Monday, April 22, 2013

6 Nonfiction Books about Strong Girls

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

As someone who works in a library and takes my son to many children's programs there, I loved reading about the librarian who helped make it all possible. Anne Carroll Moore became a librarian at the Pratt Free Library soon after the first library room designed specifically for children was opened. She implemented many changes to make libraries more kid-friendly and also wrote what is likely the first book list for children's book recommendations.

"She urged the librarians to take down the SILENCE signs and spend time talking with children and reading them stories. She wrote book reviews and made book lists to help parents, librarians, and teachers find good books for children- and to encourage book publishers to publish better children's books."

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

Like many others, I learned briefly about the beginning of unions and the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in a school history class, but I don't remember being taught about Clara Lemlich. She was an immigrant girl employed at the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist factory who proposed a strike at a mass meeting. Her words led to 20,000 garment factory workers walking out in protest. By the end of the strike, hundreds of garment factory bosses agreed to allow unions, shorten the work week, and raise salaries. This book does a great job of simplifying things without minimizing the importance of the story.

"And the strike convinces Clara to keep fighting for the rights of workers. Her throat is hoarse, her feet are sore, but she has helped thousands of people. Proving that in America, wrongs can be righted, warriors can wear skirts and blouses, and the bravest hearts may beat in girls only five feet tall."

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone

Sometimes judging a book by its cover is a good thing. After seeing this whimsical cover and title on display at my library, I immediately snatched it up. This book is about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to graduate from medical school.  It tells Blackwell's story and teaches children how allowing women to attend medical school and become doctors has made our world a better place.

"I'll bet you've met plenty of doctors in your life. And I'll bet lots of them were women. Well, you might find it hard to believe, but there was once a time when girls weren't allowed to become doctors."

Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo

I learned about this book when it was nominated for Utah's 2013 Beehive Book Awards. This book is beautifully illustrated and gives a wonderful look into the life of a woman who was so much more than just a pretty face.

"Audrey often played characters who went through some kind of transformation, both inside and out. But in real life, Audrey always knew just who she was, and just where she had come from."

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

Like Just Being Audrey, this book was a Beehive nominee. I wish this book had been around when I was a young girl. I had such a fascination with Amelia Earhart and could never find anything that expanded beyond the very basics of her story. Fleming writes about Earhart's life and disappearance in alternating chapters, including interesting tidbits from people who claimed to hear her radio signals.

"Amelia was excellent at math- even if she did refuse to show her work. "Why bother to write out the steps if I can deduce the answer in my head?" she asked. Wrote her obviously exasperated third-grade teacher, Miss Walton, "Amelia's mind is brilliant, but she listens to another drummer."

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland

I am amazed at the treasures one can find in a library, like this fun biography of Julia Child in graphic novel form. I love her story for many reasons. She broke cultural norms (such as marrying later in life and never having children) while still making a connection with women and mothers across America.
This book is just plain fun to read!
"They arrive in France on a rainy day in November 1948.
"Paul, how do you say 'I'm hungry?'"


Zaissa said...

Awesome! I need to check a few of these out for my daughter.

Meg said...

I love this! I'm saving them for when CB gets a little older. Girls need real role models!

Kerri said...

Great recommendations! Thanks, Megan!

Miri said...

I'm excited about this list! The only one I've already read is Just Being Audrey (which I, too, knew about because it was a Beehive nominee), but I pulled Brave Girl for Women's History Month and thought I wanted to check it out. I'll be adding all of these to my list now.