Brave the Wild River is the true account of two adventurous and determined young women botanists who were the first to map the botany of the Grand Canyon.
Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny
Genre/Categories/Setting: Nonfiction, Nature, Botany, Women in Science, Adventure, Exploration, Colorado River, Grand Canyon
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My Summary of Brave the Wild River:
in 1938, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter joined an expedition leader and three boatmen to venture down the dangerous Colorado River to map the botany of the Grand Canyon. Brave the Wild River is the account of their forty-three day journey. Along with wild rapids, steep cliffs, and and challenging conditions, the women also faced sexism.
In 1938, the Colorado River was considered the most dangerous river in the world. Loss of life for those brave enough to explore it was not uncommon.
Botany was considered an acceptable science for women in 1938. After all, collecting flowers in your yard or while on a stroll, was a ladylike activity and could cause no harm. When two women wanted to brave the Colorado River to map the botany of the Grand Canyon, this brought considerable criticism and concern. Women were challenging gender roles and risking their lives rather than strolling in their gardens.
On the trip itself, guess who did the cooking? The two women of course!
Time and Place
If you have been to the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, you will appreciate the vivid descriptions of the geographic features in 1938. Through the author’s words, you will feel the rushing and dangerous water, fear the boulders, experience the hot sun and sudden storms, taste the campfire meals, visualize the plants collected, and enjoy the colorful characters. You might also be outraged or at least amazed by the sexism.
Recommending Brave the Wild River
I can recommend Brave the Wild River for nature enthusiasts, for readers who are familiar with the Grand Canyon (or want to know more), for those who are interested in stories of women in STEM, and for fans of stories featuring real life, determined, courageous, and inspirational women and their achievements.
Related: Another story (fictionalized biography) of a woman in STEM is The Woman With the Cure.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author of Brave the Wild River, Melissa L. Sevigny
Melissa L. Sevigny grew up in Tucson, Arizona where she fell in love with the Sonoran Desert’s ecology, geology and dark desert skies. Her lyrical nonfiction explores the intersections of science, nature, and history, with a focus on the American Southwest. Her work has appeared in Orion, Terrain.org, the Atavist Magazine, and on NPR. She has worked as a science communicator in the fields of water policy, sustainable agriculture, and space exploration. She is currently the science reporter at KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) and lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Learn more about her at http://www.melissasevigny.com.
Is this nonfiction on your TBR or have you read it?
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