Born on the Idaho frontier, Florence James was a New York City suffragette. The first to put Jimmy Cagney on stage, she founded both the Negro Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Repertory Playhouse. She worked with Francis Farmer, Paul Robson, and Helen Hayes, but her views on art and politics and her choice of plays led to a clash with the Un-American Activities Committee. In the wake of two Kafkaesque trials, where she condemned her persecutors as liars, she fled to Canada and kick-started professional theatre in Saskatchewan, the home to North America’s first socialist government.
Vital and inspiring, Florence of America is a story of one woman speaking truth to power.
"An amazing story of achievement, heartbreak, and endurance...But above all, it is a moving and powerful cautionary tale of what can happen, at any time of any age, when, in [Arthur] Miller's words, a whole world begins to cry 'spirits.'" —Moira Day, Department Head of Drama, University of Saskatchewan
About the authors
Florence Bean James (1892-1988) was an influential and progressive figure in American theatre and the co-founder of the Seattle Repertory Playhouse (now the University of Washington's Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse). She moved to Canada in the 1950s and was instrumental in the founding of the acclaimed Globe Theatre in Regina.
Jean Freeman loves sharing laughter with children, so she likes to tell funny stories. Jean is an actor as well as a storyteller, and for six seasons she played the mayor's grandma in the popular Canadian TV comedy series Corner Gas, and again in Corner Gas: The Movie. Do Trees Sneeze? is her fourth early-reader book with Val Lawton, following Where Does Your Dog Sleep?, Where Does Your Cat Nap? and Wascana Wild Goose Chase. Also look for Terror on Turtle Creek, an adventure story for slightly older readers.