FICTION

Girl with a Camera: Margaret Bourke-White, Photographer

352p. Calkins Creek. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629795843.
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Gr 6 Up—Margaret Bourke-White knew from an early age that she was unlike her peers, who, in the first decades of the 20th century, dreamed mostly of marriage and lives as homemakers. But Bourke-White had something different in mind: a career as a photographer. With very little money or encouragement, she progressed toward her goal and met benevolent people along the way who believed in her abilities. Her perseverance eventually paid off; she landed the first cover of Life magazine and traveled far and wide (Russia, the Arctic Circle) for assignments. Based on the life of the pioneering photographer, this docunovel ends as Bourke-White becomes the first female war correspondent during World War II, but her story continues in an appended author's note, which highlights further professional achievements. Though the dialogue is occasionally stilted and the descriptions of Bourke-White's accomplishments are sometimes dry, Meyer has clearly done her research, and she effectively draws from the facts of Bourke-White's life to create an absorbing narrative that conveys not only a strong sense of the individual but also of the larger societal context of the times. Meyer ably conveys the photographer's grit, gumption, and resourcefulness, coupled with an unparalleled work ethic and a determination to make it in a man's world during a time when women were just gaining the right to vote.
VERDICT A good choice for curricular connections as well as for personal reading, this compelling offering may inspire readers to follow their dreams.

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