Mom’s Must Read:
Women’s History Month Picks
March is the month we celebrate the role women have taken in American history. Women have given so much to history: we’ve worked as mothers, soldiers, suffragettes, teachers, government workers, politicians, etc. The list of our contributions is endless. Given that we as women have left our mark on history, I think it’s fitting that we visit the role of women as they’re celebrated in books. Following are 5 books celebrating Women.
1. Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Here’s a book for middle grade readers. It’s a tale of young Esperanza who lives a charmed life in her home country, of Mexico. But when tragedy strikes and she and her mother are forced to flee to America, Esperanza’s life is now very different; she’s forced to work as a migrant worker. Not only is this book a great stand alone book, the historical significance of migrant workers during the Depression could also be incorporated into school lessons. Here are some resources from National Endowment for the Arts.
2. Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston is finally on the comeup. Her books are almost 100 years old but she’s only just lately getting the great press she deserves. Hurston exposes the reader to the first African American run town and also to her beautiful style of writing that includes the spoken vernacular of the people of that day and time. Not many had written in that style back in her time and her writing is sometimes overlooked due to this type of folklore being thought of as not as literary as others. We know that to be nonsense, right? You can learn so much about the 1920s, the African American community, and literature by reading this book. Dig it out of storage and give it a re-read.
3. Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave,
and Four Years in the White House
by Elizabeth Keckley
To be sure, this title is a little daunting and intriguing, right? Don’t let the length of the title scare you off; what’s important is the story inside. Elizabeth Keckley was born a slave and was able to save enough money to buy her freedom and eventually became a celebrated dressmaker. She is renowned for being Mary Todd Lincoln’s personal dressmaker who lived in the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. How about that for a story? Jennifer Chiaverini also creates a fictionalized account of the relationship between Mrs Lincoln and Keckley in her book Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. Check that out if non fiction is not your speed. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections
by Contemporary Indigenous Women
by Wilma Mankiller
Here’s something different. Let’s stop ignoring our indigenous people aka Native Americans, and let’s listen to what they have to say. After all, their people were here first and they’ve suffered just as much tragedy and diminishment as other minorities in America. In this book, we will hear from female leaders of Native people. It should be eye opening. Mankiller is especially notable because she was the first female Cherokee Nation Chief.
5. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and
the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians
Who Helped Win the Space Race
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Come on now folks, why haven’t you read this yet? It not only talks about African American women’s contribution to the Space Age, but it includes white women as well. Did you know that? Nope, betcha didn’t. Women from both races were used as human computers and valued for their mathematical prowess. That’s something to be proud of.
As you can tell from this eclectic list, women have been integral in varying aspects of American history. We’ve contributed to science, medicine, politics, farming, literature, etc. Our contributions are vast and varied. American history wouldn’t be the same without us. So celebrate yourselves, ladies. We’ve come a long way and I’m excited to see where we can go; our future is limitless!