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Women's History

Picture Books Intermediate | Young Adult | Poetry

Picture Books
Suggested grade level for each entry: K–3

Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty written by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola (Houghton)
This account of how Emma Lazarus came to write her iconic poem is brief, yet telling — especially when complemented by eloquent illustrations. 32 pages.

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook/Flash Point/Porter)
Choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and sculptor/set designer Isamu Noguchi collaborate on the iconic Appalachian Spring. 48 pages.

What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)
Spunky and headstrong, Alice Roosevelt Longworth "was hungry to go places . . . do things." Readers follow her (mis)adventures in illustrations matching Alice's exuberant spirit. 48 pages.

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told
written by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (HarperCollins/Amistad)
This biography presents, for a younger audience, an understandable and compelling picture of a remarkable woman. 40 pages.

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Disney/Jump at the Sun)
Truth's determination and hard work as an abolitionist, preacher, and advocate for women's rights are portrayed in a folksy narrative with illustrations conveying the strength of her personality. 40 pages.

Eleanor, Quiet No More written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Gary Kelley (Hyperion)
Roosevelt's own words define her growth from insecure child to reluctant but forceful political voice to respected citizen of the world. 40 pages.

Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote written by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Holt)
Easy-to-read text and folksy illustrations emphasize the accepted roles of women in the nineteenth century and the groundswell of people, led by Stanton, demanding change. 32 pages.

Intermediate
Suggested grade level for each entry: 4–6

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (Simon)
Saucy text challenges conventionally taught American Revolutionary history with tales of the girls and women who organized boycotts, spied on Redcoats, and disguised themselves as male soldiers. 40 pages.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (Farrar/Kroupa)
In 1955 Montgomery, fifteen-year-old Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus. A compelling narrative balances the events of the civil rights movement with Colvin’s biography. 133 pages.

Lost Childhood: My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II by Annelex Hofstra Layson, with Herman J. Viola (National Geographic)
In 1942, four-year-old Annelex, her mother, and grandmother, Dutch citizens living in the Dutch East Indies, were interned by the Japanese. A spare narrative lets events speak for themselves. 112 pages.

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott written by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen (Holt/Ottaviano)
Informative text and sophisticated illustrations capture the Alcotts' uncompromising ideals, Louisa's struggles with poverty, her growing fame, and her nurturing of her family through many losses. 48 pages.

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans (Roaring Brook/Flash Point)
Annotated excerpts of Anne’s diary accompany extraordinary photographs of her life before and during hiding. The conclusion describes Anne's death and the publication of her diary. 216 pages.

Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal (Farrar)
Siegal recalls summers on her grandmother's Ukrainian farm; memories include cooking (recipes appended), mushroom hunting, and feather plucking. Anti-Semitism in the region foreshadows Babi’s sad fate. 116 pages.

 I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey (Clarion)
Why did women, disguised as men, fight in the Civil War? How did they pass? How did these women transition back into civilian life? An engaging social history emerges around these questions. 118 pages.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean written by Sarah Stewart Taylor, illustrated by Ben Towle (Hyperion)
Narrator Grace, who handwrites a newspaper for her small Newfoundland town, is riveted by Amelia Earhart. She gets the chance to ask Earhart all about her life when the pilot comes to town. 80 pages.

Young Adult
Suggested grade level for each entry: 7 and up

Up Close: Jane Goodall by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Viking)
Effectively integrated excerpts from Jane Goodall’s writings reveal her passion for research, while also providing glimpses of Goodall the woman: extroverted, flirtatious, and loving. 215 pages.

Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch (Godine)
This biography shows Jacobs as independent-minded and outspoken; her authorship of her seminal work and role as scourge of so-called urban renewal are handled clearly and efficiently. 128 pages.

Up Close: Harper Lee by Kerry Madden (Viking)
This straightforward biography covers Lee's childhood, her college years, her persistent rewriting of To Kill a Mockingbird, her friendship with Truman Capote, and the filming of Mockingbird. 224 pages.

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields (Holt)
Secondary source material, interviews, and a journalistic style create a readable ode to a determined woman who writes, rewrites, edits, becomes frustrated, and finally finishes an enduring novel. 246 pages.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (Putnam)
Ida Mae wants to fly, an improbable dream for a black girl in 1940s Louisiana. When war breaks out, she counterfeits a pilot's license and passes as white to join the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. 275 pages.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick)
This story of the effort to get women into NASA's Mercury astronaut training program is thrillingly told and meticulously researched, with first- and second-hand sources and historical photographs. 134 pages.

Poetry
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madame C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters by Jeannine Atkins (Holt)
Each of these renowned women had a rocky early relationship with her child that blossomed into mutual respect. Thirty vignettes concerning each mother-daughter pair offer telling facts. Grade level: 7 and up. 209 pages.

Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial)
Twenty poems, voiced by instruments, summarize the history of swing. Verbal evocations of the music and its players re-create the time period alongside vibrant watercolors. Grade level: 46. 80 pages.


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