After my newspaper column about the Cherry Ames novels, I received what seemed like a record number of emails from readers who also remembered and loved the WWII nursing heroine from childhood.
Some wrote to say that Cherry's adventures inspired their career choices: "Those books did shape a lot of my beliefs in what I could accomplish as a woman. I was born in 1948, and am now a professor of Electrical Engineering, Sadly, I had no daughter to leave the books to, but they are still on my shelves, and I cherish them. I try to inspire my own female students in the way that a fictional character inspired me."
Another reader tipped me to a real-life nurse's blog that compares actual nursing-school experiences to those described in nurse books.
A third wrote to say that girls weren't the only readers charmed by intrepid female heroines: "Your story reminded me so much of furtively reading my sister's Nancy Drew books. I worried whether boys were permitted to read books with girls as the hero!"
The publisher of Free Public Domain E-Books in GoldenArk's School Reader Catalog wrote to ask if I knew of any K-12 stories in the public domain that were as inspirational as the Cherry Ames series. "If so, we can can publish them in our School Reader catalog." So I'm asking for suggestions. Please email me.