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Books to Help Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 7, 2011

When most people think about Women’s History Month, they think about traditional women such as Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman or Eleanor Roosevelt—and there are some fabulous books out there that we can read to learn more about these kind of women:

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation, by Cokie Roberts. We’re introduced to women such as Abigail Adams and Martha Washington, and Phillis Wheatley—a variety of women, mostly wives, sisters or mothers of key men, exploring how they used their wit, wealth or connections to influence the men who made policy.

How to Be Like Women of Influence: Life Lessons from 20 of the Greatest, by Pat Williams, Michael Mink, and Ruth Williams. Profiles of women who have made a difference including Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, and Helen Keller, plus lessons we can learn from their courage.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins.  A comprehensive account of the last 50 years of women’s history in this sequel to America’s Women, primarily focusing on the 1960s.

But in addition to the traditional types of books, I like to think about books that portray strong female characters during times of changing roles for women–and the following great book club books come to mind:

The Color of Water, by James McBride –the story of a white Southern Jewish woman who married a black man and did whatever it took to raise her kids in Harlem.

Day After Night, by Anita Diamant – An ensemble  of resourceful Jewish women survive World War II, only to find themselves locked in a detention camp in Israel.

Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls – the story of Jeannette’s grandmother—a mustang-breaking, poker-playing, horse race-winning schoolmarm in the untamed West.

Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear – a girl from the ‘other side of the river’ enters into service in a upper-class British home; but using her wits becomes a nurse, psychologist and investigator in 1920’s London.(The whole series is fabulous—but you must start with this one.)

The Wednesday Sisters, by Meg Waite Clayton—a group of female friends support each other in 1960’s California to become what each dreams to be—and more.

What books do you think about when you hear ‘Women’s History Month’—and which ones would you recommend?



2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 9:46 pm

    Great suggestions! One I might add is “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” by Sarah Louise Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany and Amy Hill Hearth. It’s the riveting and revealing story of two feisty, intelligent African-American sisters. The Delany sisters speak their mind in a factual, yet moving, way that adds an important dimension to our nation’s history. In the age(s) of post-Reconstruction South and Booker T. Washington; Harlem’s Golden Age and Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Paul Robeson, Bessie breaks barriers to become a dentist; Sadie quietly integrates the New York City system as a high school teacher. It will give any reader pause. Janet

    • March 11, 2011 8:42 am

      Janet: Wonderful add! I have this book and then loaned it to my son when he was away at school. He’s returned it and I’ll have to put it back into my TBR stack. Thanks for the recommendation! Cheers! BCC

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