Saturday, March 1, 2014

Women's history all year long

March 1 - Today's post contributed by Margo Tanenbaum and Lisa Taylor
Welcome to the fourth annual celebration of women's history in literature for young people!

This year, to ensure that each post receives the attention it deserves, we'll be adding posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (though we reserve the right to sneak in an extra if necessary).  Posts will feature insightful essays from authors, illustrators, librarians and book bloggers. Most will feature great new or upcoming books!See the list of this year's participants in the sidebar.

Please, follow us, check back often, and use the site as a resource for including women's history
 in your libraries, homes, and classrooms all year long.

To start you off, here are a few of our suggestions for doing just that!

Books that have been featured on KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month will link back to the appropriate post(s).


Zora Neale Hurston's birth date is January 7.  A writer and anthropologist, she collected southern folktales, many which were adapted for younger children by Joyce Carol Thomas.  Add a tale from What's the Hurry, Fox?: and other animal stories (Harper Collins, 2004) to your storytime.  Explain Hurston's role in preserving these stories.


George Washington's birthday is February 22nd.  Share the story of how First Lady, Dolley Madison, saved one of the most iconic paintings of George Washington when British forces sacked and burned the White House in 1814, Dolley Madison Saves George Washington by Don Brown. (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)
The Gilbert Stuart portrait of
George Washington  saved by Dolley Madison.
(public domain artwork from the White House Collection)


Of course March is Women's History Month.  Peruse this blog, or search its Index to find innumerable suggestions for sharing great books and information.


April is National Poetry Month
.  Read Emily and Carlo by Marty Rhodes Figley aloud, or suggest The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, by Catherine Reef. Share Phillis Sings Out Freedom by Ann Malaspina or Phillis' Big Test by Catherine Clinton. Read Liberty's Voice: The Story of Emma Lazarus by Erica Silverman.  These are just a few books about female poets that have been shared on KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month.

Don't neglect living poets!  Read a book by Mary Ann Hoberman, who made history by becoming the United States' second Children's Poet Laureate, and its first female Children's Poet Laureate.

April is also host to Arbor Day, a perfect day to share a book about Wangari Maatthai. Try Donna Jo Napoli's Mama Miti.

Earth Day is in April, too.  How about Rachel Carson and her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor?

April is also National Autism Awareness Month.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a better autism spokesperson than Temple Grandin. Booktalk or suggest Temple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World, by Sy Montgomery.

Jazz Appreciation Month - also in April. Try Skit-Skat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxanne Orgill or The Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World by Marilyn Nelson.


On May 5, 1864, Nellie Bly was born. A woman in a man's world, she was a globetrotting reporter - breaking new ground in travel, reporting , and social mores. In short, she was a world-wide phenomenon. The Daring Nelly Bly: America's Star Reporter (Dragonfly, 2009) by Bonnie Christensen, is a picture book biography suitable for sharing aloud.

On May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight by flying 2,026 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland. Commemorate the day with a reading of Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic (Simon & Schuster, 2011).


June 23, 1972 was a milestone in the modern fight for equal rights. It is the day that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, was signed into law. This legislation guarantees equal access and equal opportunity for females in almost all aspects of our educational systems.  If you interact with older girls (especially athletes), be sure they're aware of Karen Blumenthal's landmark book, Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America.


July 2 is the anniversary of Amelia Earhart's plane being lost in the Pacific Ocean.  Learn about Amelia through Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, by Candace Fleming, or one of the many other books about this iconic figure in women's history.

For the Fourth of July, learn about our founding mothers in Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies, by Cokie Roberts.

Celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Fanny Farmer's School of Cookery in Boston (August 23, 1902) by reading Fannie in the Kitchen:  the Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fanny Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements, by Deborah Hopkinson (recently re-issued in e-book!)

For Library Card Sign-up Month, read about one of the first children's librarians, Anne Carroll Moore, in Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough.

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15-Oct 15) provides an opportunity to learn about notable Hispanic women such as Sonia Sotomayor, our first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.  Check out Sonia Sotomayor:  a Judge Grows in the Bronx, by Jonah Winter.  Or read about labor activist Dolores Huerta in Dolores Huerta: a Hero to Migrant Workers, by Sarah E. Warren.


Fire Prevention Week is an opportune time to read Molly, by Golly! : The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter by Diane Ochiltree (Calkins Creek, 2012).

Celebrate the birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11) by reading the newest children's book about her by Leslie Kimmelman, Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic.

See Eleanor, bottom left, with hot dog!


Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by reading about Native American woman--beyond Pocahontas and Sacajawea.  Try She Sang Promise by Jan Godown Annino, Red Bird Sings, by Gina Capaldi, or Native Women of Courage, by Kelly Fournel.

Celebrate the birthdays of:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12) with Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone; Civil War surgeon Mary Walker (November 26) with Mary Walker Wears the Pants:  The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer, and Civil War Hero by Cheryl Harness; and beloved author Louisa May Alcott (November 29) with Louisa May's Battle  How the Civil War Led to Little Women, by Kathleen Krull.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to share Thank you Sarah:  The Woman who Saved Thanksgiving, by Kathleen Krull, about Sarah Hale's campaign to have Thanksgiving recognized as a federal holiday.


In addition to celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa, think about celebrating Human Rights Month by reading about labor activist Clara Lemlich in Brave Girl:  Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909.

Wyoming was the first territory to give women the right to vote (December 10, 1869).  Read I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote, by Linda Arms White.

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