As we move to empower our daughters, to help them find strong role models (you know, whose accomplishments don’t include “twerking”), and to get them excited about their potential, I’m so delighted to find a new website that helps do those very things.

maya angelou quote | the reconstructionists | cool mom picks


The Reconstructionists is a Tumblr blog which is celebrating remarkable women for a whole year. Created as a partnership between Maria Popova of Brainpickings and amazing illustrator Lisa Congdon, I cannot stop poring through it.

Gather your daughters–and sons–around, read the short bios, explore the quotes, and get some good discussions going. 

amelia earhart quote on the reconstructionists | cool mom picks

You’ll of course find ususal female role model suspects like Jane GoodallAmelia EarhartSally RideMaya AngelouGloria Steinem and Helen Keller which is a good place to start. Personally, I like learning about the less renowned but equally important bios of women like astronomer Maria Mitchell, and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

helen keller quote on the reconstructionists | cool mom picks

Maria Mitchell science quote on The Reconstructionists | Cool Mom Picks

What’s nice is seeing the celebration of modern-day heroes as well (why wait until people die to honor them, right?) like sculptor Ruth Asawa whose quote I adore, favorite illustrator Maira Kalman whose name kids might recognize from Lemony Snicket books; creative powerhouse Susan Sontag; and the incomparable Godmother of Punk, Patti Smith.


Patti Smith Quote | the Reconstructionists | Cool Mom Picks

Maira Kalman quote on The Reconstructionists | Cool Mom Picks

Sally Ride Quote | The Reconstructionists | Cool Mom Picks

Be aware this is not geared toward kids specifically and is certainly not dumbed down–the Virginia Woolf bio pulls no punches in terms of her love affairs and untimely suicide. But the real take-away will be the important work these women did, the legacy they left, and the inspiration they give all of us. At any age. 

I just have two hopes for the site: 1. They could use a little more racial diversity, especially people of color who aren’t Maya Angelou or Frida Kahlo 2. I want to see more sharing on the Tumblr that’s not from women. What, you think Ada Lovelace only helped half of the world? –Liz

Find a new celebrated woman each week on The Reconstructionists.