Monday, March 7, 2011

Book List - Women's History Month


March is Women's History Month.  For this month I'm compiling a list of books about famous historical women, historical stories with female protagonists, or books with female protagonists and a focus on female friendship.  The list includes books for all ages.  Books I've read myself and can personally recommend will be marked with a *.  Some books will be ones I have reviewed or I am planning to review, so they might be linked to other entries on this blog.  The list will be updated throughout the month.

Pre-K and Kindergarten
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson (Clara, a young slave, works as a seamstress in the Big House and dreams of reuniting with her momma and running away to freedom.  From hearing other slaves talk Clara gets the idea of turning a quilt into a map of the Underground Railroad.)
* Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor (A series that follows the adventures of Nancy, a little girl who loves fancy thigns and words.) Reviewed by me.

Grades 1 - 2
Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan (A part fictional and part historical story of a real event that took place in April 1933 when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and First Lady of the Air Amelia Earhart snuck away from the White House for a night time flight over DC.)
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest (Jessie, a 13 year old Jewish girl travels to New York in the early 1900s, she works at a dressmakers trying to earn enough money to bring her grandma to America.)
* Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows (Ivy and Bean are opposites, Bean's loud and active, Ivy's quite and creative, and this makes them the best of friends who have wild adventures.  There are 8 books in the series so far.)

Grades 3 - 5
* Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (The year is 1947. Bandit, now Shirley, has just traveled from China to America.  Also recommended last month.)
* Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Set in 1970's about a 6th grade girl dealing with new friendships, growing up, family and religion.  Often considered young adult, but several of my 4th graders are reading and loving it.  Just be aware it deals with puberty and first crushes.)

Young Adult
* The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (16 year old Katherine has just moved to a Puritan community in Connecticut.  This book closely examines the options available to women in Puritan Colonial society and how the society reacted to people, especially women, who stepped outside of that.)
* The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Future distopia where children are forced to fight in the yearly gladatorial Hunger Games.  The trilogy follows Katniss through the games and her fight against the corrupt government.  Deals with violence, death, and PTSD, this YA series is more for high schoolers than 12 year olds.)
* Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (A story of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression told in stanza form from the perspective of 14 year old Billie Joe.  Winner of the 1998 Newbury Award.)
* How to Fitch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (A story set in the future about a 14 year old girl, named Charlie, who loves sports and hates her fairy, which find the best parking spots.  Great book for showing girls who love sports and having positive female friendships.) Reviewed by me

On a side note, finding quality books for girls and young adults that pass the Bechdel Test (Story must include two named women, who have at least one conversation, about something other than a man/men) is a focus of mine.  So most books recommended here will have female protagonists, or at the very least active female characters.

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