Cover image for Real American girls tell their own stories
Real American girls tell their own stories
Hoobler, Dorothy.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
104 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Selections from autobiographical material written by American girls including one who lived in the colony of Virginia in 1756 and another who lived in the early 1950s.
Reading Level:
010 & up.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.7 2.0 34746.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ777 .R43 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ777 .R43 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Open this book to all the joys and troubles, the triumphs and disappointments, of being an American girl. Here is the chance to read selections from private diaries and look at the portraits of real girls across two centuries. From best friends to boyfriends, hair problems to homework problems, it seems there will always be some things only girls can understand.Maybe you'll be surprised at how similar these girls' diaries are to your own. They took walks in the woods and read novels, had trouble learning English as a second language, wrote essays about George Washington for history class, experienced their first kisses and first periods, and struggled to prove they were just as good as boys.But you'll probably also find that a lot of things were very different for girls who lived a century or more ago. For instance, have you ever named your bedposts after boys you like? Is the word pants considered improper at your school? Do you wear a skate key around your neck on a string, or shop for calico at a dry goods store?In these excerpts and images, girls of all ages will find surprises and revelations and meet some new friends along the way. Here are American girls from a vast array of backgrounds: wealthy and poor, from urban and rural areas, both famous and not-so-famous. Be there as they share friendships, school days, get into mischief, have fun, fall in love, and become real American women.

Author Notes

Thomas Hoobler is a historian and childrens book author of over sixty books, both fiction and nonfiction, mostly for young readers. He and his wife Dorothy are the authors of the well-loved American Family Album series, including The Japanese American Family Album, which was named a Carter G. Woodson Honor Book in 1997. The Hooblers won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2005 for In Darkness, Death.

The Society for School Librarians International chose their book Showa: The Era of Hirohito for a best book award in 1991, and they have been cited for excellence by the Library of Congress, the Parents' Choice Foundation, Bank Street College, the International Reading Association, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the New York Public Library.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Librarians lamenting the lack of alternatives to the fictionalized historical diary will appreciate this latest offering from two respected historical writers. Using excerpts from private diaries and autobiographies, the Hooblers acquaint contemporary readers with a wide range of young American women. The diarists represent a variety of ethnic groups, economic levels, and lifestyles, but what stands out is the girls' similar concerns and childhood universals. Selections are presented thematically (friendship, school, misbehavior, leisure activities, boys, and becoming a woman), with settings ranging from colonial Virginia in 1756 to San Francisco in the 1950s. The Hooblers briefly introduce each selection and provide source notes at the back of the book. Several well-chosen period photos help clarify the text and make for an appealing format. This will be the perfect antidote for readers who have overdosed on serialized historical fiction; it's also a good choice for writing and history classes emphasizing primary sources. --Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This haphazard volume collects diaries, letters and memoirs of American girls from 1756 to the early 1950s into thematic chapters ("Best Friends," "School Days," "Becoming a Woman," etc.). Erratic, brief essays preceding each entry give spotty biographical information about the girls who wrote them, and in a few cases, whom they became. However, these introductions do not clarify practices that may seem foreign, such as the custom of receiving callers and gifts on New Year's Day in the 1850s, or potentially even disturbing to readers, such as an unexplained Winnebago custom that a menstruating girl must sequester herself from the rest of the tribe because she is considered "unclean." Readers will likely enjoy discovering the excerpt of Louisa May Alcott's childhood diary as she confides her ambitions and Clara Barton's memory of a skating accident that may have inspired her career in nursing. While there are some real gems buried here, including the hilarious mouse dissection and "experiments" of Martha Carey Thomas (later a founder of Bryn Mawr College), readers may not take the time to pluck them from among the hodgepodge of entries. Contemporaneous photographs place many of the excerpts in a historical context but seem to bear little relation to the subjects themselves. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-A slim, inviting book with six first-person accounts (diary entries, one letter, autobiographies) from various American girls between the years 1756-1950. Excerpts are carefully chosen to reveal what life was like for an interesting assortment of young people across the country, wealthy and poor, across the decades. Words are misspelled, sentences are incomplete, and personalities shine through. Black-and-white photos and reproductions of the various periods are included, but individuals are not identified. The themes are on target for today's readers: friendships, boys, school, home life. Above all, this reveals how universal girls' emotions can be and also how much times can change. An excellent introduction to American social history, particularly for readers who enjoy first-person accounts.-Linda Beck, Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Best Friends
Chapter 2 School Days
Chapter 3 In Trouble
Chapter 4 Just Having Fun
Chapter 5 Boys
Chapter 6 Becoming a Woman