Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NDG Book Review: Great books for Women’s History Month

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Fifty percent of the population.
Give or take, that’s how many women there are in the world, women who work, raise families, care for others, paint and create and dance. So this month – Women’s History Month – why not celebrate those who wrote, explored, and made change?
You know how much you love a really good book, so look for this one: “Bookish Broads” by Lauren Marino, illustrations by Alexandra Kilburn.

Through dozens of mini-biographies, Marino gives readers some new insight on some old favorites: Toni Morrison, Agatha Christie, Hildegard von Bingen, Carson McCullers, Harper Lee, even the authors of several beloved children’s classics. There’s scandal here, and a little criticism, and to add to the fun, Marino lets readers know where the magic happened, why some women wrote under pseudonyms, why they were important to anyone who loves literature, and you’ll get recommendations for reading these writers’ best works.

If you’re more the adventurous type, then “The Girl Explorers” by Jayne Zanglein is a book to find. When president of the guys-only Explorers Club Roy Chapman Andrews said in 1932 that women were “not adapted to exploration,” he severely underestimated a group of women who set out to prove him wrong.

Those women founded the Society of Woman Geographers, which is a bit of a misnomer, since they and those belonging to the organization were explorers, advocates, scientists, historians, and sea farers who almost did everything Andrews’ group did, and more. They made change – and not just in this country, but around the world through sometimes-dangerous work with other cultures and in corners that needed a strong voice and someone to break all kinds of ground.

 

(Photo by Terri Schlichenmeyer)

This is a triumphant book, filled with history and tales that may be hidden to modern readers. Fix that little omission, and look for this book.

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And finally, remember: this is Women’s History Month, after all, so reach for “The Women’s History of the Modern World” by Rosalind Miles, a book that lands somewhere in the middle of the two, above. This one steps farther back in time to look at our foremothers’ audacious actions and brings us up to modern times, touching upon all aspects of life: all-female militaries, abolitionists and freedom fighters, women on and off the Silver Screen and behind the camera, leaders, communicators, and a host of women who stood up against the patriarchy at many points throughout history. This book is humorous at times, but it also dives into Serious Territory with tales that will make readers gasp and other anecdotes that are as outrageous as they are enraging.

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It’s the kind of book you’ll want to share with your older teen, especially if that teen is a budding feminist. It’s also the kind of book that will lead you to search for more information.

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And that’s the beauty of a Month like this: there’s always more to learn, always more women to appreciate for their rebellion and their revolutionary actions. Pick up these three books to start. You’ll love them 100 percent.

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