Cover image for Girls : a history of growing up female in America
Girls : a history of growing up female in America
Colman, Penny.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Reference, [2000]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Traces the history of growing up female in America as told by the girls themselves in journals, household manuals, letters, slave narratives, and other primary sources.
Reading Level:
1020 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.4 6.0 53627.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.7 9 Quiz: 20274 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ798 .C567 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ798 .C567 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ798 .C567 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Drawing on eyewitness accounts, diaries, letters, memoirs, household manuals, advice books, and photographs, "Girls" chronicles the stories of females growing up in America from pre-colonial days to the present and highlights their spirit, courage, and contributions.

Author Notes

Penny Colman is a widely published author of books, essays, stories, and articles. She is an educator, a lecturer, and a consultant

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Colman has set a big task for herself--chronicling the history of girls in America--but she succeeds quite well. She both generalizes and personalizes the story, facilitating the latter by using diaries, memoirs, letters, magazine articles, and other documentation to describe what girlhood has been like since the country's inception. An introductory chapter considers gender in general, and how boys and girls deal with the roles society assigns to them. Colman then discusses how the first girls came to America--across the Bering Strait, or in leaky ships, or brought by slave traders. She performs a successful juggling act throughout, showing what life was like for Native American girls, white girls, and girls of color. By folding individual stories into the parade of historical events, she also gives readers a sense of U.S. history. The text is most alive when it uses the girls' own voices--for example, 11-year-old Harriet Hanson's description of her part in protests at the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. The book is occasionally bogged down by names and dates, but overall, the prose is strong. The art, which includes numerous portraits, is less than compelling. The typeface is a very good size, however, making the book inviting. There is an extended bibliography, but only a few Web sites are mentioned in the body of the text. --Ilene Cooper

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A fascinating look at a seldom-studied topic. The bulk of the book explores the roles of girls (and women) in Native American society, Colonial communities, and up through modern times. The author includes some general discussion of societal structures, social movements, and historical events but much of the information is conveyed through descriptions of the lives and deeds of individuals. Among the girls included are pioneers, former slaves, mill workers, children of farmers, and immigrants. They often speak for themselves through excerpts from letters, diary entries, and published memoirs. Black-and-white period photographs and reproductions are included along with occasional portraits. The layout is particularly pleasing, with plenty of white space and frequent illustrations. An index lists names, places, works cited, and general topics; the list for further reading is extensive. The author's thorough research, inclusiveness, and accessible style make this book an essential resource for libraries serving young people.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.