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

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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 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 41 other women passed. 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. After her retirement, Brenda founded the United Women Firefighters, an organization that helps train and prepare women to be firefighters. Send a Girl! is Brenda Berkman's inspiring story.


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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 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 41 other women passed. 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. After her retirement, Brenda founded the United Women Firefighters, an organization that helps train and prepare women to be firefighters. Send a Girl! is Brenda Berkman's inspiring story.

30 review for Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Hey! January 2021 Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review Brenda Berkman was always a bit of a tom boy when she was growing up. Even though some people said she couldn't do things because she was a girl (like play sports), that never stopped her! When Brenda grew up, she decided that she wanted to be a firefighter. It was an exciting job - lots of action, adventure AND she could save people's lives. Only one tiny problem...the fire department had no girls. But Brenda never let that stop her Hey! January 2021 Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review Brenda Berkman was always a bit of a tom boy when she was growing up. Even though some people said she couldn't do things because she was a girl (like play sports), that never stopped her! When Brenda grew up, she decided that she wanted to be a firefighter. It was an exciting job - lots of action, adventure AND she could save people's lives. Only one tiny problem...the fire department had no girls. But Brenda never let that stop her - she signed right up!! And even though she had to fight against the system and other biases of people - she never let that stop her! Overall - this was a fabulous children's book. I loved learning about Brenda's life and the various challenges she overcame. I really appreciate that the book didn't sugar-coat the problems that women like Brenda faced when they tried to break into a male-dominated field. I feel like this book did a great job of showing Brenda breaking down the barriers that women faced in an easy-to-understand way. The illustrations for this book were fabulous and truly gave it that extra sparkle. All in all - I adored this one! With thanks to Bloomsbury for sending this one my way!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY is the powerful picture book story of Brenda Bergman who showed bravery, perseverance, & leadership during her journey to becoming NYC’s first professional female firefighter. Inspiring #kidlit!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia

    An important story for sure to help inspire all the girls in your world to never give up!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mutually Inclusive

    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 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 back matter contains additional information about Brenda Berkman, as well as resources for readers who are looking to dig deeper. 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. Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Storygraph

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    "Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY" by Jessica Rinker is about a girl named Brenda Berkman who was told she couldn't do certain things because she was a girl. 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. They changed the exam making hard for women to pass the test. She took it to court and and in 1982, they finally made it a fair test. This book w "Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY" by Jessica Rinker is about a girl named Brenda Berkman who was told she couldn't do certain things because she was a girl. 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. They changed the exam making hard for women to pass the test. She took it to court and and in 1982, they finally made it a fair test. This book was bought on amazon. It is geared towards grades 1-2. It is a compelling story about a woman who persevered and fought for her right to work in the fire department.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lloyd Cruz

    Author’s way of storytelling is so good, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you Author’s way of storytelling is so good, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jared White

    An interesting story about a strong, brave woman who helped to clear the path for the strong, brave women who want to follow in her footsteps to become firefighters. In a way it is very neat that the author got to talk to Brenda Berkman as part of the process of making this book but that is also a reminder of how very recently this took place (the unfair physical exam wasn't change and women didn't join the FDNY until 1982). An interesting story about a strong, brave woman who helped to clear the path for the strong, brave women who want to follow in her footsteps to become firefighters. In a way it is very neat that the author got to talk to Brenda Berkman as part of the process of making this book but that is also a reminder of how very recently this took place (the unfair physical exam wasn't change and women didn't join the FDNY until 1982).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann Van Hine

    Great book for young girls and boys. It tells the story of Brenda Berkman the first female firefighter in NYC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Loved it! What an inspiring book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Clare Frank

    AN IMPORTANT AND BEAUTIFUL BOOK. This groundbreaking work tells the story of a woman meant to be a firefighter. She broke barriers for all who followed. The author captures the story beautifully, and puts it right where it belongs--in the hands of children who need to know they can follow their passion, even when others tell them they can't. AN IMPORTANT AND BEAUTIFUL BOOK. This groundbreaking work tells the story of a woman meant to be a firefighter. She broke barriers for all who followed. The author captures the story beautifully, and puts it right where it belongs--in the hands of children who need to know they can follow their passion, even when others tell them they can't.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ellon

    An excellent story of determination and standing up for yourself despite discrimination. This would be a great pick for Women's History Month. An excellent story of determination and standing up for yourself despite discrimination. This would be a great pick for Women's History Month.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    From the perspective of 2021, it's hard to believe that women were not allowed to have careers as firefighters in New York City until 1977. And even then, many of the physical requirements continued to place barriers against them. It took a law suit that was settled and modified requirements in 1982 before women such as Brenda Berkman could apply and win a place on the New York Fire Department. This picture book describes her struggles and successes and how she faced discrimination even from the From the perspective of 2021, it's hard to believe that women were not allowed to have careers as firefighters in New York City until 1977. And even then, many of the physical requirements continued to place barriers against them. It took a law suit that was settled and modified requirements in 1982 before women such as Brenda Berkman could apply and win a place on the New York Fire Department. This picture book describes her struggles and successes and how she faced discrimination even from the other firefighters. Tracing her formative years and her interest in helping others, at first through legal avenues and later as a firefighter, the book tells the story of a persistent groundbreaker who went on to a long and successful career doing what she loved most and paving the way for other women to follow in her footsteps. While I'm not a fan of the illustrations, they do an effective job of showing just how oversized some of the clothing and equipment given to women like Brenda was, effectively hampering her efforts. Back matter includes a note from the author and more information about Brenda, including what she's doing now. It's hard to imagine how much courage and resilience it took on her part to keep her eyes on her goals despite the harassment she endured. I would have liked to have heard her voice a bit more in this account of those times and experiences, but I loved having this story available for youngsters today as well as knowing that after she retired, she still kept herself busy in other ways. And even though I have heard of many stories of groundbreaking women, I'd never heard this particular one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Day

    Interesting look at the determination of women, and one in particular (Brenda Berkman) who wanted to be firefighters at a time when women were not welcome. The book showcases their fight to be accepted.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trey Veazey

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Rinker

  17. 5 out of 5

    Omar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kerri Hall

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Rummel

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caralen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keri

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Giard

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Little

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patricia (Punky Bookster)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jess Duran

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katy Punch

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