Send A Girl: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

Send A Girl by Jessica Rinker was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, so I was thrilled to find it on my front porch this week. I’m excited to announce that this wonderful book lived up to my very high expectations.

Following Brenda Berkman, a New York City firefighter, Send A Girl tells young readers all about female firefighters fight against discrimination in the Fire Department of the City of New York.

From her childhood when Brenda started an all girls football field, to her career as a lawyer, Brenda never listened when people told her an activity or job was “not for girls”. When she heard that the New York City Fire Department would finally allow women to take the exam to become firefighters, she knew she had to try.

When she found out that the exam was unfair and that every woman who took it failed, she was not deterred. She used her experience as a lawyer to sue the fire department, and she won. Once a new exam that included actual firefighting duties was put into place, Brenda and forty other women passed and were allowed to become firefighters.

Though she continued to struggle to be accepted in a male-dominated space throughout her career, Brenda still took the time to uplift and support other female firefighters, founding the United Women Firefighters organization.

I love that Send A Girl doesn’t read like a biography that lists dates and events, but more like a story with heart. Jessica Rinker beautifully weaves Brenda’s experience with the historic facts, while keeping our focus on equality. Combined with Meg Hunt’s amazing illustrations, this makes Send A Girl an incredibly engaging read.

The backmatter contains additional information about Brenda Berkman, as well as resources for readers who are looking to dig deeper.

Send A Girl is available now wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Jessica Rinker is the author of both picture book biographies and middle grade fiction. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jessrinker.com.

Meg Hunt is an illustrator, print maker, and all around maker of things. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at meghunt.com.

I want to thank Bloomsbury for generously sending me a review copy of Send A Girl. I am so thrilled to be able to share Brenda’s story with my readers.

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