Heroism Begins with Her: Inspiring Stories of Bold, Brave, and Gutsy Women in the U.S. Military

Heroism Begins with Her: Inspiring Stories of Bold, Brave, and Gutsy Women in the U.S. Military


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For fans of Rad American Women A–Z, Rebel Girls, and Women Who Dared comes an inspiring collection of more than 80 profiles about the brave women in the US military who fought hard for their country and even harder for what they believed in.

From the Revolutionary War to present day, women have proudly served in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard as nurses, pilots, engineers, soldiers, and more. They dressed as men, worked for little pay and no benefits, and endured prejudice to break down barriers and earn their place beside their fellow servicemen. The achievements and courageous acts of these women forever changed the way the military operates!

From well-known women to unsung heroes, this beautifully illustrated book tells incredible, captivating tales of gutsy women like Margaret Corbin, Harriet Tubman, Tammy Duckworth, and countless others.

And it will prove just one thing: Women really can do anything!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Conkling shares stories of women who served in the U.S. military from the Revolutionary War to the present. Biographies examine how each came to serve while providing historical context. Individuals include Cathay Williams, who grew up enslaved and was “the first known African American woman to dress as a man and enlist in the army,” and Army nurses Edith Ayres and Helen Wood, the first enlisted women to die in the line of duty during WWI. Individuals with behind-the-scenes roles include mathematician Grace Hopper, who invented a programming language, and African-American reverend Alice M. Henderson, the first female chaplain. Graphics include photographs and illustrated images of the women, along with occasional spot art. A focused look at the long history of women who served their country. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (July)


An important and comprehensive resource. A book to dip in and out of, readers will enjoy the thoroughness of this book. A must-have for all library collections.


An important and comprehensive resource. A book to dip in and out of, readers will enjoy the thoroughness of this book. A must-have for all library collections.

School Library Journal


Gr 7–10—Conkling engages readers from beginning to end with her collective biography that features women from each major military conflict in U.S. history. Each chapter begins with an essay, in which the author contextualizes the historical period and the war or wars prior to that section's biographies. Conkling's brief biographical sketches, accompanied by Kuo's illustrated portraits, cover each woman's early life, her military career, and her death (if applicable). Organized alphabetically by their last name, the profiles include women of color and Indigenous women. Conkling writes dignified profiles of each subject, from Harriet Tubman to Navy WAVES Harriet Pickens and Frances Wills, illuminating their determination in spite of the limitations they faced. Kuo's illustrations, along with paintings, drawings, and photographs, fittingly align with the text. Back matter includes details about the branches of the military, rank for commissioned and non-commissioned officers by branch, and notable milestones for women in the military. Choppy sentences detract from the flow of a few profiles. The firsts achieved by the women can be hard for readers to conceptualize, considering that firsts occurred in all branches of the military. VERDICT Conkling whets readers' appetites to learn more about women and U.S. military history. This title is well suited for public and middle school libraries and could be paired with the young readers' edition of Liza Mundy's Code Girls or Ryan Ann Hunter's In Disguise: Undercover with Real Women Spies.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

Kirkus Reviews

Throughout the history of the Unites States, brave women have chosen to serve in the armed forces, at first in secret but more recently achieving very visible success and responsibility.

Conkling provides brief, accurate biographies—often a couple of pages long—of 72 women who have served, divided chronologically with an emphasis on the periods of America's wars. At first, there are, of course, few women to focus on; those that served in early wars were often disguised as men, and few are well documented. When available, each biography includes a photograph or Kuo's neat drawing of the woman, information about her childhood and education, highlights of her service, a list of medals awarded to her, and a notation of her cause and date of death. Some of the tales are broken up by sidebars, but these are rarely long enough to be disruptive and provide interesting additional details. As the text moves into the modern era and the number of biographies per section grows, however, the repetitive format becomes increasingly tedious. While all the women merit attention, only steadfast readers are likely to last until the end, perhaps making this volume best suited to readers who like to dip in and out. However, it's rewarding to see—in such detail—how women's duties and responsibilities in the military have grown over time. The biographees are a nice mixture of various races. Excellent backmatter, including a timeline and chart of ranks, rounds out this effort.

An in-depth examination for a motivated audience or dedicated browsers. (Collective biography. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062847416
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 782,090
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews