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Woman of the World: The Story of Nellie Bly


"Woman of the World: The Story of Nellie Bly" is an unusual piece of literature for young people: A genuinely non-fictional biography. That is, the dialogue you read in this NewsBook has not been invented, there are no fictionalized events and everything is presented in its proper chronology.

The main source for this NewsBook has been Brooke Kroeger's definitive biography, "Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Feminist, Reporter" (Random House, New York, 1994). When we realized the extent to which we would be relying upon her research, we decided the most honest and efficient approach would be to simply contact Professor Kroeger and lay our plan before her. We were delighted when she endorsed the project and agreed to act as a mentor and guide, reading each chapter and helping assure the accuracy of this portrayal. We genuinely could not have done this without her.

Through the 14 chapters of this NewsBook, students will meet a very real person whose story is, we feel, inspirational not because we have depicted her as perfect, but because we have shown her as she was: Ambitious, impatient, headstrong and creative. Though we don't use his words in our book, one of Nellie's classmates is quoted in Brooke Kroeger's book as saying that, in her schooldays, the flamboyant Pink Cochran "acquired more conspicuous notice for riotous conduct than profound scholarship."

We think that, if Nellie were in your classroom or home, she would be that challenging, creative, disruptive, delightful, infuriating young person whom you so hope to reach, the one who risks a life without purpose but who holds so much promise if only the right push comes along at the right moment.

It is our sincere hope that all of you ... teachers, students and families ... will enjoy this story, will benefit from the many writing exercises based upon it and will be inspired by the very real woman they will meet.

But we especially hope it helps you reach that special kid who has acquired more conspicuous notice for riotous conduct than profound scholarship. Two of them helped to create "Woman of the World: The Story of Nellie Bly." We are:

                        Mike Peterson                        Lisa M. Sax

                        Author                                  Curriculum Developer

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