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Cover for Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call

Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call

The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators

Claudia Friddell, Elizabeth Baddeley (Illustrator)


List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
NCSS Septma Clark Award, Elementary Level Honoree
Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year

Led by twenty-five-year-old Grace Banker, thirty-two telephone operators — affectionately called "Hello Girls" back in the US — became the first female combatants in World War I.

Follow Grace Banker's journey from her busy life as a telephone switchboard trainer in New York to her pioneering role as the Chief Operator of the 1st Unit of World War I telephone operators in the battlefields of France. With expert skill, steady nerves, and steadfast loyalty, the Signal Corps operators transferred orders from commanders to battlefields and communicated top-secret messages between American and French headquarters. After faithfully serving her country —undaunted by freezing weather and fires; long hours and little sleep, and nearby shellings and far off explosions — Grace was the first and only woman operator in the Signal Corps to be awarded the Army's Distinguished Service Medal.

Praise For Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators

★ "This picture book for older students provides material not readily available about the Signal Corps and the early role of women in the military. It also provides needed backdrop for the suffrage movement happening about the same time." —School Library Connection, starred review

"An overlooked hero of World War I is given her due. Quotes from Banker’s diary and letters accompany Friddell’s straightforward, descriptive text, bringing to life her dedication, humor, and fearlessness. Baddeley’s appealing, comics-style illustrations provide a strong sense of time and place... (o)verall, this overlooked piece of history—the role of women during World War I—is presented in engaging detail, and the result is a captivating depiction of a smart, spirited woman who found a way to use her skills and intelligence to benefit her country in an unexpected way. An absorbing look at one woman’s achievements during World War I." —Kirkus Reviews

"This picture book should hold strong appeal for both independent readers and middle grade listeners, making it an excellent selection for curricular use." —Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

"Already a college graduate and an instructor at a switchboard operators’ school, Grace Banker...was named chief operator of the first-ever unit of women soldiers. Friddell’s narrow focus on Banker’s twenty months of service highlights an inspiring, little-known story of everyday 'girls' stepping up to heroically serve their country—despite gender injustices—and making history." The Horn Book

"Recounted with the same plucky spirit as its heroine, this picture-book biography of Grace Banker is a heartening story of grit, charm, and bravery." —Booklist

"I loved this...any conversation about women, women in war, technology advances, can use this in the collection." —Kiss the Book

Calkins Creek, 9781684373505, 40pp.

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

About the Author

For children’s author Claudia Friddell, the next best thing to time travel is discovering and sharing exciting real life stories from long ago.  A former elementary school teacher, Claudia loves talking to students and teachers about the magic of bringing history to life through books. When she’s not visiting schools, digging for treasure in the library, or writing at her home in Baltimore, she’s reading, walking, and kayaking on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Visit

Elizabeth Baddeley is the New York Times best-selling illustrator of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. She has illustrated many other biographies and nonfiction books for children and previously worked for Hallmark. Visit