Han­nah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Difference

  • Review
By – October 26, 2021

As detailed in the new book Han­nah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Dif­fer­ence, Han­nah Greenebaum Solomon was born in Chica­go in 1858. Her father, a Jew­ish immi­grant from Ger­many, was a vol­un­teer fire­fight­er and founder of the city’s first Reform syn­a­gogue. Her moth­er made clothes for the poor through her work with the Jew­ish Ladies Sewing Soci­ety. Her par­ents taught Han­nah that every­one deserved free­dom and respect” and even helped a run­away slave seek free­dom. Because of her work with her sis­ter in the Chica­go Women’s Club, Han­nah was appoint­ed to orga­nize events for Jew­ish women dur­ing the 1893 Chica­go World’s Fair. She invit­ed promi­nent women from around the coun­try to speak about impor­tant women’s issues like edu­ca­tion, equal­i­ty, pover­ty, and aid to immi­grants. The events were so suc­cess­ful that Han­nah launched the Nation­al Coun­cil of Jew­ish Women and was elect­ed its first pres­i­dent. Under her lead­er­ship, the NCJW lob­bied for new laws for afford­able hous­ing, pub­lic nurs­ery schools, pub­lic play­grounds, and free meals for school children.

Illus­tra­tor Sofia Moore’s detailed, full col­or paint­ings bring to life the peo­ple, places, and events of Chica­go in the late 1800s and ear­ly 1900s, and beau­ti­ful­ly com­ple­ment the inspir­ing and infor­ma­tive text. Lin­dauer does an excel­lent job pro­vid­ing his­tor­i­cal con­text for events like the end of the Civ­il War, the Great Chica­go Fire, and the pass­ing of the Nine­teenth Amend­ment. She also intro­duces read­ers to oth­er sig­nif­i­cant Chica­go insti­tu­tions, such as Jane Addams’ Hull House and the Maxwell Street Set­tle­ment House. An author’s note with addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about Han­nah Solomon, as well as the Hull House, is append­ed along with a timeline.

Par­ents, teach­ers, and librar­i­ans may wish to pair this book with oth­er pic­ture book biogra­phies such as The Key from Spain by Deb­bie Levy, Goldie Takes a Stand by Bar­bara Kras­ner, Brave Girl by Michelle Markel, and Emma’s Poem by Lin­da Glaser, as well as No Truth With­out Ruth by Kath­leen Krull, to cel­e­brate the many note­wor­thy con­tri­bu­tions of Jew­ish women in America.

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

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