job as lighthouse keeper she was in. From the beginning she begged to go with him to check on the light. He said if she could pull her weight then she could come. She heaved and ho’ed and puffed and pulled and stubbornly persisted until she moved the oars successfully to their destination. After that she went with him every opportunity she had and learned everything she could. When her father got sick, Ida knew she had the skills to handle the responsibilities. At sixteen she handled her first rescue and would continue at the lighthouse for thirty-nine years. She received a couple honors for her efforts and met with military officials and Presidents. She was known as “the Bravest Woman in America.” Perhaps for her skills at sea or her pioneering accomplishments for women?
Vivid illustrations and clear language compliment Ida’s story. Lighthouse keeper would not be a field I would naturally explore for women’s barrier-breaking work, but The Bravest Woman in America makes it clear that it should be and was.