The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today by The Children's War

Dutton Children's Books 
(pub. 10.14.2010)
32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

              and Illustrator: SCOTT DAWSON

C haracter: Louise Smith, race car driver

O verview from book flap:
     "When Louise Smith started to race cars, most girls weren't even allowed to drive. Her first wild adventure behind the wheel of her daddy's Model T Ford taught her the thrill of driving fast and the freedom that comes from fearlessly following your heart... 
     Scott Dawson's dynamic paintings capture all the energy and excitement of Barb Rosenstock's text. Together they bring life to one of the true legends in car racing history."

T antalizing taste:
     "Louise drove for eleven years.  She won thirty-eight times.  She was the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame - forty-three years after she stopped racing.
     As Louise got old, walking got harder, but driving never did.  Wearing rhinestone bifocals, sparkly earrings, and hair piled high on her head, Louise pushed her sedan to the limit ...

and something more:  FEARLESS is another picture book biography to celebrate  Women's History Month.   Louise Smith stopped racing cars for the same reason Tillie Anderson stopped racing bikes (as I talked about in my post about the picture book biography, Tillie the Terrible Swede): women were banned from racing. 
      Barb Rosenstock writes in the Author's Note that "Louise was not only the only woman at the track on those wild summer nights, but there were very few... From the mid-1950s until the mid-1970s, women were banned from the track on the grounds that it was too dangerous for them.  Some still raced in ladies races at small tracks around the country, but usually women were allowed to participate only as beauty queens." 
     It's another reason we need to celebrate Women's History Month -- to remember these women who were pioneers in their fields, but were then banned from pursuing their passion.

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