Dreams into Deeds Critical Context - Essay

Linda Peavy, Ursula Smith

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Peavy and Smith’s work is an interesting addition to the body of young adult nonfiction because it addresses the lives of nine women who influenced recent history. Although historical events are mentioned, the personal contributions of the women are the focus of the readers’ consciousness. By choosing to write briefly about the lives of nine women rather than focusing in depth on one woman, the authors have presented young adult readers with the cumulative effect of women who significantly altered the course of history in the twentieth century. The authors interpret the character of these women who were not merely swept along by events but instead actively involved themselves in the problems of their day and determined to find solutions.

Dreams into Deeds follows the authors’ first coauthored book, Women Who Changed Things (1983), a compilation of biographies of nine relatively unknown women in the period between 1880 and 1930. The writers are intent on their mission of bring-ing to the body of literature for young adults information about important women who made a difference in the lives of others. They point out in more than one biography that people can enrich their lives by knowing the history that has preceded them. Peavy and Smith have made an impact on the reading of young adults by providing them with relevant material that is well researched and presented in a palatable and interesting format.