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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Womens History Month, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 83
1. Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm by Karen Deans, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

It's Women's History Month and this year's theme is Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives, so I thought I would begin the month with a new picture book for older readers that introduces them to the remarkable International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

Shortly after I began this blog, I reviewed a wonderful middle grade book by Marilyn Nelson called  Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World.   But where Nelson's book covers the kind of music and the places where the Sweethearts played, Swing Sisters begins at the beginning.

In 1909, near Jackson, Mississippi a school/orphanage called Piney Woods Country Life School was started by Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones for African American girls.

The girls were educated, housed, clothed and fed and in return they all did chores to help keep things running smoothly and well.  In 1939, Dr. Jones started a band that he called the Sweethearts with some musically talented girls to help raise money for the school.  The music they played was called swing or big band music, by either name it was Jazz and people couldn't get enough of it.

Dean describes how the girls stayed together after leaving Piney Woods, hoping to make a living as musicians.  They would live, sleep, eat and play music, traveling around from gig to gig in a bus they called Big Bertha.  Band members came and went, and before long the band was no longer made up of only African American women, but included many races and nationalities.  As a result, they decided to call themselves the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

But while the band hit the big time, they still didn't get paid as much as their male counterparts nor were they taken as seriously, no matter how good they were.  Not only that, Dean points out, but in the Jim Crow south, because they were interracial now, traveling and performing became risky and she includes some of those scary, dangerous incidents they faced.

In 1945, as World War II was winding down, the Sweethearts found themselves on a USO tour thanks to a letter writing campaign by African American soldiers.  But sadly, the Sweethearts disbanded after the war and the members went their separate ways.

Dean does an excellent job of introducing the Sweethearts to her young readers and the difficulties an all-women's interracial band faced back in the 1940s balancing it with positive events and the strong bonds of friendship among all the members.

Cepeda's colorful acrylic and oil painted illustrations match the energy of the music the Sweethearts played with a bright rainbow palette of greens, pinks, purples, yellows, blues and orange.

So many wonderful books are coming out now introducing young readers to some of the greatest artists and musicians of the 20th century and this book is such a welcome addition.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was bought for my personal library

You can see for yourself just how good the Sweethearts were in their heyday:

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2. Looking ahead to Women’s History Month


Each March, in addition to working, blogging here at the ALSC Blog and at Shelf-employed, I host KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month! along with fellow librarian and blogger, Margo Tanenbaum, of The Fourth Musketeer.

Active only during Women’s History Month,  the blog features readers, commenters, and contributors working together to create a dynamic resource of thoughtful and thought-provoking essays, commentaries, and book reviews. Each post is related to children’s literature and women’s history.

The blog is a great resource for finding new books (we’ll be featuring several new and upcoming titles!) and useful links. Previous contributors include Jen Bryant, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Donna Jo Napoli, and Betsy Bird.  Contributors for 2015 include Emily Arnold McCully (Queen of the Diamond), Misty Copeland (Firebird), Michaela McColl (The Revelation of Louisa May), and more.

The complete 2015 lineup may be found on the site’s sidebar.  You can sign up to follow the blog, or receive it via email. Visit the site at http://kidlitwhm.blogspot.com to see “following” options, an archive of past contributions, and links to educational resources.  It’s suitable for parents and teachers, too.

The official Women’s History Month theme for 2015, is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” If you’ve got great plans for WHM, please share! :)

In March, stop here first, then head on over to KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month!

KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month blog header by Rebekah Louise Designs.

The post Looking ahead to Women’s History Month appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers

When Marvel announced Girl Comics four years ago it unleashed a firestorm of outrage (just check out the comments if you care in the link). Now they are announcing a whole month of variant covers by female artists and everyone thinks it’s A-OK! Because suddenly women read comics.

The event will celebrate Women’s History Month in March but also spotlight some of Marvel’s most popular artists. “2014 was a huge year for Women of Marvel, both in our comics and behind the scenes,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso in a statement. “Marvel now has more titles starring female leads than ever before, the Women of Marvel panel is one of the most highly attended at conventions, and the weekly Women of Marvel podcast continues to grow.  In 2015, we intend to continue that tradition, and March’s Women of Marvel variant covers — featuring 20 of the best female artists in the industry – is just the beginning.”

Here’s the complete list…and eight covers released so far, by some of the top cover artists out there such as Sana Takeda, Sara PIchelli, Colleen Doran, Amanda Conner and MORE. Can’t wait to see the whole list!

  • All-New Captain America #5 by TBD
  • All-New Hawkeye #1 by SHO MURASE
  • All-New X-Men #39 by FAITH ERIN HICKS
  • Amazing Spider Man 16 Doyle WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Amazing Spider-Man #16 by MING DOYLE
  • Ant Man 3 Cook WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Ant-Man #3 by KATIE COOK
  • Avengers #42 by TBD
  • Black Widow #16 by VANESA DEL REY
  • Captain Marvel #13 by AFUA RICHARDSON
  • Deadpool #43 by TBD
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 25 Henderson WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #25 by ERICA HENDERSON
  • Inhuman #13 by JILL THOMPSON
  • Legendary Star Lord 10 Takeda WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Legendary Star-Lord #10 by SANA TAKEDA
  • Ms. Marvel #13 by TBD
  • New Avengers #31 by SARA PICHELLI
  • Rocket Raccoon 9 Lee WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Rocket Raccoon #9 by JANET LEE
  • SHIELD 4 Doran WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 by COLLEEN DORAN
  • Superior Iron Man #6 by TBD
  • Thor 7 Hans WOM Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Thor #6 by TBD (Above image by Stephanie Hans)
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 by GURIHIRU
  • Uncanny Avengers #3 by AMANDA CONNER
  • Uncanny X Men 33 Stacey Lee Women of Marvel Variant Marvel unveils Women of Marvel Variant Covers
  • Uncanny X-Men #33 by STACEY LEE



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4. Read & Romp Roundup: March 2014

Welcome to the March Read & Romp Roundup! Women's History Month was celebrated widely in March, so several of the submissions feature women who have broken boundaries in the world of dance -- the African American ballerina Janet Collins and the inspiring dancer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker. And of course, no roundup would be complete without picture books and movement ideas to go with them, which are also included. Enjoy!

At Good Reads with Ronna, Rita Zobayan reviews the popular new picture book A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream by Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper. "Inspired by the story of Janet Collins, the first African American ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream is a story of high hopes and grand dreams," says Rita. Read the full review to see why this "wonderful tale of courage, perseverance, and determination" brought tears to her eyes.

Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month hosts special guest blogger Kristy Dempsey -- the author of A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream. What a treat! Hear from the author herself about her inspiration and experience writing the book. "A Dance Like Starlight is my song of thanks to all the women throughout history who have shown us who we can be and have given us an example to pursue our dreams with passion," Kristy says.

At Booktalking #Kidlit, Anastasia Suen features the new picture book Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby and Christian Robinson. Josephine struggled in her early life but became a celebrated dancer and performer after moving from the United States to Paris in the 1920's. Anastasia's post includes a snippet of text from the book, which is written in free verse. It also includes a book trailer and plenty of examples of the book's illustrations, which are stunning.

Maria from Maria's Movers shares some creative activities to go with the picture book The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer and Pierr Morgan. With her younger students, Maria used long colorful strings (as squiggles) to explore some of the ideas from the book, and with her older students she made up string dances!

And finally, don't forget to check out the March Book to Boogie post at the Library as Incubator Project. Dance educator Liz Vacco shares movement ideas to go with the classic picture book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. She includes ideas for both younger and older students and recommends music to go with the movement!

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5. Writing nonfiction that honors women in history: an interview with Tracey Fern

As I explore Women's History Month with students, I want to help them think about how they can honor women in history. We talk about honoring women in their lives, because for young students the immediate it so important. But I'm also fascinated by the way authors investigate women whose stories we might not have heard yet.

Today, I'm thrilled to share with you an interview with Tracey Fern about her journey to learn about the life of Eleanor Prentiss and then writing Dare the Wind. My questions are in red; Tracey's answers follow in black.

MS: How did you first learn about Eleanor? What drew you to her story?

TF: I first learned about Eleanor when I was browsing through my local bookstore and happened upon David Shaw's book, Flying Cloud. I'm always on the lookout for strong female characters, and so I knew instantly that I wanted to write about Eleanor. Eleanor's story also combined adventure and science, two elements that I'm also often drawn toward. Finally, I'm a Massachusetts gal who grew up with the ocean and the beach in my backyard, and I love that Eleanor grew up here, too!

MS: Did you travel at all to do your research? What was your research process like?

TF: I traveled to Marblehead, Massachusetts while writing Dare the Wind. Marblehead was Eleanor's home town, and parts of the town still look much the way I imagine they looked when Eleanor walked its cobbled streets. I also visited the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut and toured the USS Constitution in Boston harbor to get myself in a seafaring state of mind! My research process for this book was different from my usual research, because there are relatively few primary sources available. As a result, I relied more heavily on secondary sources than I typically do.

MS: I was amazed at how well you conveyed being on a ship at sea in a storm. Have you sailed like this at all?

TF: Thank you! I've been sailing before but never under the challenging conditions that Eleanor faced. I'm so happy that I could convey the sensations of being on a ship at sea in a storm to readers.
MS: Did you provide any guidance to Emily McCully to help her make sure the illustrations were historically accurate? What details do you want children to notice in the illustrations?

TF: I adore Emily's illustrations! She did her own research to ensure that her illustrations were accurate. I did send Emily a very detailed description of the Flying Cloud that was published at the time of the ship's launch. Some of the details that I love in Emily's illustrations are the wonderful spread of the Flying Cloud at the pier in New York City, the view of Ellen (Eleanor) below deck working on her charts which beautifully captures the feeling of motion in the tilt of the lamp above her head, and the cover illustration which shows the figurehead of an angel on the prow of the ship, mirroring Ellen and her telescope on deck. I especially love the cover illustration because it seems to capture the forward movement of Ellen's amazing journey!
MS: What was the most surprising thing you learned about Eleanor doing your research?

TF: The most surprising thing about Eleanor was just how ahead of her time she was. Not only did she assumed the role of navigator at a time when that was absolutely atypical for a woman, she also embraced the new navigational theories of Matthew Fontaine Maury, which went against the prevailing wisdom of the time. Eleanor was clearly a force to be reckoned with!

MS: Did you have to leave anything out that you really wanted to include?

TF: There's always so much more I'd love to include in all of my books! Believe it or not, Eleanor's journey was filled with even more exciting incidents, including a threatened mutiny that I simply couldn't include. I would have also loved to have included more details about Donald McKay, the builder of the Flying Cloud, and the ship-building process, but perhaps that's material for another book!

Thanks so much for your interest in Dare the Wind!

Thank you, Tracey! I loved sharing this story with students, and hearing their reactions. Eleanor was definitely a force to be reckoned with!

For more information, definitely check out Tracey's website. Illustration copyright © 2013 by Emily Arnold McCully, shared by permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Margaret Ferguson Books, Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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6. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 28

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Authors and Illustrators

2 of our faves | Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast » Featuring Kady MacDonald Denton and Rosemary Wells http://ow.ly/v8NkW

This is cool! Pippi Longstocking Author Astrid Lindgren Gets a Spot on Sweden’s 20 Krona Note @GalleyCat via @tashrow http://ow.ly/v8Lal

Happy Birthday, Kate DiCamillo! from @kidlitwhm http://ow.ly/uXeXd #kidlit

Barbro Lindgren Wins 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award http://ow.ly/uXBLh #kidlit via @PWKidsBookshelf

Book Lists

Recommended Superhero Comics for Kids by @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/v5jez #kidlit

10 Counting Books set in the Garden from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/v5jjD #kidlit

Stacked: Crossing the Line: Adult-Teen Relationships in YA Fiction and Beyond by @catagator http://ow.ly/uXfr5 #yalit

10 Books With Female Leads and No (or Little) Romance, recommended by @Book_Nut http://ow.ly/uUPCa #kidlit #yalit

Nice #booklist from @ReadingRockets about Being Brave http://ow.ly/uR8QU via @ChoiceLiteracy

List NSTA: Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12: 2014 http://ow.ly/uQ3Ak via @FuseEight #commoncore

Diversity + Gender

A thorough and excellent response from @LaurelSnyder to someone who objected to seeing gay parents in Penny Dreadful http://ow.ly/v5iBw

Emerson's Museum of Amazing Women, Part 3, by @MaryAnnScheuer (featuring @jenniholm and Alex Morgan) http://ow.ly/v5kHC

Check out yesterday's KQED Roundtable: People of Color Underrepresented in Children's Books. http://ow.ly/uXeJp via @bkshelvesofdoom

10 Diverse YA Historicals About Girls In honor of Women's History Month http://ow.ly/uUQ81 @diversityinya via @catagator

10 Diverse Poetry Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/uUOlj #kidlit

Stacked: Wrapping Up the "About the Girls" series http://ow.ly/uUPJo #yalit


A #Poetry Challenge for Kids for April (Poetry Month) from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/v8Mbd #kidlit

2014 3030 logo1GottaBook: Announcing the 2014 Redux-Edition of 30 Poets/30 Days! from @gregpincus http://ow.ly/v8KCi

Press Release Fun: Voting Now Open for the 7th Annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards! — @fuseeight @CBCBook http://ow.ly/uXflh

Growing Bookworms

Zoobean Debuts A Recommendation Service For Children’s Apps And Books | @TechCrunch http://ow.ly/v5qn2 via @PWKidsBookshelf

“That was intense!”: Getting Boys Excited About Books by @erniec + @mhorateach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/v8MC2 

"Never underestimate the power of a book, espec (in)... the hands of the child that needs to hear what it has to say" http://ow.ly/uUP0J

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

A new phenomenon: The $300/hr Book Group Facilitator | @medinger http://ow.ly/v5kZH

Top-selling children's and YA books for 2013 - Divergent trilogy led the pack (combined) http://ow.ly/v5jYH via @100scopenotes #kidlit

"No story stole my heart like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" Natalie Lloyd @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uXfcp #kidlit

How Sweet It Is: The 50th Anniversary of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' http://ow.ly/uXBSU @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Programs and Research

iPad Use and Babies: A Pediatrician throws a wrench in the works and @fuseeight has some good quesitons http://ow.ly/v8MYI

Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success - includes #RedSox #literacy analogy http://ow.ly/v5dqF via @librareanne

Interesting ... People Who Use E-Readers Dive Far Deeper Into Books | @TheUnderwire via @tashrow http://ow.ly/uQ2dY

Schools and Libraries

Great News! Santa Clara City Council approves plan to get Northside Library back on track! http://ow.ly/uZujI @SantaClaraLib

Helping Young Readers Become Independent, a @ChoiceLiteracy post by Katie DiCesare http://ow.ly/uR8Lk

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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7. Entitling early modern women writers

By Andrew Zurcher

As Women’s History Month draws to a close in the United Kingdom, it is a good moment to reflect on the history of women’s writing in Oxford’s scholarly editions. In particular, as one of the two editors responsible for early modern writers in the sprawling collections of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO), I have been going through the edited texts of women writers included in the OSEO project, and thinking about how well even the most celebrated women writers from the period 1500 – 1700 are represented in this new digital format. In short, early modern English women writers have fared, perhaps predictably, badly.

The essayist, philosopher, and historian Francis Bacon has his place, in the Oxford Francis Bacon in fifteen volumes; but the philosopher and poet and essayist and dramatist and prose writer Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle, does not. Philip Sidney, famous for his pastoral poems, appeared in a stunningly erudite Oxford edition by William Ringler, Jr. in 1962, now like the Bacon edition a part of OSEO; Katherine Philips, also famous for her pastoral poetry, limps in to the Oxford fold in a 1905 text lightly edited by George Saintsbury, which also includes the minor Caroline poets Patrick Hannay, William Chamberlayne, and Edward Benlowes. Aphra Behn, one of the most prolific writers of the Restoration, hardly figures at all in OSEO, and the Oxford list does not include complete works for Isabella Whitney, Mary Herbert, Amelia Lanyer, or Mary Wroth.

Among those lyric poems and short works by women that are included in OSEO, many return to the silencing of a woman’s voice, the disabling of her love, and the banishment of her person. Typical is Mary Wroth’s “83 Song”, first published in Peter Davidson’s anthology, Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse 1625-1660. Recognising that “the time is come to part” with her “deare”, the woman speaker of the poem gives up not only her own happiness, but his unhappiness. She goes to “woe”, while he goes to “more joy”:

Where still of mirth injoy thy fill,
One is enough to suffer ill:
My heart so well to sorrow us’d,
Can better be by new griefes bruis’d. (ll. 5-8)

The woman lover’s habituation to grief gives her a capacity for further bruising that, not without irony, she embraces as an ethical duty. Hers is a voice constructed for loss and for complaint, so much so that she cannot escape from this loss, and the woes that “charme” her, except by death – as the concluding stanza of the song suggests:

And yett when they their witchcrafts trye,
They only make me wish to dye:
But ere my faith in love they change,
In horrid darknesse will I range. (ll. 17-20)

For Wroth’s loving, jilted woman speaker, identity is constructed out of a wronged fidelity; the two options remaining to her are complaint and oblivion.

Complaint was still a powerful mode for women writers during the Restoration – certainly a mode that modern editors have much privileged in anthologies. A poem by Aphra Behn, “A Paraphrase on Oenone to Paris”, has slipped in to OSEO‘s corpus through its inclusion in John Kerrigan’s wonderful anthology, Motives of Woe: Shakespeare and ‘Female Complaint’: A Critical Anthology.


In this poem the shepherdess Oenone challenges the Trojan prince Paris, who had won her love while keeping flocks on the slopes of Mount Ida; afterward discovering his true birthright, Paris has abandoned her, and sails for Sparta, there to ravish Menelaus’ queen, Helen, and set in train the events that will lead to the Trojan War. Toward the end of Behn’s long poem of complaint, Oenone reprehends her lover for his faithlessness with an argument that seems to gesture at Behn’s own public reputation:

How much more happy are we Rural Maids,
Who know no other Palaces than Shades?
Who want no Titles to enslave the Croud,
Least they shou’d babble all our Crimes aloud;
No Arts our good to show, our Ills to hide,
Nor know to cover faults of Love with Pride.
I lov’d, and all Loves Dictates did persue,
And never thought it cou’d be Sin with you.
To Gods, and Men, I did my Love proclaim
For one soft hour with thee, my charming Swain,
Wou’d Recompence an Age to come of Shame,
Cou’d it as well but satisfie my Fame.
But oh! those tender hours are fled and lost,
And I no more of Fame, or Thee can boast!
‘Twas thou wert Honour, Glory, all to me:
Till Swains had learn’d the Vice of Perjury,
No yielding Maids were charg’d with Infamy.
‘Tis false and broken Vows make Love a Sin,
Hadst thou been true, We innocent had been. (ll. 265-83)

The “Titles” that Oenone disclaims are those of honour, the courtly ranks and degrees to which women might be raised by their paternity, or by their advantageous marriages; wanting titles, shepherdesses can sport in the shades of innocence, their sexual crimes unremarked and undisplayed. The shame and infamy that now await Oenone spring directly from Paris’ perjury, for the woman’s reputation for immodesty flows from the exposure accomplished by her jilting. To her way of thinking, a crime is no crime until it is published; this is a logic she has learned from men, who cover up their own crimes with “Pride”. But “Titles” may also be those of published books, and the “Arts” Oenone lacks may be just those powers of “Pride” that always enable men to abandon women – in a broad sense, the power to speak falsely. What women do, cries Behn’s Oenone, has been betrayed by what men say; what can a woman write, that will not collude in her own untitling?

Early modern women writers have not been much or widely published. There are many reasons, of course, for this history of omission and scant commission. But so long as we continue to anthologize selections from the works of women writers from this period, and to bundle them in mixed fardels, we collude in a history or pattern of dis-titling, of allowing early modern women poets to complain, but not to speak in their more diverse collected works. This pattern is changing: important new editions of Wroth and Behn have appeared in the last few decades, and – closer to home – the works of the translator and poet Lucy Hutchinson, in a meticulously edited text from David Norbrook and Reid Barbour, have recently joined the Oxford list and the OSEO fold. Other early modern women writers will surely follow. As Women’s History Month comes to an end, it’s high time we put a period to infamy, shame, oblivion, and bruising.

Andrew Zurcher is a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and a member of the Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO) editorial board.

Scholarly editions are the cornerstones of humanities scholarship, and Oxford University Press’s list is unparalleled in breadth and quality. Now available online, Oxford Scholarly Editions Online provides an interlinked collection of these authoritative editions. Discover more by taking a tour of the site.

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Image Credit: Aphra Behn by Mary Beale. Image available on public domain via WikiCommons

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8. Is our language too masculine?

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As Women’s History month comes to a close, we wanted to share an important debate that Simon Blackburn, author of Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, participated in for IAITV. Joined by Scottish feminist linguist Deborah Cameron and feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan, they look at what we can do to build a more feminist language.

Is our language inherently male? Some believe that the way we think and the words we use to describe our thoughts are masculine. Looking at our language from multiple points of views – lexically, philosophically, and historically – the debate asks if it’s possible for us to create a gender neutral language. If speech is fundamentally gendered, is there something else we can do to combat the way it is used so that it is no longer – at times – sexist?

What do you think can be done to build a more feminist language?

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Doury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1999 a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the author of Ethics: A Very Short Introduction.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS, and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

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9. Emerson's Museum of Amazing Women, Part 3

Women's History Month inspires kids in so many different ways. Here are two modern women that our kids look up to: author Jennifer Holm, and soccer star Alex Morgan. Each of these women gives the message to all our kids: you can follow your dreams and become whoever you want to be.

Emily had a lot of fun making an Animoto about her favorite author Jennifer Holm. Many of our students love Holm's Babymouse series (did you know Happy Birthday, Babymouse comes out in 3 weeks?!), but Emily also gives a shout-out for Turtle in Paradise, Holm's novel set in 1930s Key West.

Madeline honors Alex Morgan, an American soccer player and Olympic gold medalist. Madeline was so excited to try out using Animoto -- and I'm really excited to learn about a new sport hero our girls admire.
I just learned that Alex Morgan is writing a new series perfect for kids in 4th through 6th grade:
Booklist writes of the first Kicks installment, Saving the Team:
U.S. women’s soccer team player and Olympic medalist Morgan’s enthusiasm for the game is evident throughout this light and lively contemporary read. Though there are some predictable story elements, Devin is an appealing protagonist whose peppy first-person narrative incorporates abundant soccer details, along with familiar themes of making friends and the value of teamwork.
Stay tuned for my Animoto showing all the great posters that students have made. Thanks very much for celebrating Women's History Month with Emerson students!

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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10. Dare the Wind: a tale of courage and calculations for Women's History Month (ages 6-10)

I've always been amazed at the journeys gold prospectors underwent to travel to California in the 1840s and 1850s. Can you imagine taking a covered wagon across the Rockies or a clipper ship around Cape Horn? If these voyages fascinate you, I highly recommend Tracy Fern's new picture book, a biography of Eleanor "Ellen" Prentiss, who navigated the fastest clipper ship to sail from New York to San Francisco.
Dare the Wind
by Tracy Fern
illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2014
your local library
ages 6-10
*best new book*
Ellen Prentiss loved the sea her whole life, but she was no ordinary little girl. Her father taught her how to sail his trading schooner and use complicated navigating tools like a sextant, and soon she was sailing her own ship, racing the fishing fleet across Massachusetts Bay.

Ellen married Perkins Creesy, a ship's captain, and soon they were sailing together, with Ellen navigating their ship. When Perkins was given command of The Flying Cloud, a fast new clipper ship built to take passengers and cargo from New York to the California Gold Rush, Ellen knew it was up to her to help find the fastest winds and swiftest route.
"She plotted a course to catch the strongest wind and current she could."
Tracy Fern builds this dramatic story, carefully helping children understand the difficulties Ellen, Prentiss and the crew faced. My students gasped when The Flying Cloud's mast broke, and you could see the worry on their faces as Ellen faced stormy weather around Cape Horn.
"Now is the time for caution, she thought. I can still read the sea."
Share this terrific story with young readers who are fascinated by science, math and adventure. They'll love how Ellen not only used her daring courage, but also clear calculations to find the fastest routes. As her father told her,
"A true navigator must have the caution to read the sea, as well as the courage to dare the wind." 
There are many excellent resources for children who are interested in this story. Check out the new LiveBinder page put together by the Junior Library Guild: Booktalks To Go. I also love the way that Tracey Fern has included some of her favorite links on her website.

Illustration copyright © 2013 by Emily Arnold McCully, shared by permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Margaret Ferguson Books, Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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11. Emerson's Museum of Amazing Women, Part 2

Here are two more great projects celebrating women that our students admire -- both have strong roots in the Bay Area as well as national garden movement.

Kaiyah honors her mom, Kelly Carlisle, founder of Acta Non Verba, a youth urban farm project in East Oakland. Kaiyah was particularly excited to try out using Animoto, and she did a terrific job combining bold text and pictures. Watch her Animoto by clicking through:

Bella honors Alice Waters, chef and activist. Our students at Emerson have loved having a school garden, a project that Waters has been particularly instrumental in spreading throughout the Berkeley schools.

Did you notice how Bella included her photo credits on the last slide? This made my librarian heart smile -- here's a student really incorporating Digital Citizenship lessons. Hooray!

These are the first digital projects that these students have done. I love how they've ventured into this new way of presenting information. If you have a chance, they would love to hear what you think about their projects. Leave a comment below if you can!

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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12. Emerson Museum of Amazing Women 2014, part 1

Emerson students have been so excited to share their projects on amazing women. I just love the way they're celebrating women who inspire them. Over the next week, I'd like to share several projects.

Orion was inspired by learning about Jane Goodall, through the Jane Goodall Institute and Patrick McDonnel's wonderful book Me, Jane. He worked with his parents to create a wonderful Animoto
-- click through to watch it.

Mykeia created a Google Presentation about Fantasia Bronno, an amazing winner of American Idol.

One of the things I've loved about this project is how excited the kids are to find out about these women and share their information in new and interesting ways. Because it isn't a required project, it's more fun to do! And, they've learned great presentation skills, while having fun.

If you see any projects that you like, it would mean a whole lot to our Emerson students if you left a quick note. Thanks so much learning about these great women --

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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13. Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss (ages 6-10)

Do you remember when you were a little kid and looked into the cockpit of an airplane? Wowwwww... all those controls and buttons and dials. I love sharing the story of early women pilots, and one of my favorites is Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee. Pair this with a great video interview of Maggie, which I'll include below.
Sky High:
The True Story of Maggie Gee
by Marissa Moss
illustrated by Carl Angel
Tricycle Press, 2009
your local library
ages 6 - 10
As a young girl, Maggie Gee longed to fly, but it wasn’t until World War II broke out that she was able to achieve this dream. One of only two Chinese-American women to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), Maggie’s passion for flying shines through in this biography of a true local hero. Gee went to UC Berkeley and was a longtime resident of Berkeley after her days in the WASP.
Maggie Gee
WASP 44-W-9
Young kids often ask me, "Is this real? Is she still alive?" They're trying to put history into context. Maggie Gee lived in Berkeley for many years, passing away in February 2013. Here is a wonderful interview to share with students:

Older students might want to use this as a launching pad for talking with neighbors, family members and friends about their experiences when they were younger. I found this article about Maggie Gee in Bay Area Insider also very interesting.

The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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14. Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, by Tanya Lee Stone (ages 6-10)

Do we help our girls by sharing stories of women who broke through barriers, daring the world to accept them as they wanted to be seen? I definitely think we do. Who knows what our girls will want to do as they explore their passions and confront others' expectations. Tanya Lee Stone's upbeat portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell is a delight to share with young girls.
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?
The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
by Tanya Lee Stone
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2013
your local library
ages 6 - 10
Girls will like the way Tanya Lee Stone talks directly to them right from the beginning:
"I bet you've met plenty of doctors in your life. And I'll bet lots of them were women. Well, you might find this hard to believe, but there was once a time when girls weren't allowed to become doctors." Young readers will be drawn in by Stone's challenge: Who do you think changed all that?

Elizabeth Blackwell loved exploring new things, taking on challenges and doing the best she could. Don't you just love Marjorie Priceman's illustrations? As The Horn Book writes, they lend a perfect framework of energy and pacing to the text."
Even though she was rejected from 28 medical schools, Elizabeth kept pursuing her dream. Read this aloud with 1st through 4th graders, talking about what qualities helped Elizabeth persevere. See where you can see her courage, sense of self, and determination.

For more resources, definitely check out The Classroom Bookshelf, a blog created by four terrific professors of education and literacy. Their posts include a wealth of ideas for using books as a springboard for discussions and projects. They also always include many links to pursue for further information. Here are some gems they share about Elizabeth Blackwell:

Illustration copyright © 2013 by Marjorie Priceman, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?, written by Tanya Lee Stone. Published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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15. Review of Pure Grit

farrell pure grit Review of Pure GritPure Grit:
How American World War II
Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific

by Mary Cronk Farrell
Middle School, High School    Abrams    160 pp.
2/14    978-1-4197-1028-5    $24.95

There are many books written about young people enlisting in the military, being unprepared for the horrors of battle or tortures of capture, serving bravely, and coming home. But women? In direct fire? In POW camps? During World War II? Not so many, a void Farrell admirably fills with this account of the more than one hundred army and navy nurses who served in the Philippines during the bombing and evacuation of Manila, the Battle of Bataan, and the evacuation and surrender of Corregidor. During every battle and every retreat, and even within the walls of the POW camps (where many were incarcerated from 1942 to 1945), these nurses cared for the injured under the most primitive of conditions. Using information taken mainly from historical interviews and modern correspondence with the subjects’ relatives, Farrell directly confronts the horrors of war and the years of inhumane treatment in the POW camps. These women — malnourished, ill with diseases such as malaria, dysentery, and beriberi —
 established multiple hospital sites and often shouldered doctors’ medical duties. Many returned home with disabilities and lifelong medical problems; though many suffered from PTSD, no mental health services were available to them. The book design is double-columned utilitarianism; archival photographs vary in effectiveness: many are posed group shots while others are (understandably) grainy, offering context over clarity. The account concludes with a timeline, glossary, list of nurses, documentation, bibliography, suggested websites, and an index.

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The post Review of Pure Grit appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. Me, Frida: Frida Kahlo in San Francisco, by Amy Novesky and David Diaz (ages 6-10)

Frida Kahlo's artwork captures my imagination. I love introducing her artwork to younger students with the beautiful picture book Me, Frida by Amy Novesky and illustrated by David Diaz. Novesky focuses on how Frida really came into her own, discovering her own voice through her artwork.
Me, Frida
by Amy Novesky
illustrated by David Diaz
Abrams, 2010
your local library
ages 6-10
This lush picture book focuses on Frida Kahlo’s trip to San Francisco with her new husband, Diego Rivera. Frida felt so far away from home in our cool, gray city, but as she started exploring the city on her own and began painting she began to find a place for herself. The spread below shows Frida after she found her voice, painting "something great: a colorful wedding portrait of herself and Diego. She painted Diego big, and she painted herself small, just as the world saw them."
Glowing with vibrant, jewel-tone colors, this book will inspire young readers to learn more about this glorious artist. David Diaz's work is truly stunning. Head over to Amy Novesky's website to see more.

For older students, I would direct them to both the PBS website for the film The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo and the SFMOMA website from their exhibition on Frida Kahlo. In the SFMOMA site, check out the interesting multimedia resources for interactive features that kids (ages 9-12) will find interesting.
SFMOMA website's interactive feature on Frida Kahlo
Illustrations copyright 2010, David Diaz, shared with permission of the publishers. The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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17. Ain't I a Woman? Pulling today's kids into history with dynamic performances (ages 9-14)

Sojourner Truth, from nps.gov
I know in my heart that we can bore our kids with history or we can engage them, show them them that it matters, that it's wrought with conflict -- and we're still wrestling with many of these same conflicts today.

Try showing these two videos, with clips of powerful actresses reading Sojourner Truth's speech, Ain't I a Woman, and see what your kids think.

History.com -- Kerry Washington reads from Sojourner Truth's speech Ain't I a Woman

Kerry Washington combines the swagger of today's girls with Sojourner Truth's strong declarations. I like the way this video clip splices together parts of Truth's speech with Washington's reflections on why it's important to learn about history.

Alfre Woodward reads from Sojourner Truth's speech Ain't I a Woman

This video clip has much more of Sojourner Truth's speech, It would be very interesting to have kids watch both of these videos and talk about what each actress brings to their performance.
What questions does Truth ask that we could still ask today? What issues are we still wrestling with?
I would follow up this with reading aloud Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (read my full review here) -- one of my all-time-favorite nonfiction books.

Both of these videos came from Anthony Arnove, co-editor, along with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People's History of the United States. See more at Arnove's You Tube channel.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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18. "When I'm Good, I'm Very Good. But When I'm Bad I'm Better."

 Mae West spoke those provocative lines in the movie I'm No Angel, and women have been identifying with it ever since. But women were bad a lot further back than that 1933 movie. Find twenty-six of the world's most notorious females in Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, & Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, with illustrations by Rebecca Guay.

Modern Times and Changing Gender Roles

If Salome dropped her veils today, would we call her bad? Or would we arrest her parents for a variety of crimes against a child? If Mata Hari made up a whole new self tomorrow and danced her way into a criminal lifestyle, would we execute her or send her to counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder? Would we encourage Lizzie Borden to move into her own apartment, Bloody Mary to establish an ecumenical council, and Typhoid Mary to take some nursing courses at a community college? Would we still consider these women bad? Or would we consider them victims of bad circumstances? As our world changes, so does our definition of bad. Especially when it comes to half the world's population--the half that happens to be female.

With women's relatively new rights--to speak out, to vote, to have power over their own bodies--comes a new set of responsibilities. Women are no longer required to do a man's bidding--no matter whether that bidding is legal or not. But no longer can a woman say that she was just followign a man and count that as justification for bad acts.

We measure guilt and innocence today on a sliding scale. And never has it been easier for the general public to "weigh" the misdeeds of its favorite modern-day bad girls. The nightly news, tabloids, blogs, and the fast pace of the Internet all make sure of this. Today, as throughout history, the court of public opinion is capable of swaying or tempering the criminal courts.

Now that you have been introduced to some of history's bad girls, you will have to decide for yourself if they were really bad, not so bad, or somewhere in the middle. And perhaps you will see that even the baddest of bad girls may have had a good reason for what she did.

from the Conclusion of Bad Girls

March is Women's History Month!

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19. Digital projects to celebrate Emerson's Museum of Amazing Women

Emerson students are having so much fun creating projects to celebrate amazing women this month. Some are researching pop stars, others are celebrating their mothers or teachers. I'm excited to share two digital ways to create projects.

Animoto is an easy-to-use online video creation site that you can use to create short, dynamic slide shows. Kids love the music and movement. I love that you can add just a few words with the images to really communicate your ideas. Plus, it's free (for short videos)!

Here's an Animoto I created to celebrate Gabby Douglas, Olympic champion:

Our 4th and 5th graders are also learning how to use their school Google accounts, and some are taking the challenge to create a Google Presentation. Again, they love using images! For many kids, this is much easier than creating a poster board.

Here's an example I created about Jane Goodall. I really tried to show the kids how one simple picture with a short caption can communicate a lot of what you admire about a person. We talk about how this presentation doesn't have much of a conclusion, that I could have put in more of my own ideas.

I'm excited to see what projects the students create! Are your students creating anything using new digital tools that they love? There are so many to choose from!!

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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20. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 14

CTwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Tons of links around gender this week, as you would expect right in the middle of Women's History Month. 

Book Lists and Awards

Start your voting engines! Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards voting will open March 25: http://bit.ly/1gf3ZPr ! @cbcbook #CCBA14

5 Comic Strip Anthologies for Kids recommended by @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/uz6pn #kidlit

2014 is The Year of the Whale, declares @100scopenotes + he has books to prove it http://ow.ly/uz6AE #kidlit

Suggestions for a dinosaur-themed storytime from @lochwouters http://ow.ly/uz6Gv #kidlit #commoncore

Booklist: A Tuesday Ten: Citizens of Fairyland | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/uvWuA #kidlit #sff

Read Aloud Chapter Books for 4 and 5 (and 6) Year Olds @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/uqQTc #kidlit

Kid-tested list | The Top Ten Favorite Picture Books So Far in @SagesHoots class | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uoxS5 #kidlit

Stacked's latest Get Genrefied zooms in on Fairy Tale Re-tellings (there are MANY) http://ow.ly/ujWtW #yalit

Congratulations to @medinger ! Africa is My Home is a 2014 Children’s Africana Book Award Winner http://ow.ly/umFMw #kidlit

The 2014 Lambda Literary Award Finalists have been announced. See list at @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umF6c #yalit

NAACP Outstanding Literary Work Awards via @tashrow + @FuseEight http://ow.ly/ujWHh #kidlit #yalit

Diversity and Gender

Is your default character white and male? asks @haleshannon | I, too, have noticed this with my child's toys (male) http://ow.ly/uqPqB

Stacked: I love "unlikable," I write "unlikable," and I am "unlikable" @tehawesomersace on "Unlikable" Girls http://ow.ly/uz6wt #yalit

Guest Post @cynleitichsmith : Ellen Oh on The Ongoing Problem with Sexism http://ow.ly/uvVpb

Stacked: @CherylRainfield , A Hero for Girls: Guest Post by Jennifer Brown http://ow.ly/uvWBk #yalit

Stacked: Positive Girl Friendships in YA: Guest Post by Jessica Spotswood http://ow.ly/utOpx #yalit

Stacked: The Unlikable Female Protagonist: A Field Guide to Identification in the Wild -- Guest Post by Sarah McCarry http://ow.ly/uqTt5

One example of why we should care about the Campaign: Let Books Be Books via @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umxd4 #LetBooksBeBooks

Gender-specific children’s books are easier to sell, insists children's book publisher| Independent http://ow.ly/uudlA @PWKidsBookshelf

Parents push to end gender division of boys' and girls' books | @GuardianBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uuddj #letbooksbebooks

Food for thought! Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-word - @WSJ http://ow.ly/uoyuS

Further thoughts on the “She’s Being Bossy” @WSJ piece from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uqS5F


Laurel Snyder on the joy for authors in participating in World Read Aloud Day http://ow.ly/ujWnk @LaurelSnyder #kidlit

An invitation! @LizB is Revisiting Harriet The Spy, and she's looking for company http://ow.ly/uz6k3 #kidlit

#Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month: Two Eminent Victorians: Emily Carr and Lillian Gilbreth (an ind engineer!) http://ow.ly/uvVK5

Yesterday was International Women's Day. @MaryAnnScheuer is celebrating women who have won a Nobel Prize (ages 10-14) http://ow.ly/uoxPE

Great Kid Books: Time for Kids: Online resources to celebrate Women's History Month (ages 7-10) @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/utNyF

On the #cybils blog: @Cybils Judges and Authors on Women's History at Stacked http://ow.ly/uriGg @aquafortis

Growing Bookworms

Igniting a Passion for Reading: A Retro Review to Reignite the Flame by @leaderandreader @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uz68d #literacy

Share the Love (of books), Grasshopper by Michael Guevara | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/utNVH #literacy

"Reading and discussing these books with my kids has to be the best single thing I can do to encourage reading." http://ow.ly/uqRJQ

Useful! Suggestions to encourage unique, out-of-the-box readers by @NancyTandon @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ujVGp #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Makes sense to me! What Most Successful People Do Before Bed: READ | @tashrow @businessinsider http://ow.ly/uvUQw

Study finds: "people who read regularly tend to be more satisfied with life in general" says @tashrow http://ow.ly/utNry

It's not only adults who need comfort reading | Alison Flood @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/umFg9 via @tashrow #kidlit

Schools and Libraries

Philip Pullman: 'every school should have a good library' | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/ukaVF via @PWKidsBookshelf

A Pre-Kindergarten Teacher's Perspective on Reading Aloud at @BooksBabiesBows for @ReadAloud_org Read Aloud month http://ow.ly/utOFg

On Taking Vacation Time to Read Aloud at her kids' school, by @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uoy5F

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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21. 10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up ten of our books that feature some amazing women of color! From a baseball player to an American politician, these women have helped pave the way for many others.

1. Wangari Maathai, Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace - the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize

seeds of change

2. Marcenia Lyle, Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young  Girl’s Baseball Dream - the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team

catching the moon

3. Anna May Wong, Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story - the first Chinese American movie star

shining star

4. Florence Mills, Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage - an international dancing and singing superstar during the Harlem Renaissance

baby flo

5. Augusta Savage, In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savagea sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance who carved out her own special place in art history

in her hands

6. Pura Belpré, The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos - New York City’s first Latina librarian

storyteller's candle

7. Patsy Mink, How We Are Smart - an American politician from the U.S. state of Hawaii

how we are smart

8. Hiromi Suzuki, Hiromi’s Hands - one of a handful of women in the male-dominated world of sushi chefs

hiromi's hands

9. Rosa Parks, Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today’s Youth - Mrs. Parks changed the course of history when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, sparking the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement

dear mrs. parks

10. Zora Neale Hurston, Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree - renowned African American writer

zora hurston and the chinaberry tree

Filed under: Book Lists, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: Anna May Wong, augusta savage, diversity, florence mills, hiromi suzuki, Marcenia Lyle, patsy mink, Pura Belpré, Rosa Parks, Wangari Maathai, women, women's history, women's history month, zora neale hurston

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22. Celebrating Women’s History Month


This March we celebrate Women’s History Month, commemorating the lives, legacies, and contributions of women around the world. We’ve compiled a brief reading list that demonstrates the diversity of women’s lives and achievements.

Women in Asia

Map of Asia

The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Edited by Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordon

Delve into courtesan cultures, including artistic practices and cultural production, often overlooked or diminished in relevancy.

The Power of Gender and the Gender of Power: Explorations in Early Indian History by Kumkum Roy

Discover the distinct strategies through which men and women constituted their identities in India for all their implications, tensions, and inconsistencies.

Cornelia Sorabji: India’s Pioneer Woman Lawyer: A Biography by Suparna Gooptu

Learn about Sorabji’s decisive role in opening up the legal profession to women long before they were allowed to plead before the courts of law, including her writings and personal correspondence.

Women in the Middle East

Map of Middle East

Cleopatra: A Biography by Duane W. Roller

Uncover not the figure in popular culture, arts, and literature of the last five hundred years — but the real last Greek queen of Egypt.

Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran by Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

Place women in their proper role as mothers of a nation — central to the history of Iran during successive regimes in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire by Leslie P. Peirce

Examine the sources of royal women’s power and assess the reactions of contemporaries, which ranged from loyal devotion to armed opposition.

Women in British History

UK Map

Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War by Virginia Nicholson

Try to keep up with a generation of women fated to remain unmarried in the aftermath of the Great War.

The Wealth of Wives: Women, Law, and Economy in Late Medieval London by Barbara A. Hanawalt

Consider an overlooked contribution to London’s economy—the wealth that women accumulated through inheritance, dowry, and dower.

Queen Anne: Patroness of Arts by James A. Winn

Study the life and reign of Queen Anne through literature, art, and music from Dryden, Pope, Purcell, Handel, Lely, Kneller, Wren, Vanbrugh, Addison, Swift, and many other artists.

Women in European History


Murder of a Medici Princess by Caroline P. Murphy

Illuminate the brilliant life and tragic death of Isabella de Medici, one of the brightest stars in the dazzling world of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany.

Writing the Revolution: A French Women’s History in Letters by Lindsay A. Parker

Investigate nearly 1,000 familiar letters, which convey the intellectual, emotional, and familial life of a revolutionary in all of its complexity.

The Burgher and the Whore: Prostitution in Early Modern Amsterdam by Lotte van de Pol

Delve into the cultural, social, and economic conditions of the lives of poor women in a seafaring society from the perspectives of prostitutes, their bawds, their clients, and the police.

Women in American History

U.S. Map

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy by Elizabeth R. Varon

Probe the life and work of one of the most remarkable women of the Civil War era–the leader of the North’s key spy ring in the South.

Working Women, Literary Ladies: The Industrial Revolution and Female Aspiration by Sylvia J. Cook

Trace the hopes and tensions generated by expectations of gender and class from the first New England operatives in the early 19th century to immigrant sweatshop workers in the early 20th.

Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement by Sally McMillen

Join the meeting that launched the women’s rights movement and changed American history.

I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science by Marjorie Senechal

Enter the provocative, scintillating mind of the talented and flawed scientist.

African American Women Chemists by Jeannette Brown

Connect to the lives of African America women chemists, from the earliest pioneers through late 1960′s when the Civil Rights Acts were passed, to today.

Women in Latin American History

Map of Latin America

Power and Women’s Representation in Latin America by Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer

Look at the recent trends in women’s representation in Latin America, and the complex and often incomplete nature of women’s political representation.

Refusing the Favor: The Spanish-Mexican Women of Santa Fe, 1820-1880 by Deena J. Gonzalez

Uncover the key role “invisible” Spanish-Mexican women played in the US takeover of Mexico’s northern territory and gain a greater understanding of conquest and colonization.

Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America’s Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present by Susan Kellogg

Reach back through women’s long history of labor, political activism, and contributions to — or even support of — family and community well-being.

Women’s history encompasses the history of humankind, including men, but approaches it from a woman‐centered perspective. It highlights women’s activities and ideas and asserts that their problems, issues, and accomplishments are just as central to the telling of the human story as are those of their brothers, husbands, and sons. It places the sociopolitical relations between the sexes, or gender, at the center of historical inquiry and questions female subordination.

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Image Credits: (1) Physical World Map via CIA World Factbook (public domain). (2) Map of Asia by Bytebear. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. (3) Map of Middle East by NuclearVacuum. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (4) Map of Britain by Anonymous101. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. (5) Map of Europe via CIA World Factbook (public domain). (6) Blank US Map by Theshibboleth. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. (7) Map of Latin America and the Caribbean by Yug. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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23. Leaning in

By Katie Day

I am one of the last professional women I know to read Lean In by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf, 2013). If you are also among the laggards, it is an inspiring call to women to lean into leadership. Too often, Sandberg shows through research and life story, women are not considered “leadership material,” and not just by men. We also send that message to ourselves, and attribute any success to external factors such as luck and the support of others. We just don’t think we have the right stuff to be leaders.

Too bad Sheryl Sandberg has not been to Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. After studying the communities of faith along that one street—around 88 congregations, the number fluctuating year to year—I found one thing that stumped me. There are a whole lot more women in leadership in these houses of worship than in any national sample of clergy. The most generous research findings reflect 10-20% of congregations to be headed by women in the United States today. In my sample, 44% of communities of faith have female leadership. This phenomenon is true across the religious spectrum. “Prestigious pulpits” in the historic Mainline Protestant churches are disproportionately occupied by women. But so were the pulpits in small independent African-American churches. Two of the three mega-churches had women as co-pastors. In the third, the associate pastor is a woman and considered the heir-apparent for the senior position. Two of the three peace churches had women leaders. There are no longer Catholic churches on the Avenue (which don’t have women priests), and the two mosques I researched were led exclusively by men. But the small Black spiritualist Hurleyite congregation (Universal Hagar) has a woman as pastor.

photo of Universal Hagar Church

Universal Hagar Church, a Hurleyite congregation, is located across the street from Fair Hill Burial Ground. Photo by Edd Conboy. Used with permission.

How can we account for this? It might have something to do with Philadelphia’s cultural history of inclusivity, providing a context in which women broke through the stained glass ceiling in the AMEZ and Episcopal traditions. Perhaps it is more closely related with the Great Migration North, in which women sought out church anchors in neighborhoods in which to settle. Frankly, I am hoping a researcher will figure this out…and bottle it!

More impressive to me than the numbers are the amazing women I interviewed. Women like Pastor Jackie Morrow, who started a church and a school in a row house, and ministers to everyone in her corner of Northwest Philly, from the young men who play basketball in her parking lot to the mentally challenged woman who regularly stops by for prayer, food, and a hug. Or Rev. Melanie DeBouse, who pastors in the poorest neighborhood in the city and is teaching young children to “kiss your brain” and older men how to read. Or Rev. Cindy Jarvis, senior pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, where she oversees a budget of over a million dollars and has underwritten efforts to prevent gun violence, provide health care for the poor, and a vibrant social and educational program for seniors. These women, and others on the Avenue, are leaning in to take leadership roles not in corporations but in the trenches of gnarly urban problems.

Make no mistake: I like Sandberg’s book. But the clergy women of Germantown Avenue are leaning into stronger headwinds with impressive competence and confidence. They inspired me more.

Katie Day is the Charles A. Schieren Professor of Church and Society at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. She is the author of Faith on the Avenue: Religion on a City Street and three other books and numerous articles that look at how religion impacts a variety of social realities.

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24. Using Goodreads: Building my reading life

I read ten or more books each week. They feed my soul. But they also start swimming around in my mind like minnows in a stream. So how do I keep track of the books I've read, remember those I've liked and recommend books to friends? I have used Goodreads for over five years, and I love it.

Here's my shelf on books to recommend for Women's History Month, with just five of the books I've recently added. Click through to Goodreads to see more!

Mary Ann's bookshelf: women's-history

Michelle Obama
4 of 5 stars

1st, biography, picture-books, preschool, kindergarten, nonfiction,...
Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies
4 of 5 stars
1st, 2nd, 3rd, biography, history, picture-books, and women-s-history
Through Georgia's Eyes
5 of 5 stars
As a young girl, Georgia knew that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, but few women could pursue that dream in the early 20th century. “Georgia sees life differently. She paints and paints. Hours pass by. She wonders if she can...
women-s-history, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, biography, history, parents-press-2...
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World�s Fastest Woman
5 of 5 stars
No one expected Wilma Rudolph to survive her difficult childhood. My students are continually amazed at how Rudolph not only learned to walk after having scarlet fever and polio, but joined her school’s basketball team and then her colle...
2nd, 3rd, 4th, african-american, biography, women-s-history, pictur...


Share book reviews and ratings with Mary Ann, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

When I'm doing a blogging challenge or planning a teaching unit, Goodreads helps me remember books I've read -- kind of like browsing the physical shelves in my library. How do you keep track of the books you've read and those you want to read? Do you like keeping this list to yourself, or do you like sharing it with friends?

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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25. A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream, by Kristy Dempsey & Floyd Cooper (ages 4-9)

What's it like to hold on to a dream? Can a role model truly encourage a young child, or is that just what parents and teachers tell themselves? There are times that sharing a story helps me keep faith, just as much as reading an inspiring biography. A Dance Like Starlight is a book that filled me with hope and warmth, as I read about one little ballerina's dream.
A Dance Like Starlight
One Ballerina's Dream
by Kristy Dempsey
illustrations by Floyd Cooper
Philomel/Penguin, 2014
your local library
*best new book*
ages 4-9
A young African American girl longs to dance with the ballet school, but her mama says "wishing on stars is a waste anyhow." Hope is the key, mama says, but "hoping is hard work." Her mama certainly knows hard work, taking in laundry at night, and working every day sewing and cleaning costumes for the ballet school.
Mama says
is hard work.
When the Ballet Master sees her dancing in the wings, he notices her talent and dreams and invites her to join lessons each day "even though I can't perform onstage with white girls." Demspey and Cooper build up the story slowly and softly, helping readers understand the setting in 1950s New York, the discrimination at play.

When Mama takes her daughter to see Miss Janet Collins, the first African American prima ballerina to dance with the Metropolitan Opera House Ballet, the little girl's heart soars, "dancing, opening wide with the swell of the music."
It's like Miss Collins is dancing for me,
only for me
showing me who I can be
This story reminds me of the power of role models, the way they can inspire us to reach out for our dreams and persevere through hard times. Floyd Cooper's artwork is uplifting and dreamy, with soft grainy textures. Did you know he creates all his artwork by first painting layers, and then erasing them slowly to reveal the shapes?

Share more information about Janet Collins with your children. I loved reading about her in the New York Public Library article and this New York Times article, both celebrating the life of Janet Collins.

Thanks very much to Deborah Ford's and Junior Library Guild's Booktalks to Go LiveBinder. If you're looking for more books to read with kids and information to make that reading experience richer, I highly recommend this site.

All illustrations are copyright ©Floyd Cooper, 2014, shared with permission of the publisher, Penguin Books for Young Readers. The review copy came from our school library collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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