Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 11, 2021

Book Giveaway: HEADSTRONG HALLIE by Aimee Bissonette

Aimee Bissonette has written a new picture book, HEADSTRONG HALLIE illustrated by David Hohn and published by Sleeping Bear Press. It is available in bookstores now. SBP has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Aimee and David.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn’t afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn’t hire women, thinking they couldn’t handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn’t know Hallie or how determined she could be. This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.


Kathy, thank you for featuring HEADSTRONG HALLIE! THE STORY OF HALLIE MORSE DAGGETT, THE FIRST FEMALE “FIRE GUARD” my new nonfiction picture book with Sleeping Bear Press. I had a blast working on this book with David Hohn, whose illustrations are breathtaking.  The book tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, our nation’s first female “fire guard,” whose love of the outdoors and desire for independence led her to a tiny cabin atop a California mountain working on behalf of the US Forest Service in the early 1900’s. Wow!

I learned about Hallie a few years ago while doing some related Internet research.  Her story grabbed me right away. I enjoy writing about “everyday heroes” – people who are not necessarily well known but who dedicated themselves to their families and communities, overcame barriers, or tackled big jobs.  Hallie was just such a person. She grew up in California’s Siskiyou Mountains and loved the outdoors.  She witnessed firsthand the damage and devastation of forest fires and knew from a young age that she wanted to work for the Forest Service. She followed her dream and did not take no for an answer. In my mind, she was a perfect subject for a children’s book.

Immersing myself in Hallie’s world was a treat. I’m not a crack shot like Hallie was, but I share her love for animals, hiking, and fishing, and I feel strongly about protecting our forests.   I have not had the chance to meet David Hohn yet, but I think it’s safe to say from his gorgeous art that he shares a love for these things, too.  Writing this book was made even better by the fact that the early drafts were written in a natural setting Hallie would have loved.  I was blessed with a fellowship in the fall of 2017 at the Tofte Lake Center, an idyllic retreat center for artists in northern Minnesota right up by the Canadian border.  I wrote each morning while listening to the call of loons. I took long hikes in the woods and around beautiful little lakes where I spotted otters and beavers and deer.  I even had to split wood and haul it to my own little cabin to feed the woodstove if I wanted to stay warm. Can you think of a better setting for writing about a woman who lived the way Hallie did?

I also felt strongly about telling Hallie’s story because even though she lived and worked more than 100 years ago, massive forest fires continue to be a problem here in this country and worldwide. Climate change and deforestation have made things worse.  In California last year, over 3,000,000 acres of land burned. I wanted to help raise awareness of the problem, just as Hallie did.

I hope young readers, their parents and teachers like learning about Hallie.  I hope they take a cue from her that perseverance pays off – that following your dreams matters.  Hallie was headstrong, but in the best way. She opened doors for others and lived her life on her own terms.  Thank you, again, for featuring this book and thank you to Sleeping Bear Press, for bringing Hallie’s story to young readers!


Aimée Bissonette splits her time between Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where she writes books for children inspired by a love for nature and her admiration for “everyday heroes.” To learn more about Aimée and her books, please visit

Aimée Bissonette is the author of eight picture books:

North Woods Girl, Minnesota Historical Society Press, October 2015

Miss Colfax’s Light, Sleeping Bear Press, March 2016

Aim for the Skies: Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith Complete Amelia Earhart’s Quest, Sleeping Bear Press, September, 2018

Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress, Cameron Kids, March 2020

The Tinaja Tonight, Albert Whitman, September 2020

Dragonfly, Albert Whitman, September 2020

When Winter Comes, Little Bigfoot / Sasquatch Books, October 2020

Headstrong Hallie: The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female ‘Fire Guard,’” Sleeping Bear Press, February 2021

She has worn many hats in her life. Her daughters tease that She still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up! She has been an occupational therapist, teacher, writer, lawyer, and small business owner. Her favorite work—other than writing—is as a lawyer, helping other authors and illustrators get their books published.


DAVID HOHN is an illustrator based in Portland Oregon. His days are spent in the studio imagining what it would be like to be someone else, doing something else – and then he paints it.

David Hohn received his degree in illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Over the years his work has focused on the juvenile markets, ranging from picture books, children’s theater posters, video games, toys and apparel graphics.

For David the pleasure in illustrating comes from paring all the various possibilities of an image down to the single moment that best encapsulates the author’s words with the artist’s vision. Seeing that moment come to life in a finished painting, whether it be a traditional watercolor and oil or digital piece, is what keeps him excited to hit the studio each day.

Aimee, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I have this book and it is gorgeous. Thank you for providing another strong woman who through her determination broke through the barriers put in her way to become the first woman to join the U.S. Forest Service. Your text and David’s illustrations really make a reader want to turn every page and visit many times. 

I will be featuring David on Illustrator Saturday this week, so stop back to learn more about David and see more of his fabulous illustrations. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This book sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for featuring it Kathy. (I shared on Twitter & FB and I subscribe to your blog).


  2. I can’t wait to read this one to get inspiration for the bio I’m working on. I also subscribe to this blog.


  3. What a wonderful book! Sleeping Bear has such great subjects! Wishing you all the best. Kathy, I am a newsletter subscriber 🙂


  4. Gorgeous cover! I can’t wait to read it! I love stories about nature, and a biography about a woman set in nature? Perfect. Congratulations!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂


  5. Congrats, Aimée and David! This sounds awesome. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  6. I can’t wait to get to know Hallie. I enjoy reading about women who refused to give up and worked extra hard to break barriers. My parents live in the UP and I went to school there. I am an email subscriber and shared on tumblr, twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest:


  7. This looks totally fascinating – and I love the art! Congratulations to you both!


  8. An important story and gorgeous artwork – cannot wait to read this book!


  9. Congratulations to you both, Aimee and David! I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Hallie sounds like such an amazing person. Thanks for sharing!


  10. I’m always amazed by how many great, true stories are out there. Thanks for the chance to share Hallie’s journey.
    I’ve tweeted a link:, and shared on Pinterest:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day.


  11. What a fascinating biography about a brave woman. I’m looking forward to reading this book.


  12. Wonderful article, and can’t wait to read this book, and all of Aimee’s others! They look fascinating and beautiful.


  13. A writing career requires so much perseverance — I’m not surprised that PB biographers are drawn to determined, “headstrong” subjects. And I agree — Hohn’s illustrations are breathtaking. I’m looking forward to reading this. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  14. What a fascinating woman! Need to add this book to my TBR list. Thanks for the rec!


  15. What a wonderful subject for a PB bio! Great work, Aimee and David!


  16. I love the concept of this book! I live in Arizona and toyed with the idea of being a fire spotter. We get bad wildfires here.
    I am posting a link to this article in my Creative Juice roundup tomorrow on


  17. Such an intriguing book! I have hiked up to many fire towers in the Catskill Mts. and wondered who manned/”womanned” them (vast majority were males according to a book for adults). And the artwork is glorious! Kathy, I subscribe to your daily blog.


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