Book Reviews, Non-Fiction

Books I Read for #WomensHistoryMonth 2019 + Mini Book Reviews

WHM2019

Today I am sharing a few mini book reviews for books I read in March in honor of Women’s History Month.

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» Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

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This collection of mini biographies focused on 50 influential women in STEM fields.  I found this book to be so inspirational.   It blows my mind what each of these women were able to accomplish during their lives, especially given the fact that society did all it could to put up road blocks for these women.  Many faced discrimination, harassment, exclusions, lack of assess to education, lack of credit given for their work… Yet still they endured.

Looking at some of the statistics, it is believed that only about 29% of women make up the science & engineering workforce.  These are the types of books we need to encourage young girls to read.  We need young girls to know that women are more than capable to do amazing things in STEM fields, and we should be encouraging any interest that girls show in these fields.

I really enjoyed Ignotofsky’s illustrations.   Not only do we get a full page illustration of each woman, but we get cute little illustrations surrounding the text as well.  I liked that Ignotofsky included “fast facts” around the boarder of the text with the small illustrations.  There is so much to look at & learn on each page.  I also enjoyed the inclusion of quotes by or about the women that were highlighted.

This book would be a wonderful addition to any classroom.  For Women’s History Month, you could read about 2 new women throughout history each day.


» Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky

WomeninSports

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Another collection of mini biographies written & illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky.  This collection features 50 influential women in sports.  Women have often been refereed to as “the weaker sex” throughout history, but here are 50 women that proved that statement wrong!

I appreciated that this book included such a diverse list of sports are represented here.  Dog mushing, skydiving, martial arts, bowling, roller derby, polo, mountain climbing, skateboarding, body building, riffle shooting, wheelchair racing, ping-pong, etc.  I also liked the inclusion of Jody Conradt, a college basetball coach, and Violet Palmer, a NBA referee.

One of my favorite illustrations in this book was the illustrations of the muscle anatomy of two women.  In the illustrations, the women are muscular & lifting weights.  I feel like this is so important because there is such a stigma surrounding women with strong bodies.

I also appreciated that Ignotofsky showed media coverage & pay gap statistics in women’s sports.  While I knew these were areas where women in sports were grossly neglected in media coverage & pay in comparison to their male counterparts, but the stats surprised me.

Hands down, my favorite part of this book was learning about Billie Jean King beating the male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in a tennis match dubbed “the battle of the sexes.”  Not only did she beat him, it was basically a good old fashioned ass-kicking.


» Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan

HerStory

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Another collection of mini biographies to celebrate influential women throughout history.   Herstory features a few women that I have not seen much of in other mini biography collections: Mother Theresa, Anne Frank, Annie Sullivan, Emily Brontë, Frida Kahlo…

My only issue with this book was the glossing over of problematic aspects of some of the women featured in this book.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the inclusion of women that were morally gray, but Halligan needed to present a more balanced portrayal.  I realize that this book is targeted to a middle grade audience, but you’d be surprised what kids can handle these days.  For example, let’s take Indira Gandhi.  Indira Gandhi was the first women elected to lead a country (elected Prime Minster of India), which is a huge accomplishment, HOWEVER she was no saint.  From 1975 to 1977, Indira revoked basic civil liberties & heavily censored the media…. She also basically detained & imprisoned anyone who opposed her.  Also, the whole situation where she sent troops to a temple that had been taken over by Sikh extremists, where hundreds of Sikhs were ultimately killed… While Indira definitely deserved her spot in this book for all her accomplishments, her transgressions should have also been featured.

I enjoyed the inclusion of illustrations, pictures, and quotes with each featured woman. Divider2

Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Did you read any books in honor of Women’s History Month?  If so, which ones?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

8 thoughts on “Books I Read for #WomensHistoryMonth 2019 + Mini Book Reviews”

  1. What a wonderful post, Amanda! These books have been on my radar for a bit now, but I haven’t had a chance to read them. You made a really great point about more balanced portrayals; whitewashing the crimes of historical figures doesn’t do anything towards empowerment. It’s similar with Gandhi himself where his qualities are emphasized to such an extreme point that his genuinely awful views about the Black African population and women were completely suppressed until recently!

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    1. Thank you Aimal! I always pick up a few mini bio collections for WHM. It just allows me to learn about so many different women instead of just one or two. I always feel so inspired after reading about so many influential women throughout history!

      And yes! History should always be the good with the bad. A person’s good deeds cannot erase the bad ones…

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    1. Thank you! I typically pick up a few mini bio collections every year for WHM. I really enjoy learning about so many different women versus just one or two. I always am so inspired by what they overcame & what they accomplished.

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  2. You might like “A Woman’s Place is at the Top” by Hannah Kimberley, a biography about Annie Smith Peck, one of the first women mountain climbers in the 1800s. When she climbed a mountain, she planted a flag for Women’s Suffrage on the peak.

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