Just in time for Fire Prevention Month (October), author Dianne Ochiltree offers a vibrant picture book portrait of the brave but heretofore unsung heroine Molly Williams, this country's first female firefighter.
In Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter (Calkins Creek), it's winter 1818, and most of the volunteer firefighters of New York City's Fire Company 11 are out of commission with influenza. When the fire bells ring, Molly Williams, the company's African American cook, leaps into action, donning colonial firefighting gear, helping to pull the pumper wagon through a blizzard to the blaze, even manning the bucket brigade and the hose. “Molly, by golly, you’re as fine a fire lad as any!” the amazed fire captain ultimately proclaims.
In my October children's market column at Authorlink.com, Ochiltree shares how she reconstructed Molly's colorful tale using historic records and pictures and consulting with firefighting experts. Be sure to stop by her website, as well, www.ochiltreebooks.com.
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation