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Send a Girl!

The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

Jessica M. Rinker, Meg Hunt (Illustrator)


List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Brenda Berkman was often told that she couldn't do certain things because she was a girl. When she grew up, she longed for a job that was challenging, different every day, and required physical and mental strength. In 1977 when the New York City Fire Department finally complied with the Civil Rights Act (from 1964) by allowing women to take the FDNY exam, Brenda jumped at the chance.

But the FDNY changed the rules of the exam so women wouldn't be able to pass it. Even a lot of men couldn't pass this new exam.

So Brenda Berkman took the FDNY to court. In 1982, they finally made a fair test, and Brenda and 40 other women passed. She then founded the United Women Firefighters, an organization that helps train and prepare women to be firefighters. Brenda went on to serve in the FDNY for 25 years, reaching the positions of Lieutenant and Captain, and was a first responder during the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11. Send a Girl! is Brenda Berkman's inspiring story.

Praise For Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

“A positive addition to the growing collection of social justice books for children and will appeal to future firefighters of any gender. This tale of the first official NYC female firefighter holds quality and feminism at its core.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This gratifying story is told in cheerful, accessible, inclusive language. . . Engaging, realistic illustrations.” —Booklist

“Berkman's story offers a refreshing twist for “community helpers” units.” —BCCB

“A great read for younger kids who want to be inspired to make positive change in the world. Pair it with Debbie Levy's I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. . . . An excellent picture book biography about a courageous activist, advocate, and leader.” —School Library Journal on GLORIA TAKES A STAND

“Adding to the growing, yet still needed, #MeToo books for young readers . . . Textured and digitally enhanced mixed-media illustrations evoke the diversity she celebrated.” —Booklist on GLORIA TAKES A STAND

“A tribute to feminist icon, activist, and writer Gloria Steinem. . . . Engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews on GLORIA TAKES A STAND

“Give[s] a new generation background into Gloria Steinem's life and influence.” —School Library Connection on GLORIA TAKES A STAND

Bloomsbury Children's Books, 9781547601745, 48pp.

Publication Date: March 9, 2021

About the Author

Jessica M. Rinker has a BA in social welfare from Bloomsburg University and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's a freelance writer and the author of several award-winning essays, poems, and short stories. She has three kids and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, also a children's author.

Meg Hunt is the illustrator of Reading Beauty and Interstellar Cinderella and is a printmaker, educator, and all-around maker of things. She was also the recipient of the 2015 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Award for her contribution to the Illustrators 58 exhibition. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.