Top 5 Titles Celebrating Women in History


March is Women’s History Month. Start the celebration with Author of the Month Kate Hannigan’s A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights and continue the celebration with these highly recommended titles. Subscribers can find reviews of thousands of titles on the reVIEWS+ section of our magazine. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up for a free 30-day trial here.


Harriet Tubman’s Escape by  Thomas Kingsley Troupe  (Capstone 2017; ISBN 9781479597888) Grades 3-5

Even adults can learn new information from the Fly on the Wall picture books. History is revealed in a fun and factual way with Horace and Maggie offering a bug-like point of view on historical figures. Harriet Tubman’s story is told clearly and succinctly with true and honest facts. The process of the Underground Railroad is explained in an understandable fashion. The Wright Brothers book portrays their work, failures, and success at Kitty Hawk. Each book contains additional items to think about, books to expand knowledge, and recommended FactHound Internet sites also published by Capstone. There is so much information here that this book could be sold at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The history of the Pilgrims’s voyage to America and Paul Revere’s ride are also part of the series. This series is highly recommended as a way to make history enjoyable while finding humor within each page. Glossary. (Reviewed by Sandra Kitain)

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women produced by PBS Video (DVD 2010) Grades  6-12

There is so very much more to Louisa May Alcott than Little Women as viewers learn in this engaging and informative biography where the dialog in the well-acted numerous vignettes comes from primary sources including Alcott’s journals. Scholars provide additional commentary, which round out the story of this writer, ardent abolitionist, and feminist. Her family was poor mainly because of her improvident, transcendentalist father and his utopian schemes. Spunky Louisa, educated at home in Massachusetts, enjoyed Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson as frequent visitors and occasional tutors. Determined to help her family she took positions such as a companion, governess, teacher, and briefly a nurse during the Civil War. Using pseudonyms, she began writing popular romances, gothic novels, thrillers, and articles for newspapers and magazines. Success came with Little Women, which she based on her early life. This award-winning program will enrich the reading of her works and introduce students to a remarkable, multi-talented woman. Extended interviews with the scholars are also on the DVD. Lesson plans and additional material are available at (Reviewed by Anitra Gordon)


March Forward, Girl by Melba Patillo Beals by Melba Patillo Beals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Books for Young Readers 2018; ISBN 9781328882127) Grades 6-12

Melba PatilloBeals writes a memoir of what it was like to be a young African American person in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the 1940s and 1950s. This is a powerful story that provides historically accurate and graphic accounts of the brutality of living in the time of the Ku Klux Klan. She tells the story of what it was like to be an educationally advanced and physically mature child, which only added to her isolation as she was denied participation in non-academic events in her school. Beals was mature enough to ask tough questions about why “her people” didn’t fight back against the unfair treatment by white people. She learned that Jim Crow laws actually set up the segregated treatment of black people. This book has a graphic account of a lynching that might be too overwhelming for some younger readers, but this narrative of what it was like to be an African American in mid-20th-century America will help readers understand the frustration of African Americans today. This is the story of one of the nine students to cross the line of segregated education after the Brown v. the Board of Educationdecision. These nine students were later awarded the highest award given to civilians, the Congressional Gold Medal. This story is one that everyone should read. (Reviewed by Richard Fanning)


Stone Mirrors by Jeannine Atkins (Atheneum 2017; ISBN 9781481459051) Grades 8-12

“Mary” Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), born of an Ojibwe mother and an African runaway slave father in Northern New York, was one of America’s least studied, yet most prolific 19th century sculptors. While studying at Ohio’s Oberlin College, one of the first all-white higher education institutions to allow integrated classes, Edmonia was accused of poisoning two of her roommates. Although acquitted, she was attacked, raped, and beaten, and her natural quiet reserve turned to a muted silence for the rest of her life. She became a master artisan in the art of marble sculpturing after moving to Italy; the fame of her craftsmanship made it back to America and her art was featured in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Today, her pieces are part of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. Written in verse, this fictional telling of her life flows smoothly from verse to verse. Backstories that reference Edmonia’s indigenous upbringing are told throughout the narrative as she remembers the lessons she was taught as a child by her Ojibwe mother and aunts. Back matter includes an explanation on why the author chose fictionalized verse as the format. This is an excellent choice for collections seeking diversity in their biographies, especially those with intent on the curation of women in history and black American artists. (Reviewed by Sabrina Carnesi)


Women Who Changed the World: 50 Amazing Americans by Laurie Calkhoven (Scholastic 2016; ISBN 9780545889636) Grades 3-5

This title highlights the lives of 50 famous women of American history, as well as 16 others in timeline fashion at the end of the book. The book begins with a brief introduction that entices readers to identify with the famous women, stating that, prior to their fame, these women were girls with interests similar to the reader. Each double page spread features a head-shot photograph and full body illustration of each woman, with her name and title printed in bold. A “Fact File” text box lists the birth date, spouse, children, and death date. In addition to an overview of their lives, each woman’s profile contains at least two additional text boxes that highlight information specific to her fame. At the book’s conclusion, the author suggests that readers email her with their favorite famous women that were not included in the book. She also encourages them to let her know how they plan to change the world. This is an inspiring and important book, especially for girls and young women. An excellent, quick reference resource that offers readers facts and interesting information, this title would be a great choice for research as well as an accessible and fun read for Women’s History Month. Glossary. Table of Contents. (Reviewed by Amy Merrill)

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