(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Stories of the brave and the famous intrigue everyone, but they are particularly appealing to youth. As a biographical work for young adults, Dreams into Deeds presents nine heroes worthy of emulation and has many hallmarks of an outstanding biography. As is evident from their preliminary remarks, the authors have a remarkable interest in their subject matter. In the preface, Peavy and Smith explain their fascination with the concept that behind each famous woman was a little girl who first had a dream about who or what she wanted to become. They also hasten to point out, however, that dreams are only the beginning and must be turned into action. The authors admire the stories of these nine famous women.

Subjects for the biographies were not chosen randomly, but were selected from among those women featured in the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. The authors’ approach shows respect for the social consciousness and skill of women who were first dreamers and then doers. Peavy and Smith align themselves with the attitudes of the women themselves in reporting the deeds that typified them. For example, the authors chose examples from the lives of each of the women that highlight their chief concerns for others. Addams, Hamilton, and Jones are lauded for their incessant crusade in helping employees to overcome poor working conditions. Carson and Mead are held up as models because of their concern about environmental issues and about...

(The entire section is 495 words.)