Lindsay Ward is back with another great story about women, vehicles, and their roles in history. Take a look at Jessie: Queen of the Road!
Beginning in the early twentieth century, Jessie is a young motorcycle – the only female motorcycle – riding down New York’s Riverside Drive, shrugging off the gasps of “unladylike!” and “Impossible!” Her determination and drive (pun intentional) lead her to accomplishments like summiting Pike’s Peak and crossing the United States, but she’s still turned down for World War I service: she’s still female. No problem! Meeting other female motorcycles, she goes on long rides and performs in stunt shows until an injury sidelines her. A group of Rosie the Riveter-like women put her back together, and this time, she’s accepted for service in World War II, carrying secret messages and classified documents. After a lifetime of service, Jessie is free to drive wherever she wants, knowing she’s made her place in history.
Inspired by adventuring women like Bessie Stringfield and the Van Buren Sisters, Jessie embraces women’s role in motoring history, embodying the women who laughed off claims of being “unladylike” and went joy riding on bicycles (it was a scandal!) or – GASP – motorcycles. Ward’s voice, told from Jessie’s point of view, is determined, steady, and strong, with the repetitive phrase “Fast and strong, I won’t be slowed! In rain for shine, I’ll forge my road” sending a positive, powerful message to readers. Mixed media illustrations move from color illustration to black and white photos, giving readers a sense of history; Ward beautifully captures the time shift from the 1910s to post-War America, the wonders of a cross-country road trip, and the excitement of a stunt show. Back matter includes an author’s note, a timeline of women and riding, and more resources for further reading.
I can’t wait to see what other vehicles are waiting to tell Lindsay Ward their stories.
Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel, Between the Lines, This Book Is Gray, Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.