|Amazing “Women Making History in Portland” mural|
Sadly what still appears to happen in school in this country is that the history that is taught to our children still remains more focused on the accomplishments of men. History was one of my favorite subjects in school and I so loved it that I even went on to get one of my university degrees in history. One of the papers I wrote and still remember well was about Native American women warriors. Yet I can tell you as a History major that there never was much of a focus on the contributions of women.
Recently though I spotted a book called Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh. Spotting that one book led me to a wonderful discovery – that there are more incredible books out there that focus on the history of women and many have been written for children. As a mom to two little girls I was doubly excited about adding these books to our family library. One of my goals is to raise confident daughters with healthy and positive self images. Sharing with them the stories of the many trailblazing women in history not only allows us to honor all the women who came before, but also gives them models and opens up to them all the possibilities that lie before them.
Here is a list of books that I am incredibly excited about reading and if you know of any books not mentioned that cover the history and contributions of women please leave a comment.
The women featured in Her Story range from writers, artists, actors, and athletes to doctors, scientists, social and political activists, educators, and inventors, and include women of all backgrounds and philosophies. The authors of Her Story, Charlotte S. Waisman and Jill S. Tietjen, have compiled an extraordinary collection of women and events that provides a unique view of history. Part of Her Story‘s distinctiveness is the inclusion of hundreds of lesser-known women from all walks of life who have broken barriers and created paths of noteworthy and inspiring achievement.
In her Foreword to the book, Madeleine Albright comments, “Spanning the centuries from 1587 . . . this book will allow women and men to become more aware of and informed about the women who have been instrumental in giving us the quality of life we enjoy today. Often stepping outside of the expected modes of behavior for women during their lives, the profiled women were the pioneers for their causes, their professions, or their passions. Their accomplishments have advanced the arts, the sciences, politics, and business.”
by Catherine Thimmesh
In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have come up with ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?
by Catherine Thimmesh
They study the night sky, watch chimpanzees in the wild, and dig up ancient clay treasures. They search the beach for rare fossils, photograph old rock carvings, explore the hazards of lead poisoning, and wander into dark caves. And in their watching, digging, and wandering, they become discoverers. Young and old, they are women and girls who discover seventy-million-year-old sea lizards, the very origins of counting and writing, Stone Age cave art, mysterious matter in the universe, and how a puddle of water can be sanitized when heated by the sun.
by Catherine Thimmesh
When Abigail Adams asked her husband to “Remember the Ladies,” women could not vote or own property in America. Some seventy years later, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote, “To vote is the most sacred act of citizenship,” the government of the United States still did not treat women as equals, having yet to grant them the right to vote. But sixty-four years after that, Geraldine Ferraro declared, “We can do anything,” and became the first American woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Today, surely our country is ready for a leader who, as Elizabeth Dole said, “will call America to her better nature.” This captivating book illuminates the bravery and tenacity of the women who have come before us. With an engaging narrative, fascinating quotes, and elegant illustrations, it not only shows how far women have come but also reveals the many unsung roles women have played in political history. Step by step, these capable ladies have paved the way for our young leaders of tomorrow. They have enabled and empowered us to ask today: Well, why not the presidency?
by Jeannine Atkins (Author), and Paula Conner (Illustrator)
The New York Public Library Amazing Women in American History: A Book of Answers for Kids (The New York Public Library Books for Kids)
by Sue Heinemann
by Cynthia Chin-Lee (Author), Megan Halsey (Illustrator), Sean Addy (Illustrator)
An introduction to 26 diverse, 20th-century women who have made a difference in such varied fields as the arts, sports, journalism, science, and entertainment. The entries include Dolores Huerta, Frida Kahlo, Lena Horne, Maya Lin, and Patricia Schroeder. Determination, imagination, perseverance, and strength are what bind them together. Entries are arranged alphabetically by first name; each woman is featured on a full page that includes a two-paragraph introduction, a quote, and striking mixed-media art that illustrates the essence of the person. There is sophistication in both the quotes and in the art, encouraging repeated readings. The nuggets of information should inspire readers and leave them with a thirst to know more about these women.