Violence against women. Lack of schools for girls. Malnutrition due to patriarchal practices. Forced marriage. These are some of the issues that face women specifically.
October 11th is the International Day of the Girls. That is more than just a meme on Facebook and Instagram, the International Day of the Girls exists because a group of girls went to the UN to talk about issues that only impacted girls. So when we consider the strength of women and girls everywhere, October 11th is a day to stop and consider those specific problems and how we can fix them. Here are a number of books for the young activist finding her voice. Here are books to help children and adults understand that life for girls is different than life for boys. But also, here are books about the strong women who came before us and show us the way.
Citizen Kid brings us the newest book in this collection aptly called International Day of the Girl: Celebrating Girls Around the World by Jessica Dee Humphreys and Rona Ambrose. This is a great starter book to give generalizations about issues that girls around the world face. The girls highlighted are stories that are inspired by real issues, but told in a way that makes sense to the upper elementary aged child. Full of wonderful illustrations, this is a great way for kids to see that the world is a whole lot bigger than their little corner. Thank you to #NetGalley and KidsCanPress for a digital review copy. All opinions are my own. (Ages: 8-12)
The girls who started the International Day of the Girl were standing up for themselves and for others. The biggest way that we see that happening is through marches and protests. Sometimes the general public doesn’t even realize there is a problem. Sometimes, those in charge need a march to finally do something about a problem they know exists but have tried to ignore. Tessa Allen has written and illustrated Sometimes People March, a sparse but powerful book for younger children to understand the power in a protest march. Back matter provides information about the marches and people represented in the book. Readers are reminded that there are many ways for them to get involved and make changes. (Ages 4-8)
You can’t have a list of books showing women who made a difference if you don’t include the iconic Rebel Girls. The newest collection from Rebel Girls is Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World. This edition focuses on women who were not born in the United States who emigrated somewhere else but has all of the same, great features of the other two editions. It is hard to say anything bad about these books and I love that E reads them over and over. As a PSA, if you haven’t tried the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Podcast, it is a must! Girls known and relatively unknown are included for the amazing roles they have played in history. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for a digital review copy. All opinions are my own. (ages 8-14)
When kids are going through challenging times or situations, it can often help to know that they are not alone. Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America is a perfect example of a book to shine the light on tough issues. This anthology is made up of 21 pieces by a diverse list of YA authors. When life has gotten them down, they turned to writing as a means of catharsis. This collection explores a number of subjects specifically aimed at the 14+ crowd. * A content warning in the editor’s note mentions that the entries discuss race-based and sexual violence. (Ages 14+)
One of my daughter’s favorite books (and audiobook) is Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan. This book is stunning. Each woman gets a spread about her and what she did to shake up the world. This is a great way to show all of the various ways that we can make a difference as well as all of the different backgrounds that these women came from. (Ages 10+)
A similar book is Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History. This book focuses on women from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall Riots through today. It has a similar feel to Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls which will make it immediately recognizable for anyone who enjoys those books. The concept of this is that it focuses on trailblazers who have come from traditionally marginalized populations: people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, and people of faith. A gorgeous addition to the collection and not surprisingly, this title got a lot of starred reviews. (Ages 10+)
While all of the anthologies try to do a good job of representing girls and women of all races, Cheryl Willis Hudson gives readers Brave. Black. First: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World. This book was published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. While we are not getting to see museums during the Covid insanity, this book can bring some of that amazing history to you. (Ages 8-12)
The children’s magazine Kazoo has joined the mix with Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World. This is a graphic novel format collection of mini-biographies of women who used their voices to make a difference. The book is separated into 6 sections: Grow, Tinker, Play, Create, Rally, and Explore. Part of this book is to make the point that you are never too young or too small to make a difference. Each time a new person is presented, it challenges the reader to consider how they are similar to this woman. It might seem like you have to be something special, but all of these women who changed the world were just normal people.
We all have to stand up for what we believe in. E wants to be an activist, which is a challenge when you live and hour away from a decent sized city, but I am happy to continue to supply her with stories to keep her activist heart strong.