Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Women

Van Buren Sisters vs. the Pants Police, The

by (author) J.F. Fox

illustrated by Anna Kwan

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
May 2023
Women, General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3
  • Reading age: 5 to 8


A true story about two sisters, four wheels and hordes of angry fashion police!

Addie and Gussie Van Buren were raised by their father to be confident, competitive and not much concerned with stuffy opinions about what women can and can't do. So, when World War I broke out in Europe, the sisters believed women should be able to join the fight. To prove that women would make excellent battlefield messengers, they decided to drive their motorbikes across the country, dressed sensibly in leather coats and pants. Only, this was 1916, and women didn't ride motorbikes. And women certainly did not wear pants! Despite being stopped repeatedly for wearing “men's” clothing, the Van Buren sisters showed that “woman can, if she will”!

Part of the Head-to-Head History series, this irreverently told, inspiring story by J. F. Fox showcases one of the many battles in the history of the women's movement. This thrilling story continues to delight people today, including the descendants of the Van Buren sisters who commemorate their accomplishments by re-creating the iconic ride with dozens of other women bikers. This highly readable book adds historical context with notes at the back of the book, and a glossary and bibliography expand the content and help promote inquiry-based learning. Historical details are incorporated into Anna Kwan's illustrations, which use comic-style speech bubbles and plenty of humor to keep the tone fun and lively.

About the authors

J. F. Fox is the author of the Head-to-Head History series, featuring quirky showdowns from the past. The first title, Napoleon vs. the Bunnies, was recently referenced in a question on Celebrity Jeopardy! A former editor at Lee & Low Books, she has ghostwritten over seventy books for children and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two sons.

J.F. Fox's profile page

ANNA KWAN is an illustrator from Toronto, Ontario. She studied illustration at OCAD University where she drew comics and funny pictures, but didn't imagine it would lead her to illustrate children's books. She enjoys eating snacks, and is always happy to pet-sit when asked.


Anna Kwan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

... an enjoyable storytime.—Kirkus Reviews (Praise for Napoleon Vs. the Bunnies)

A fun choice to round out picture book biography shelves, especially where titles on little-known women in history are needed.—School Library Journal

A lesser-known tale that will remind readers of Amelia Earhart, the inspiring story coupled with the curmudgeonly laws will educate young readers as well as keep them on the edge of their seats.—BookList

Historical drama with a comical twist.—Booklist (Praise for Napoleon Vs. the Bunnies)

It is not just history but a story that shows no matter what the world says, if an idea is going to change the world, then there will always be a way to make it happen.—Children's Literature

Plenty of humor and captivating historical facts combine in this delightful new picture book celebrating two pioneers who proved women can do whatever they dream of.—A Mighty Girl

Other titles by

Other titles by

Related lists