History (or Herstory) is Ongoing

March is Women’s History Month and this week, I had the opportunity to read two books about extraordinary women and girls. One element that I think it is very important we share with our students is that we are constantly being shaped by history. Our cultures, communities, schools, and identities are all influenced by events in the past. They inform our approach to the future. That is why the study of history and of historical figures is so important.

Rachel Ignotofsky has written and illustrated three books that are wonderful introductions to amazing women. Women in Sports and Women in Science have already been released and Women in Art will be available in September. These books are perfect for middle and upper elementary school students who are interested in learning about women who excelled in certain domains. Each mini biography is accompanied by an almost full page illustration with a quote and facts within the picture. The narrative is also surrounded by small facts and anecdotes from each woman’s life. Ignotofsky’s books are highly visually engaging.

For older readers, there is Girls Can Do Anything by Caitlin Doyle. Over 200 women are profiled in this book in the following categories: Arts and Literature, Politics and World-Building, Science and Innovation, and Sports and Endurance. There are well known figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Madonna, as well as little known wonder women such as Murasaki Shikibu, the first modern novelist, and Ching Shih, an incredibly successful pirate.

Most of the women and girls profiled in these books did not dream of changing the world. They were shaped by the events through which they lived and by a hope for a brighter future. The change-makers of tomorrow are sitting in our classrooms today. These are two excellent books to inspire them.

Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:

Justice 15: I know about the actions of people and groups who have worked throughout history to bring more justice and fairness to the world.

Common Core Standards:

RI.3- Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text.

Published by socialjusticeinchildrenslit

My name is Leah Cole and I was a teacher in Iowa for nine years. My passions for education, social justice, and children's literature led me to create this blog. Students are faced with issues of justice and fairness from the time they are very young. The Social Justice Standards developed by Teaching Tolerance help teachers to support the development of students who recognize and embrace their own identities while respecting and valuing those who are different. In this blog, I will attempt to identify and review books that support the social justice standards.

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