Remarkable Pioneers in Anna Lewis’s ‘Women of Steel and Stone’

Women of SteelIn celebrating Women’s History Month, I thought it fitting to feature a non-fiction title about some seriously smart, capable, amazing women. Anna M. Lewis’s Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers (Chicago Review Press, 2014) spotlights 22 women who were pioneers in their chosen, male-dominated fields. Spanning from the 1800s to current times, these stories explore the childhood passions, perseverance, and creativity that carried these remarkable women through daunting challenges all the way to the top of their professions.

A few favorites of mine were profiles of Julia Morgan, who built “America’s Castle” in San Simeon, California, for William Randolph Hearst; Emily Warren Roebling, who took over the role as chief engineer on the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband’s illness; and Marion Mahony Griffin, known as Frank Lloyd Wright’s “right-hand man.”

Read the interview with Anna over at AuthorOf.blogspot.com.

Advertisements

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees, by Franck Prévot (ages 7-12)

Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work helping women throughout Africa planting trees to improve the environment and their quality of life. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I am excited to share this new picture book about her struggles and accomplishments with my students.

Wangari Maathai
The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
by Franck Prévot
illustrated by Aurélia Fronty
Charlesbridge, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 7-12
*best new book*

Maathai’s political activism shines through in this biography, in her determination to reverse environmental damage caused by large, colonial plantations and empower local villagers–especially women–to improve their local conditions.

This biography allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the political, economic and social structures Maathai stood up against. I love being able to share with students the value of reading more than one book on a subject, seeing how different authors draw out different details. I would start by reading Seeds of Change, by Jen Cullerton Johnson, and watching a short video on Maathai. If you build background knowledge, students can then dig into statements such as this:

“The government officials who built their fortunes by razing forests try to stop Wangari. Who is this woman who confronts them with a confident voice in a country where women are supposed to listen and lower their eyes in men’s presence?”

Definitely add this new picture book biography to your collection as you celebrate Women’s History month.

Read my full review at Great Kid Books.

2

Women’s History Month

Header small

KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month begins March 1st!

Active only during Women’s History Month,  the annual blog celebration 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. This year marks the blog’s fifth birthday! 😀

The blog is a great resource for finding new books (especially nonfiction!) 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 HistoryMonth theme for 2015, is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.”

Please join us, beginning March 1, at KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month!

Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month

Questions regarding KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month can be directed to its co-organizers: Margo Tanenbaum, of The Fourth Musketeer and Lisa Taylor of Shelf-employed.

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

699fd-nonfiction_monday

2

Monday Morning Miscellany

Some news to start your week:

The Cybils Awards have entered Round 2. The first round panelists did a great job in winnowing the field down to the seven finalists listed below for Nonfiction in Early and Middle Grades. A winner will be announced on February 14, 2015.  I can’t discuss deliberations (I’m a Round 2 judge), but you are free to comment on your favorites. 🙂

 

  • Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman
  • Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery
  • Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
  • Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle
  • When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson
In December, the Great Websites for Kids Committee announced the newest sites to be added. (Press release here)
If you’ve never taken advantage of this great resource, I urge you to check out Great Websites for Kids at http://gws.ala.org/.
The site is continually updated with new sites added and outdated sites deleted. Suggestions and comments are always welcome.

And last but not least,

This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month celebration.  Each year, fellow librarian, Margo Tanenbaum and I, gather writers, illustrators, librarians and bloggers to highlight, celebrate, and raise awareness of great books for young people that focus on women’s history.  This year’s celebration kicks off  March 1. Please, stay in touch with us and support the inclusion of women’s history in books for young readers! Please, follow our blog, KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month, and you can also find us on Twitter @kidlitwhm, Facebook, and Pinterest.
   Have a great week!  Let it start with a reminder from MLKDay.gov,

“Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

See this and all of my posts at Shelf-employed, or follow me on Twitter@shelfemployed.

Copyright © 2015 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.

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 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. To read the whole interview, head over to Great Kid Books today!

Mary Ann Scheuer: How did you first learn about Eleanor? What drew you to her story?

Tracey Fern: 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.

Dare the Wind interior

Head over to Great Kid Books today to read more about Tracey’s process researching and writing Dare the Wind.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
by Patricia Hruby Powell (Author) and Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

Booktalk: To close Women’s History Month and begin Poetry Month, a free-verse biographical poem about performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker. (Notice the use of primary source quotations in the second image below.)

Snippet:
Mama called her TUMPY, the round baby girl, after Humpty Dumpty.
With her first breath, she made faces.
As soon as she walked, she DANCED.

Sample the book with this 1:01 Josephine book trailer.

**Patricia is one of my former students!**

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
Site Meter

Girls Research! Women Scientists for Women’s History Month

It’s Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate than learning about groundbreaking women with Girls Research!: Amazing Tales of Female Scientists (Girls Rock!)  by Jennifer Phillips?

girls-research

Sometimes it may seem like there were only a few significant women scientists in the past because the same names keep popping up.  This book changes all that by giving brief overviews of the lives of 56 women scientists. That’s right, 56! Some are famous, some are lost in the annals of history, but all made important contributions to the field of science and medicine.

Girls Research! is the perfect jumping off place to start a research project into women’s history. When children come to you with instructions that their report that must be from a book that is at least 100 pages long, hand them this 64 page book and let them figure out which stories make them want to learn more.

See the full review at Wrapped in Foil.

Looking for more? Try our list of 21 Children’s Books about Women Scientists at Science Books for Kids.

21-books-about-women-scientists