Finding Good Reads for Women's History Month

By Cindy Cohrs-Brandt

March is Women’s History Month and what better time to share with your child a biography about a woman?  As an elementary school librarian and a mom, I know how important it is to help your child find a book that matches their interest.  Here are a few tips for selecting that perfect book that celebrates women’s history and the contributions women have made to the world!  

1.  Explore your child’s interest:  Do you have a budding scientist? Athlete? Writer?  There is a woman’s biography for that!  Imagine how your child can be inspired to write after reading J.K. Rowling’s biography, soar to new places after learning about the life of Sally Ride or aspire to become a tennis player with the biography of Venus and Serena Williams.   

2.  Make history come alive: What better way to make history come alive than to “see” the event through the life of someone who was there? History is no longer just a list of facts or events but through a biography, your child can experience and understand the emotions, triumphs or setbacks of the times.  The Civil Rights movement takes on a whole new meaning after reading about the bravery of a young Ruby Bridges or Rosa Parks and the Civil War becomes alive when your child can be “alongside” Clara Barton as she heroically nursed soldiers on the battlefield.

3.  Have an adventure:  Turn a family outing into an opportunity to learn more about women.  A nature walk can be a wonderful time to learn about Rachel Carson, a visit to the zoo would be more meaningful after reading about Jane Goodall and your child will have a much greater appreciation for music after enjoying a book about their favorite female musician.  Even a routine visit to the doctor can spark an interest in Elizabeth Blackwell or other pioneering women doctors.

4. Ask an expert: The first place to turn for help is your school or local public library.  Librarians are ready to suggest the perfect women’s biography based upon your child’s interest and reading abilities!  Not sure who they might want to read about? No problem, they can also assist your child in finding a new book to explore. When visiting a museum, park, or historic site, be sure to ask the docents or curators for book recommendations and don’t forget to to check out the gift shops! Often, they will have a selection of biographies to choose from.

5. Other resources: There are a number of great resources to find the perfect women’s history book for your child.  A good place to start is to check out the Penguin Books  “Who Was” series. This series is wildly popular among my students and new titles are added all the time. Amazon offers an extensive listing of children’s books on women’s history.  The Amazon book descriptions often include the suggested reading level of the book, book reviews and a summary that can help in book selection. To spark their interest, encourage your child to search Ducksters  or Time for Kids, on their own for a woman to learn more about.