“I Could Do That!”: How Young Girls Become Brave Women

I’m almost too late to share these stories for Women’s History Month, but there’s nothing to say you can’t read them any other time of year, right?

I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005)

“I could do that!” is Esther Morris’ motto.  From taking care of her siblings, to running her own business, to claiming land and settling a homestead, Esther Morris never lets tragedy or the skepticism of others stand in her way.  Which is why Esther leads the charge to get Wyoming women the right to vote…a charge that begins in her own home, discussed over a pot of tea.  Ages 5-10.

The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter by Bonnie Christensen (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)

Nellie always stood out from the crowd.  As a child, it was her frilly pink dresses.  As a young woman, it was her fearlessness, and determination to succeed as a journalist, during a time where women only wrote society pieces.  On November 14, 1889, Nellie sets out to travel the world in less than eighty days, a feat accomplished only by Jules Verne’s fictional character, Phineas Fogg.  It doesn’t take long before Nellie Bly becomes an international sensation.  Ages 6-12.

Brave Harriet by Marissa Moss, Illustrated by C.F. Payne (Harcourt, 2001)

Harriet Quimby experiences many firsts on that April day she sets off in her plane –her first time flying by compass, her first time flying over water, and her first time flying over the English Channel.  When she lands, Harriet feels triumphant, already picturing the newspaper headlines.  She is, after all, the first woman to fly over the Channel.  Unfortunately, the day is April 16, 1912, and the world has just learned of the terrible fate of the Titanic. Harriet’s story never makes the newspapers, let alone the headlines.  Ages 6-10.

Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss, Illustrated by C.F. Payne (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004)

Jackie Mitchell always wanted to play professional baseball.  On April 2, 1931, she gets her opportunity to pitch at an Chattanooga Lookouts exhibition game against the New York Yankees.  Can a 17-year-old girl strikeout out the great Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig?  A great book for opening day! Ages 5-8

Anybody raising girls see a little of their daughters in these women?  I do!  While that makes for some interesting days in toddlerhood, it’s a trait I hope she carries forth into her adult years.

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