Gr 5-8-The past comes strikingly to light in these first-person accounts. Stewart made a fresh start for herself and her baby daughter by homesteading in Wyoming in 1909. Through a series of letters to a friend in Denver, she describes the wide-open land, fierce snowstorms, lively neighbors, and her marriage to a rancher. By contrast, Taylor's story is told through excerpts from a self-published autobiography. As a black nurse during the Civil War, Taylor ministered to soldiers in the Union's all-black units. She traveled with them throughout most of the conflict and witnessed many battles. She also writes about the difficulties her people faced in the years after the war. These accessible books read like fiction. However, as primary documents, they relate details and events that lend an air of authenticity and provide a balanced portrayal of life. An editor's note explains that the texts have been abridged for clarity. Each woman emerges as strong and extraordinary as she becomes the hero of her own story. Both titles contain full-color illustrations and sidebars providing historical background. Fans of the "Dear America" series (Scholastic) and the "American Girls" collection (Pleasant Co.) will enjoy these real-life historical adventures.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.