Molly, by Golly!


Order your copy: National Women’s History Project

Special ordering info for booksellers/educators re-purchasing copies directly from the publisher:

  • Distributed by Penguin Random House 
  • Contact Customer Service at (800) 733-3000 or to inquire about discounts, shipping, and related policies.  

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Congresswoman Katherine Clark Reads Molly, by Golly! to Framingham MA Kindergarteners for Black History Month. Click here to see the video, and click here to read the article!

Artist Cindy Burnside created a mini-moo cow sculpture based on Kathleen Kemly’s fabulous illustrations from Molly, by Golly! for the Paso Robles Children’s Museum’s (CA) CowParade program designed to raise funds for local charities in a very fun way!

This meticulously researched yet seldom-told story proves that everyone can be a firefighting hero. It is sure to inspire generations of young children to serve their communities.

—David Lewis, Curator, Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Aurora, Illinois

Through vibrant illustrations and a legendary story, Molly, By Golly! brings the exciting past of ‘New York’s Bravest’ to life for our young readers of today.

—Damon Campagna, Director and Curator, New York City Fire Museum

What I love about Molly, by Golly is that it accurately depicts the era of the early 1800s. Author Dianne Ochiltree [made] the tale truly come to life, she was meticulous about depicting accurate firefighting techniques of that time period. I highly recommend this book, as it would make a wonderful gift for any child.

—Ronna, Good Reads with Ronna

Molly, by Golly!

The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter
Released 2012 from Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press
Illustrated by Kathleen Kemly

This legendary tale introduces young readers to Molly Williams, an African American cook for New York City’s Fire Company 11, who is considered to be the first known female firefighter in U.S. history. One winter day in 1818, when many of the firefighting volunteers are sick with influenza and a small wooden house is ablaze, Molly jumps into action and helps stop the blaze, proudly earning the nickname Volunteer Number 11.

Relying on historic records and pictures and working closely with firefighting experts, Dianne Ochiltree and artist Kathleen Kemly not only bring this spunky and little-known heroine to life but also show how fires were fought in early America.

2016 Selection, Top 100 Recommended African-American Children’s Books by (African-American Literature Book Club)

Bronze Medal in Children’s Literature category of Florida Book Awards

2013 Book Award Honor for Language Arts Grades K-6 from International Society of School Librarians

2012 ALA Amelia Bloomer Book List for Feminist Literature

image © Kathleen Kemly