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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Women History

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The links are affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made through them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

Do you children like to read nonfiction? Hazel does. She always has. I was recently told that they now recommend that kids read 50% nonfiction. How disappointing when you look at the number of books for younger readers that are about women. There are not that many out there. However today I am going to share five nonfiction picture books and one novel that shares a bit about real women in history.  We will start wtih Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel by Lisa Pliscou and illustrated by Jen Corace. 


In Jane's life she experienced poverty and inequality. This book introduces Jane to younger kids who may not have heard of her books yet. It protrays her as an intelligent woman who experienced inequality and more. When she began to write she wrote like the books she knew but changed the women. They were not sweet and obedient like the women were in the books of the time. She developed strong women characters and gave them a different view of life. They weren't all just looking to be ladylike and get married. They were strong and independent. Jane's books became popular and more copies had to be printed. She became an independent strong woman on her own. 

I love how this book introduces a well known novelist that fought poverty and society both in her life and in her books. It shares a strong woman with younger kids who will grow up to read Jane's books. At the end of the book there are pages of information about Jane and her life, quotes from her writing, praise for her writing and resources to learn more about her. 


The Story of Ada Lovelace

Have you heard of Ada Lovelace? She is known as the first computer programmer before there were computers. Our next book shares her life. It is Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Ada has been popular in picture books lately. I have had the pleasure of sharing many of them with you. I love how each one gives a bit different details about her life. Ada Lovelace was the daughter of poet, Lord Byron. However her mother left Lord Byron when Ada was only days old. She worked hard to try to make sure Ada did not have an imagination like her father's. Ada was taught math, and other subjects. However Ada still imagined things like a flying machine. 
Ada met the queen and was taught to be ladylike. She also met Charles Dickens, Charles Babbage and Mary Somerville. Charles Babbage talked to her about his newest idea, the Difference Machine. They met again so Charles could demonstrate his model. Soon he had an idea for his Analytical Engine. He never got it built, but it would probably have brought the computer age on much earlier. However Ada could envision it and saw how it could work. Ada is another strong woman from the 1800's. She did not fight society as much but used her education (which in itself was against the norm of society) to help Charles push his ideas even further. At the end of the book there is more information about Ada as well as information about her name and resources to learn more. 



Our next book is Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Thermes. Emma Gatewood had a tough life. She was the mother of eleven children and ran the household of a farm. At age 67, she decided to go on an adventure. She left her home in Ohio and decided that she would hike the Appalachian Trail. She read in a magazine about it and the article said no woman had hiked the entire length, but it was easy. She started in Georgia on May 3, 1955. She arrived in Maine and finished her hike on September 25, 1955. She dealt with all kinds of weather, bears, and other wildlife and so much more. People learned about her hike and came out to meet her or left her notes to have her spend the night at their house. She was known as Grandma Gatewood.

I love that this book introduces young children to a strong woman who at a later date went on to take such a physical challenge. The pictures are fun and the story is interesting. Throughout the book there are maps showing where her hike led. At the end of the book there are notes about Emma and her hike. There is also a list of sources and where to get more information. 



Our next book is Gloria's Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem-Feminist, Activist, Leader by Aura Lewis. Do you know much about Gloria Steinem? I didn't. This book shares her life story. It starts with Gloria's childhood dreams and experiences. Her parents separate and Gloria eventually has to take care of her mother who becomes ill. Gloria fights to have a woman's voice heard. She finds her voice is not being heard in the traditional ways, so she decides to start a new business--a magazine completely done by women. Ms. Magazine is very popular and it ends up people want to hear what women have to say. 

I love how this book shares the story of this strong woman. It shares how she became who she is. It is a positive tale about Gloria and her accomplishments. At the end of the book there is more information on Gloria as well as resources to learn even more. 



Our last picture book will be coming out August 7, 2018. It is on the first female senator from Massachusetts. It is Elizabeth Warren Nevertheless, She Persisted by Susan Wood and illustrated by Sarah Green. Now I am going to start by saying that I am not that interested in politics or anyone in it. Also Elizabeth Warren has always rub me the wrong way. She annoys me. I don't know why. I was excited to read this book in hopes that it would help me like her more. Unfortunately I felt it was like an extension of a campaign ad. Since I already had a bias I asked my mother to read the book. She loves Elizabeth Warren. She felt it was a good book. Her first impression was she could see why I thought it was like a campaign ad, but then debated that with me. 

The book shares Elizabeth's life story. It starts with her childhood and shares some of the struggles from her childhood. Her family was poor. She knew the struggles of poverty. She worked for money to help support the family at the toughest times. These experiences helped her in the future. She used her own experiences as a push to help others in similar situations. She fought for others. The book shares her struggles in the Senate and how she fights for the people there. At the end of the book there is more information about Elizabeth in the Author's Note. I am glad to see a picture book coming out about some of the strong women that are in the news. I think it is great for younger kids to learn about people that are making the news today.



Our final book is a fictional novel for middle grades (ages 8-12). It is Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages. Katy Gordon is the best pitcher in town. All the boys know it, but when she tries out for Little League she is sent packing once they realize she is a girl. Katy decides to fight to be on the team. She knows she cannot be the only girl who loves to play baseball. Then her teacher assigns a research project and she uses this opportunity to explore women in baseball. Now until the movie, League of Their Own, came out the women baseball leagues were hardly known. This story takes place before the movie. In fact the leagues have just really died out. Katy however ends up finding out more and more including meeting some of the former players. 

The story itself introduces some of the famous women who played like Jackie Mitchell. It also introduces Toni Stone who was a black female player. At the end of the book there is information about twelve of the professional female players. I love that they are a multicutlural mix. There is also a glossary. I also love that Katy finds positive things about not being able to play on Little League and where that rejection took her. She has strong women in her life--her mother and two sisters and a strong and healthy friendship. This is an amazing book that is fun to read and has history worked into it. Oh, and her class is always talking about current events to even other history is being introduced with information about the failed American rocket launches and more. By the way I have shared more about women in baseball

As you are looking for summer reading books for your kids, I hope you will consider these books that introduce strong women to our kids!