Let’s hear it for the Ladies!

This being Women’s History Month, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite titles about famous women.  Beware, though, that not all of these women are necessarily American.

First, a couple by Don Brown. ( I am always impressed with his biographies, sometimes because they’re about lesser-known subjects, sometimes because they highlight just one aspect of the subject and “go deep.”)

I like his account of Dolley Madison Saves George Washington. (Dolley was responsible for saving a portrait of our first president during the War of 1812).

Uncommon Traveler:  Mary Kingsley in Africa is the story of a young British woman in the 1890’s who defied convention and traveled abroad to Africa.

Catherine Thimmesh’s book Girls Think of Everything: stories of ingenious inventions by Women.is full of short tributes to women (and girls) like Stephanie Kwolek (inventor of Kevlar, which is used in bulletproof vests), and Margaret Knight who makes our lives easier at the grocery store–at least when we choose paper over plastic. One of her claims to fame?  A machine that makes flat-bottomed paper bags.  Knight undoubtedly saved many textile mill workers from injury, too, with her invention of a mechanism to stop runaway shuttles at the loom.

Tillie the Terrible Swede:  how one woman, a sewing needle, and a bicycle changed History by Sue Stauffacher is a new favorite of mine.  You’ve got to love the title, for starters!  Tillie was a Swedish immigrant whose talent as a seamstress raised eyebrows when she designed racy cycling attire to aid in her quest to become the world’s women’s cycling champion.  Great fun!

Kathleen Krull’s book about Wilma Rudolph has been around since 1996, but it remains a go-to book for me whenever I booktalk biographies.  The writing is fabulous, the illustrations by David Diaz are amazing, and of course the story about overcoming polio to go on and win Olympic gold is inspiring.

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