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A Celebration of Extraordinary Women

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Throughout history, generations of girls and women have successfully challenged our culture, stereotypes, and conventional thinking to create a stronger, safer environment for generations to come. Although much work is still to be done, it is with honor that I feel free to write a blog about and share books in celebration of Women’s History Month. Working remotely has lent an opportunity for me to receive many fabulous books added to our collection. I have had the privilege of reviewing some really wonderful pieces highlighting women of color. I want to encourage everyone to search the Respect Together Libraries for themselves.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison celebrates the lives and stories of forty Black women in American history. Women who are highlighted within this book include Sojourner Truth, Bessie Coleman, Alice Ball, Shirley Chisholm, and Maya Angelou to name a few. These women and the many others profiled in this book shed light on the heroes and role models whose courage contributed to making the country a better place for the future of women and young girls. This book is written for ages 8-12.

For younger kids up to age three, author Vashti Harrison also brings us Dream Big, Little One. This board book brings to light 18 inspirational Black women who also shaped America’s history. This is the adaptation of Little Leaders that is sure to help pique little ones’ interest in strong women and truly show them that not all heroes wear capes.

Cicely Tyson: Just As I Am with Michelle Burford is the extraordinary memoir released by Ms. Tyson two days before her death. With her beautiful words, she recalls a life of inspiration and a career that spanned seven decades. She describes racial and gender stereotyping, prejudice within the movie industry, and men who were less than gentlemen. Tyson reveals her knack for rebelling against convention and injustice and pushing back against workplace demands. Having married jazz musician Miles Davis, she does not mince words when it comes to their divorce. During her career, she received two Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and won a Tony for Best Actress for The Trip to Bountiful. She also received an honorary Oscar in 2018, making her the first Black woman to have ever done so.

A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools by Rachel Devlin offers a new perspective within the history of desegregation. She reveals that the movement was led by young women and girls. After World War II, these young women and girls attempted to register at white-only schools. They were the ones who met with white administrators, testified in court, and spoke with reporters regarding their desires for attending schools with white students. After Brown vs. Board of Education, by a majority, girls would continue to work toward desegregation within formerly all-white schools.

I wanted to choose stories that go beyond the norm of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and share the inspiring truths that women of color have brought to our country. I wanted to share stories that I have read to my daughter and ones that I am ecstatic to share from a personal perspective. Check out the Respect Together Library for these and many more titles that celebrate women and girls. As always I wish you a wonderful day, happy reading, and warmth as we recognize Women’s History Month.