It has been difficult, if not downright impossible, to keep up with reading and writing about books while also being a first time teacher librarian. The desire is there, but the brain power and time, not so much. However, there are some great books that are coming out that I feel need to be highlighted. The following amazing books for kids will be hitting bookshelves soon! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for making these available for review purposes.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is at it again. When I first started writing this post, I was excited by the latest edition – “100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic.” Little did I know that by the time I finally got around to finishing this post, there would be 2 additional titles to add to the list. What continues to amaze me about these books is that they pick such a wide range of women to cover.
In 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic we are presented with strong black women with careers as politicians, doctors, poets, athletes, and everyone in between. The text provided with each woman makes you want to learn more and hopefully encourages a young person to delve deeper into the lives that excite them the most. Additionally, the art work for each woman is stunning and done by a woman or non-binary person of color. Actually, the entire book was put together by people of color and is quite a celebration of all of their amazing achievements.
But the Good Night Stories team didn’t stop there. There are 2 additional titles coming in the spring that are also special collections. The first is Rebel Girls Powerful Pairs (2/8/22). This book looks at 25 pairs of mothers and daughters who are making history together. I think my favorite might actually be the mother/daughter team of Chang Yi Wang and Mei Mei Hu – the mother is a scientist, the daughter a business woman who reorganized her mother’s company to focus on a single vaccine for Alzheimer’s. The Venezuelan travel guides with their own TV show also made me smile.
In March, just in time for Earth Day, is the one that I know both of my daughters will want us to own – Rebel Girls Climate Warriors (3/29/22). Both of my girls have a passion for fighting climate change and this collection does a great job of showing big and little changes and how they can make an impact. Sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan were in elementary school when they stood up to big fast food companies to stop handing out cheap plastic toys in the UK. Kristal Ambrose fought for change in the Bahamas to protect the oceans from plastic (one of J’s passions). Angelina Arora found a way to make bioplastic out of shrimp skin! If you have a budding environmental scientist or activist, this is a marvelous book.
With the increased popularity of graphic novels, Elizabeth Kiehner hit it out of the park with her graphic novel Good Girls Don’t Make History. As the description says, the tale begins at a modern-day polling station in California with a mother and daughter voting together, then flashes back 180 years to the World Anti-Slavery Convention where the women’s movement got its legendary start. The twists and turns take readers across the country and through time, illuminating parallels between epic battles for liberty in the past and similar struggles for justice today. This format allows a wider audience to learn about this often breezed over part of history.
There are people all over the world who invent solutions to problems. The forthcoming book Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World (3/1/22, Clarion Books) by Catherine Thimmesh and illustrated by Melissa Sweet does an amazing job of highlighting a number of women who have made a difference through their businesses. Women often, but not always, look at the world with a different viewpoint than men, allowing them to consider some of the problems in our world in a different light. This book showcases some of the solutions and encourages young girls to reach for the starts and help society at the same time. From the 10 year old behind Trick or Treat for UNICEF to empowering individuals with autism to thrive independently, and from helping those in developing countries with medical issues to helping women in the 1800s survive after losing a husband. This is a fascinating read for budding entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, and activists.
Another book that I’m very excited about is Spectacular Sisters by Aura Lewis. Like the Rebel Girls Powerful Pairs book, this book focuses on sisters who have impacted the world in some way. Having a sister is an important relationship. They cheer you on, they drive you to be a better person, they sometimes drive competition fueled by jealousy….regardless, sisters impact each other in ways we don’t always consider. The biographies in this book are arranged by sisters whose impact has touched lives well beyond their own families. Claribel and Etta Cone’s eyes for art helped promote Matisse, Cezanne, and Picasso. Ida and Louisa Cook saved Jews during the Holocaust. Mary and Carrie Dann challenged the United States government for breaking a treaty with the Shoshone people. Spectacular Sisters has less exciting art work, but gives great information for slightly older readers.
It is really great to see so many amazing biographies of strong women available to encourage our next generation to explore powerful people of the past and to see that there is room for them to make a difference as well.