Young generation introduced to suffrage movement in new book
The Indiana Historical Society Press recently announced the release of “Giant Steps: Suffragettes and Soldiers,” by Mary Blair Immel. The book tells the fictional but historically inspired tale of a 13-year-old girl from Indiana who is introduced to the fight for women’s suffrage. The novel opens in 1916, as Bernie Epperson is wrestling with double standards placed on her compared with her brothers. Soon, Bernie’s cousin and aunt awaken her to all the unfair restrictions women face, and Bernie is inspired to make her voice heard. Complicating matters, the United States enters World War I, and Bernie must decide how to help the war effort while continuing to fight for women’s rights. While the story is fictional, details of the suffrage movement are true. In 1917, women and girls marched on Washington, D.C., just as Bernie and her family members do. They also took part in local franchise leagues and gained inspiration from women in history such as Nellie Bly, Harriet Tubman and Indiana’s own Helen Gougar. With a master’s degree in U.S. history, Immel has taught at several grade levels. She is an award-winning storyteller and author of several books, including “Two-Way Street” and ” Captured! A Boy Trapped in the Civil War.” Immel also publishes widely in magazines such as “American Heritage,” “Guideposts” and “The Hoosier Genealogist: Connections.” Giant Steps is appropriate for young adult readers, but can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. For more information about the book or IHS Press, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.