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Fearless Mary
Cover of Fearless Mary
Fearless Mary
Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver
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A little-known but fascinating and larger-than-life character, Mary Fields is one of the unsung, trailblazing African American women who helped settle the American West. A former slave, Fields became the first African American woman stagecoach driver in 1895, when, in her 60s, she beat out all the cowboys applying for the job by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses. She won the dangerous and challenging job, and for many years traveled the badlands with her pet eagle, protecting the mail from outlaws and wild animals, never losing a single horse or package. Fields helped pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.
A little-known but fascinating and larger-than-life character, Mary Fields is one of the unsung, trailblazing African American women who helped settle the American West. A former slave, Fields became the first African American woman stagecoach driver in 1895, when, in her 60s, she beat out all the cowboys applying for the job by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses. She won the dangerous and challenging job, and for many years traveled the badlands with her pet eagle, protecting the mail from outlaws and wild animals, never losing a single horse or package. Fields helped pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.
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About the Author-
  • Tami Charles is a former teacher who now writes picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction for kids. She is the author of Like Vanessa. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Claire Almon lives in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to her illustration work, she does character design in animation.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2018
    Mary Fields, a woman and former slave, breaks barriers working as a stagecoach driver in 1895.Telegraphs and trains bring supplies and messages to Cascade, Montana, but to get through the mountains to St. Peter's Mission requires a stagecoach. The stagecoach driver also acts as guard against outlaws and wild animals; one needs to be "smart, tough, unshakable....Mary Fields is all of those things." Of course, no one believes that a woman, much less a former slave, can do this job. But Mary is determined to show the hiring manager that she can outperform any of the male candidates. She shows off her skills, and she gets the job, the first black woman in the country to do so. With her map- and star-reading skills, her trained eagle, her long gun, her courage, and her determination, Mary rides for eight years, into her 70s. Her bravery is remembered in Cascade, and now young readers can be inspired by it too. Charles does a fine job of shaping a suspenseful story from few historical details, inventing some dialogue and rearranging the timeline a bit, as she describes in her author's note. From the moment Mary rides into town, readers will be hooked. The illustrations, in hues of brown, green, and blue, successfully evoke the small, Western town and the mountains; the humans and animals have faces that display an animation aesthetic.A wild ride through an impressive bit of history. (Picture book. 4-9)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    PreS-Gr 2-This adventure-packed account set in 1895 Cascade, MT, centers on Mary Fields, a former slave and the first African American woman to drive a stagecoach. The author's note discusses the lack of available information on Fields-hence, the book reads more like a composite of Fields than a precise biography. Nonetheless, this story offers a much-needed correction to the often whitewashed history of the American West. Almon's full-color illustrations are soft, rounded, and appropriately child-friendly. VERDICT A worthy purchase for libraries serving young children and for classroom lessons on U.S. history, bravery, and overcoming adversity.-Kate Olson, Bangor School District, WI

    Copyright 1 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Albert Whitman & Company
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Fearless Mary
Fearless Mary
Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver
Tami Charles
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