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Nevertheless, She Persisted: A Nonfiction Reading List

neverthelessshepersisitedmixedmedia2017 has seen a lot of challenges for women, whether it be in regards to legislation that harms them or the necessary but difficult discussion happening in the last few weeks regarding the prevalence of sexual assault in the lives of women. As a public librarian and the mother to teen girls, and as a woman, this year has been emotionally very challenging, though at times empowering. I’ve had a lot of difficult conversations with my daughters. We began this year by marching in the Women’s March and I’m not sure yet how this year will end, but it’s important that we keep empowering our girls. Today I share with you some new and upcoming nonfiction that celebrates strong females in a variety of ways, one of them in a truly unique way.

Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope, Voices from the Women’s March

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As I mentioned, the girls and I marched in the Women’s March in January of this year and it was a truly empowering experience. Because I work in a state then I live in, I actually marched in two. Why We March is a collection of the signs that people carried in the march sprinkled with quotes by some of the more well known women who spoke at the march including Gloria Steinem, Deb Parent (a c0-organizer), Alicia Keyes, Barbara Streisand and more. There is a brief introduction, but the book is really about the signs. (Out now from Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Co.)

The girls and I marching

The girls and I marching

Awesome Women Who Changed History: Paper Dolls

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As a kid, I loved paper dolls. They’re not something that my girls have ever played with, in part because they are growing up in a time of cell phones and other high tech dolls so they aren’t easy to find. So here is a creative way to introduce a new generation to some awesome, world changing women AND some good old fashioned paper dolls. Yes, really, they are paper dolls. Each doll comes with one change of outfit and some accessories. Lucille Ball comes with a couple of interchangeable facial expressions, as she should. Ruth Bader Gingsberg comes with a Supreme Court robe. Amelia Earhart comes with an airplane, obviously. Frida Kahlo comes with an artist’s palette. Susan B. Anthony comes with a votes for women sign. Well, you get the idea. There is a brief introduction to each person, so brief you may want to supplement with some additional titles from your local library. This book is inclusive and fun. It will make a great present, though not a great library purchase in general. You could use it to make some great displays though. (Out now from Adams Media)

Coming in 2018

Girl on Pointe: Chloe’s Guide to Taking on the World by Chloe Lukasiak

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I personally have very mixed feelings about Dance Moms, the show that introduced the public to Chloe Lukasiak. I’m not a big fan of using yelling, fear and the pyramid to motivate young people. And I found Abbie Lee’s treatment of these young girls to be so disgusting that I only ever watched a few episodes. Whatever my personal feelings may be, several of the young female dancers have used the platform to launch careers and platforms for themselves, which I can’t help but applaud. Here Chloe Lukasiak has capitalized on that popularity to put together this book which many tween and teen girls may be interested in.  It is a biography that includes topics like bullying and the search for self acceptance. Fans of the show will particularly be interested in this biography. (Coming January 23, 2018 from Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling

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Coming off of one of the most contentious elections of recent history that resulted in a year that saw the walking back of a lot of women’s rights in 2017, there could not be a more timely book. Votes for Women! is a pretty comprehensive look at the American Suffragist movement. It contains a list of key primary sources (and thank you for this!), a timeline, a well developed bibliography and a comprehensive list of notes. The bibliography is broken down into books (yay!), film, manuscript collections, websites and places of interest. I mean, it is well researched and documented and pretty glorious. It is text heavy and picture light, so it’s more research and reading then some of the nonfiction we put into the hands of teens, but it’s important and comprehensive and that has value. (Coming in February 2018 from Algonquin Young Readers)

What Would She Do? 25 True Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women

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What Would She Do? is an illustrated guide and brief introduction into 25 diverse women who have made their mark on history in some way. Some of the women included are The Trung Sisters (rebel leaders from Vietnam), Murasaki Shikibu (Japan’s first female novelist), Ada Lovelace (England’s first computer programmer), Frida Kahlo (the famous Mexican artist), and Judit Polgar (Hungarian chess master). For me, it was a mixture of women I have heard of and an introduction to some new ones. It is illustrated and contains no actual photos, so it’s not a source of pictures for those make a presentation board bio projects that teachers love to assign, but it is a very accessible introduction to a variety of meaningful women. Each section includes an introduction, a quote from the subject, and a brief “what would x do?” section. (Coming in May 2018 from Scholastic)

Karen’s Note: I used an illustration of Emma Watson from What Would She Do? to make the Nevertheless, She Persisted mixed media collage above because we are huge Harry Potter fans in this house and we’re exploring upcycling books in the Teen MakerSpace.

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