Planning Ahead for Women’s History Month….



There are two reasons I began selecting books to display during Women’s History Month – with ten days remaining in February:

1 – I’m looking forward to turning the calendar to March – February has been rough and there’s more snow in the forecast!

2 – Because we’ve had so many snow days, Black History Month and President’s Day have not received enough attention in the Library. Starting a school week on a Wednesday (which we’ve done several times) causes your internal calendar to be a little off. Only yesterday did it occur to me that I totally missed President’s Day. Next year I owe Washington and Lincoln big displays!

Today I pulled a dozen of my favorite picture book biographies of women to display in March – this one will not get away from me!  If you’re planning ahead, here are 13 books (a Baker’s Dozen) you may want to check out:


Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire Nivola  (an inspiring book for the budding scientist about the first female chief scientist U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)


Eleanor: Quiet No More by Doreen Rapport (All of Doreen Rappaport’s picture book biographies are excellent. This one traces Eleanor’s life from her lonely childhood to her accomplishments as First Lady and humanitarian.)


Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone   (a bright and lively introduction to America’s first female physician)


Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser  (Emma Lazarus was raised in an upper class home in New York City in the mid 1800s, but as she learned more about the struggles of immigrants, she became committed to helping them.)


Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa by Don Brown (Published fifteen years ago, Brown’s book has always been one of my favorites. Mary Kingsley grew up in England and never traveled until she was thirty. But after years of reading about the world, she decided to go to Africa. An amazing story.)


Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter (The life of the first Latina Supreme Court justice – from economic hardship in the Bronx to Princeton University and a legal career. A lesson in the values of hard work and determination. The text is in both English and Spanish.)


Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell (A multi-award winning book about the life of African American dancer. To escape the racism in her own country, Baker spent much of her career in Paris where she walked through the streets with a pet leopard!)


Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull (A book I read many times to my son when he was young – and we were inspired by Wilma Rudolph’s story every time. Rudolph had both polio and scarlet fever as a child and was told she would never walk again – but she won three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.)



Firebird by Misty Copeland (The dancer from the American Ballet Theater, tells the story of her journey from a childhood in poverty to dancing in the title role in Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Christopher Myers’ colorful collages enhance this inspiring story.)


The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life With the Chimps by Jeanette Winter (the perfect book for animal lovers – Jane Goodall’s life studying chimpanzees)


When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan (another long-time favorite and one I still enjoy sharing with students. The Marion of the title refers to Marian Anderson, the black opera singer who, in 1939, was denied a chance to perform at the Constitution Hall because of her race. After Eleanor Roosevelt stepped in, Anderson performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.)


America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David Adler (Gertrude Ederle’s name does not spring immediately to mind when thinking of famous women, but her story is amazing. In 1926, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel. Born in 1906, Ederle’s father taught her to swim after she nearly drowned. Next stop: the 1924 Olympics and the English Channel!)


Moses: When Harriet Tubman Let Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford (Many teachers consider this one of their go-to books to spark discussions about determination and courage. Harriet Tubman’s story is well known, but this beautiful and moving picture book is one of the most perfect blends of text and illustration that exists between the covers of a book.)

Happy Almost-March!




2 thoughts on “Planning Ahead for Women’s History Month….

  1. What a fabulous constellation of books! I must find the Emma Lazarus and Mary Kingsley books!
    I know we have all missed many school days – but when I watch the cancellation crawl at the bottom of the TV screen and see the Inly School, now I think of you and smile!

    • Hi Cathy,
      I’m happy you enjoyed the list. The Mary Kingsley book is truly worth seeking out!
      And I agree with your post about Penguin and Pinecone! Salina Yoon is awesome….

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