“Thank you, Rebecca Pitts. Each generation deserves their own Jane Jacobs biography, written in the rhythms and sensibilities of today's youth. When future urbanists now in school are asked where they first were introduced to the work and life of Jane Jacobs, I would not be surprised how many will credit Pitts' phenomenally researched and entertaining book.”
“Jane Jacobs: Champion of Cities, Champion of People is the civics education I wish I had when I was a teenager. Pitts brings Jacobs's lessons on community organizing, civil disobedience, and city building to life with casual ease—all while not being afraid to question how Jane's ideas hold up today.”
“Here is an engaging and lively biography of icon Jane Jacobs, a journalist and community activist for city planning and renewal, who stopped legendary urban planner Robert Moses from building a number of NYC construction projects that would have destroyed communities. Born in 1916 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jacobs was a rebel from a young age who lived for most of her adult life in the West Village. In this text, her biographer is aware of her flaws: Jacobs’ best-known book, the influential 1961 Death and Life of Great American Cities, made no mention of housing inequities and the redlining that many people of color faced due to the existing systemic racial discrimination, a fact that Pitts points to as a valid criticism. Jacobs also believed that communities of people “created a sense of shared safety,” but her privilege as a white woman blinded her to the systemic racism of the time. Still, she was widely impactful; she was arrested several times, the second time for allegedly inciting a riot at a public hearing. Pitts occasionally addresses readers directly in the text, which includes black-and-white photographs and uses invented dialogue (in italics) at times to move the narrative along. Jacobs was a remarkable woman, and her advocacy for community action and citizen participation is more valid today than ever. It's a view that will resonate with teen readers.
— Sharon Rawlins”