Okay, ladies, let’s get in formation — because it’s time to celebrate Women’s History Month. While there are lots of things we can do, one is to read up on those incredible women, who have paved the way for so many of us.
So we’ve put together 6 new books featuring amazing American women, biographies that celebrate both household names and unsung heroes, including a few modern women who are making history in real-time. It seems especially fitting to share today, the 2019 International Day of the Woman.
And, boys, you can get in formation too. Because these books are for everyone.
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You’ve may never have heard of Sara Josephine Baker, but you won’t forget her after reading this powerful little book by Monica Kulling, with illustrations by Julianna Swaney. She became a doctor in the late 1800s, a time when women doctors were totally unprecedented — and unwanted. But she persevered to keep practicing medicine and saved the lives of 90,000 of inner city children in the process. If you’re looking to inspire your kid, Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children. is a must-read.
I love how all the biographies in the Ordinary People series read like comic books, but feature real stories about real people in a way that can get even younger kids excited to learn about diverse figures in history. Give the new release, I am Billie Jean King to an athletic girl in your life — or any kid who will be thrilled to know about her journey to create more equal opportunities for women. On the court, and off.
Liz wrote a glowing review of Blair Imani’s Modern HERRstory when it first came out late last year, and this unapologetically diverse and progressive book is still making waves. As Liz wrote, it skips over some of the more well-trod biographies of U.S. women’s history — like the presidents’ wives — and makes space for women and nonbinary people of all backgrounds. And while it does feature some historical figures, many of the subjects of this book are modern women solving modern problems, which I think will make it even easier for kids to relate to what these women doing, and want to learn more about playing a part themselves.
If you have older kids who are hungry for more than a one-page bio, have them check out Girl and a Brush and a Canvas:Georgia O’Keeffe, American Artist, a new YA novel by Carolyn Meyer about the renowned feminist artist and Mother of American Modernism. I think it would be a great gift to encourage a child pursuing the arts, especially because the book doesn’t skim over all the tough obstacles Georgia surmounted to achieve the successes she did.
There are a lot of excellent books out there about former slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, and rightly so. But So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom feels so special thanks to its lyrical text from Gary D. Schmidt and gorgeous watercolor-y illustrations by Daniel Minter. Kate included it in our round-up of favorite books for Black History Month this year, and I think it’s a good one to keep on your shelf year-round.
Calling all Hamilton fans! Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Margaret McNamara offers a glimpse into the life of Eliza Hamilton. Aside from preserving her husband Alexander’s writing, which helped preserve his entire history (“who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”), which lead to the Ron Chernow book, which lead to Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Broadway-changing musical — Eliza was far more than a wife. She also founded an orphanage and raised funds for the Washington monument, becoming a force all her own.