Grace Banker and her Hello Girls Answer the Call
By Claudia Friddell
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
BOYDS MILLS & KANE
IndieBound |Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
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. Author Claudia Friddell and artist Elizabeth Baddely beautifully capture this true American story that celebrates the lives of this little-known heroic woman and her team of Signal Corps Operators.
Grace Banker and her Hello Girls Answer the Call Awards
- 2021 JLG Selection
- 2022 Septima Clark Women in Literature Honor Award
- 2022 NCSS Notable
- 2022 Bank Street Best Books List (Outstanding Merit)
- 2022 ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List
Read this exclusive interview with Claudia about her most recent book, Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call on “The Picture Buzz” with Maria Marshall. Don’t forget to let us know what you thought! read here
Thank you, Elizabeth, for taking Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call to the National WWl Museum and Memorial in Kansas City on Veteran’s Day!
“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