Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The Story of the First Women's Cross-Country Road Trip

by Sarah Glenn Marsh ; illustrated by Gilbert Ford

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-250-29702-0
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

If a man can do it, a woman can, too!

In 1909, Alice Ramsey, an early—and uniquely female—adopter of the automobile, was asked by a carmaker to drive from New York to California in order to show that his cars “were so well built and easy to operate that even a lady could drive one safely.” Dedicated and excited, she and three friends set off on a tumultuous road trip of nearly 4,000 miles (many of them unpaved) in a vehicle of the time that lacked most of the conveniences and many of the safety measures we are familiar with today and became the first woman to drive across the country. Full of relevant detail and steeped in mild suspense, this tale provides accessible historical context in terms of women’s rights and roles as well as information about the development of the automobile in the endnotes. While driving cross country to advertise for a manufacturer may not qualify as the most important achievement in women’s history, this kid-friendly selection shows the power of resilience and determination, presents an interest and accomplishment that runs counter to gender stereotypes, and will draw in those interested in cars, history, and/or women’s rights with its straightforward yet energetic text and stylized illustrations.

A fine choice that showcases a strong woman inspired to succeed.

(author’s note, bibliography, map) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)