Women’s History Month: Books for Girls, Books About Women
Women’s History Month is a time to honor women who have helped shape the world and inspire us with their leadership and heroism. In this eclectic list of new titles, these remarkable women (Sylvia Earle, Georgia O’Keeffe, Daisy Gordon Low, Zitkala-Sa, Lily Renee Wilhelm, Beryl Markham, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony) all have one thing in common: adventurous spirits and the willingness to take great risks to make bold discoveries.
Georgia O’Keeffe led life on her own terms, but when we usually think of her it’s likely sketching on her Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, not in tropical Hawaii. Amy Novesky depicts O’Keeffe on her tour of Hawaii where she painted gorgeous exotic flowers, exquisitely rendered by Yuyi Morales. Together they have created a unique tribute to this innovative artist and also to the beauty and splendor of the islands of Hawaii. For more information on Amy Novesky and her work, please read our interview. (Ages 6-9. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
By Selina Alko
Inspired to give her daughter an alternative to the panoply of princess dress-up books, Selina Alko created Every-Day-Dress-Up for her. On Monday, she can become the First Lady of Flight Amelia Earhart and on Tuesday, Ella Fitzgerald the Queen of Jazz. The back of the book includes “biographies of a few great women” for further reading about our sheroes. There’s no need to purchase another pretty princess book, when you have this one full of modern day heroines for our daughters. (Ages 5-8. Publisher: Random House Children’s Books.)
By Claire A. Nivola
The beauty of Nivola’s book is the expansive sense, she creates with her story and breathtaking illustrations, for the immensity and wonder in our oceans. Once Sylvia Earle moved from her childhood farm in rural New Jersey to Florida, she begins her lifelong love affair with oceanography. Nivola perfectly captures “the magical twilight of deep indigo” while sharing its mysteries and abundance of life. Readers will find Earle’s adventures utterly awe-inspiring. (Ages 4-8. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
By Shana Corey
Whether you grew up selling Girl Scout cookies or not, there is much to learn from their founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. Daisy believed, “Every time you show your courage it grows.” After many exciting adventures, she decided she wanted to make a difference in the world. Thus, the Girl Scouts of America was born. Her handbook for girls includes interesting instructions on how to stop a runaway horse and how to find the time by the stars or the sun. Former girl scouts like Hilary Clinton, Rita Dove, and Gloria Steinem grace the back pages of the book along with an in-depth history of Daisy and her legacy. For more details on Shana Corey, you can read our interview. (Ages 4-8. Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.)
By Julie Cummins; illustrated by Cheryl Harness
Julie Cummins is something of an expert on remarkable women. As with her previous book Women Daredevils, she celebrates lesser known women who have made their mark in history, geography and social sciences at a time when they were expected to be proper ladies. Her profiles of Louise Arner Boyd, Nellie Cashman, Ynes Mexia, Lucy Evelyn Cheesman, Annie Smith Peck, Alexandrine Tinne, Delia Julia Denning Akeley, Violet Cressy-Marcks, Freya Stark and Daisy Bates will inspire little girls to look for their next adventure. (Ages 9-11. Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated)
By Q.L. Pearce; iIllustrated by Gina Capaldi
This captivating story follows Gertrude Simmons, known as Red Bird, as she leaves her family on the Sioux reservation to attend boarding school in Indiana and eventually become a leader for her people. As a student, she faces bigotry and racism with courage when she debates and wins for her school. In every detailed illustration, Capaldi has included a small red bird for children to discover and remind them of Red Bird’s bravery. Little Red Bird grows up to become Gertrude Simmons an activist for Native American rights and helps to build a bridge between cultures. (Ages 8-11. Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group)
By Trina Robbins; illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh
In this moving account of comic book artist Lily Renee Wilheim’s escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna to Leeds and eventually to New York, Trina Robbins has proven a master of storytelling. Her graphic novel is a suspenseful look at how Lily Renee suffered and starved to get way from a miserable woman in Leeds who mistreated her; to become a nurse during the Blitz; and then finally on to New York to be reunited with her parents. In New York, Lily Renee becomes a celebrated comic book artist and fights the Nazis through her heroines in Jane Martin and Senorita Rio who beats them. Anne Timmons and Mo Oh’s compelling illustrations make a fine tribute to this comic book pioneer. (Ages 10-13. Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group)
If you loved Kenyan aviatrix Beryl Markham’s moving memoir West of the Night, then you have to read Michaela MacColl’s Promise the Night. MacColl returns to the British East Africa of Markham’s youth and imagines her childhood. Beautifully written and realized, she describes how Markham grew up with a great sense of adventure and love for her country. Her adult journal entries at the beginning of each chapter provide a window into the woman Markham would become as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from England to North America. (Ages 10-13. Publisher: Chronicle Books)
By Penny Colman
Much like gifted writer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Penny Coleman has penned an exceptional book on a friendship that helped women surmount incredible obstacles to win the right to vote. Despite enormous opposition, together Cady Stanton and Anthony lead the suffrage movement to fight for women’s rights, “equal pay for equal work,” and lessen the oppression they have witnessed. This is not a dry boring historical account, but a riveting read. (Ages 12-17. Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.)
Nicki Richesin is the editor of four anthologies,What I Would Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On To, and Letting Go of Their Daughters; Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond; Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love; and The May Queen: Women on Life, Work, and Pulling it all Together in your Thirties. Her anthologies have been excerpted and praised in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Redbook, Parenting, Cosmopolitan, Bust, Salon, Daily Candy, and Babble.
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