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Children's Nonfiction Women

Terrific Women Teachers

by (author) Helen Wolfe

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2013
Women, School & Education
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 8
  • Reading age: 9 to 13


The most memorable teachers are often our role models, who taught by example. Terrific Women Teachers, the seventeenth installment in Second Story Press’ Women’s Hall of Fame Series, captures the lives of ten inspirational women who will energize educators and students alike. These women fought for better educational systems and believed everyone, regardless of gender or physical ability, deserved an equal opportunity to improve themselves. Each of them made a difference in the lives of their students and gave them the joy of learning. Two of the women profiled are Maria Montessori and Annie Sullivan. At the turn of the last century Montessori became the first female doctor in Italy, and after working with disabled children she founded the Montessori method of self-directed learning. Montessori schools are still popular all over the world, with more than 3,000 in the United States alone. Annie Sullivan, the “miracle worker,” is paired in her chapter with her pupil Helen Keller. Annie found the bridge for Helen and other deaf and blind individuals to communicate with the world. Other teachers profiled in this inspiring collection are Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher who lost her life in the space shuttle Challenger disaster; Onesime Dorval, a Native Metis educator; Denise Fruchter, a special education teacher with tourettes syndrome; Malalai Joya, who campaigned for girls’ education in Afghanistan; Raden Ayu Kartini, who campaigned for the education of women in Indonesia; Erin Gurswell, founder of Freedom Writers; Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who taught art in the Terezin Ghetto during WWII; and Marva Collins, an African American teacher dedicated to improving schools in US cities.

About the author

Helen Wolfe’s career spanned over forty years in publishing, social work and education. Her extensive teaching experience was in special education, history, English, guidance and English as a Second Language. For almost thirty years her work focussed on helping ESL adults to achieve their potential. Helen has also authored over thirty teacher’s guides to accompany books and a documentary for students for all levels and ages, with a particular focus on Holocaust literature and education. In 2011, Second Story Press published her first non-fiction chapter book for young readers entitled, “Terrific Women Teachers."


Helen Wolfe's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Terrific Women Teachers (Women’s Hall of Fame)

The latest books in The Women’s Hall of Fame Series introduce us to some familiar and not-so-familiar teachers and journalists. Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan, Maria Montessori and Christa McAuliffe are teachers whose work and lives are well known. Their contributions, not only to the teaching profession but also to the idea of life-long learning, are an inspiration to many. Other teachers, whose lives are not so well documented, have also motivated children and adults to grow and flourish, often in discouraging circumstances. Onesime Dorval was a Métis Quebecois who was a pioneering teacher in French and English in Saskatchewan. Raden Kartini was an Indonesian woman living at the end of the nineteenth century. She had a hunger for knowledge and freedom. While her life was short-lived, she paved the way for the education of girls in her country. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis worked with children at the Terezin concentration camp, including Hana Brady (of Hana’s Suitcase). Marva Collins, a black teacher in Chicago, and Erin Gruwell, a teacher in Los Angeles, are two others who continue to educate and inspire children around the world.

Journalism can be an exciting, glamorous, tough and often dangerous profession, especially for women. The journalists profiled here are, indeed, fearless. Mary Ann Shadd Cary was the first black woman journalist in Canada and she spoke out on slavery and other issues. Nellie Bly took bravery to new heights by pretending to be insane and spending two weeks in a mental institution and then writing about the experience, and also by taking a solo journey around the world in 80 days after the Jules Verne book. Canada’s Doris Anderson and Barbara Frum were strong voices in the feminist movement of the late twentieth century. Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist who covered the Russian war in Chechnya, was gunned down in 2006 for trying to tell the truth about Russia’s involvement there.

These are two well-written and compelling books about important historical and contemporary women. This is a great series that should continue to find a place in every school collection.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2011. Volume 34 No. 3.

Other titles by Helen Wolfe