Shana Corey, a children’s book author who grew up in Charlotte, has a knack for transforming stories of strong women into fascinating picture books.
So when she learned that the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary was approaching, she saw the perfect opportunity for a book about the group’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low.
The result, “Here Come the Girl Scouts! The Amazing All-true Story of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure,” offers a rich portrait of Low and the Girl Scouts organization, which turns 100 this month.
Want to win a copy? Leave a comment here and tell me why you deserve to win. I’ll announce the winner Wednesday, March 7.
Corey, 38, lives in New York but grew up in Charlotte, where she attended Irwin Avenue Elementary, Piedmont IB Middle School and West Charlotte High. She credits her teachers with igniting her love of reading and writing.
Corey was never a Girl Scout herself, but she grew up hearing about the organization from her mom, an enthusiastic former Scout who still had her badge sash. She began this project expecting that Girl Scouts in 1912 spent lots of time sitting around in parlors. She found instead that they played basketball, camped and hiked right from the start.
“I was blown away,” she says.
She also discovered that Low was an amazing character. Known as “Daisy,” Low grew up in Savannah. She lost most of her hearing by the time she was an adult, but that didn’t stop her from traveling the world and founding the Girl Scouts at age 51.
Low opened the Girls Scouts to all classes and races. She organized troops in orphanages and factories, in churches and synagogues. The organization also embraced the environmental conservation movement, just as it was beginning to take hold in America.
Corey, who confesses she’s “kind of a nut for research,” found lots of wonderful tidbits in a copy of the first Girl Scout handbook, published in 1913.
Thanks to that handbook, we learn that early Girl Scouts were versed in handy skills such as curing hams, stopping a runaway horse and securing a burglar with eight inches of cord.
“Here Come the Girl Scouts!” (Scholastic; $17.99), is illustrated by Hadley Hooper, who weaves advice and wisdom from that first Girl Scout handbook into her pictures.
My favorite bit of wisdom: “Many of the greatest movements for the good of people, and those which have influenced the world most, have been the work of one person.”
Interesting Girl Scout Facts:
- Juliette Gordon Low once snuck out of a fancy dinner party to go fishing with her friend Rudyard Kipling.
- The cookie sale started in the 1930s.
- Today, there are more than 3.2 million Girl Scouts in more than 90 countries.
- Former Girl Scouts include activist Gloria Steinem, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, poet Rita Dove and journalist Lisa Ling.
- The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah is open for tours: juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org.
- Find out about Charlotte-area Girl Scout opportunities at hngirlscouts.org.