What's Herstory?

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What's Herstory?

Suggested reading for Women's History Month

Why do we celebrate Women's History Month? Well, why do we learn history? To help us build a better future. It's important we learn every side of history, and that includes the roles of women and their influence on the present. Below, I have compiled a small list of books that everyone should read, especially during Women's History Month. Not only are these books informative, but you will enjoy every word as well. Happy Women's History Month and enjoy!

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
Author, Kate Manning, got inspired to write this novel from real life woman, Ann Trow Lohman who went under the alias Madame Restell. Lohman built a reputation as a female physician who not only delivered births, but also provided contraceptives and performed abortions. My Notorious Life, partly tells the story of Lohman as the heroine Ann "Axie" Muldoon and her journey to becoming a midwife and the most notorious woman in the state of New York. With the help of old newspaper articles, trial transcripts, and advertisements, Manning was able to craft this beautifully written novel about a woman who against all odds helped other women take charge of their own life without judgement.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is transcript of a speech Adichie gave at a TEDx event in 2013. Adichie aims to empower women to wear the title "feminist" proudly, while not feeling they have to sacrifice their true selves, and encourages me to join the fight of inequality against women while challenging what it means to "be a man". Motivating, thought-provoking, and just plain good. If you haven't read any of Adichie's fiction books before, you certainly will want to after reading this. 

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Casey (grades PreK - 3)
Amelia Bloomer did not like the clothes women wore at that time. They were heavy, uncomfortable, and inhibiting. Which is why she was all too excited to see Elizabeth Cady Stanton (another notable figure in history) wear bloomers (baggy pants with a short skirt over them) and made them a popular style all over the country. This style allowed women to move more freely without being weighed down with heavy fabric. Bloomer did more than change the way women dressed, she fought for equal rights and provided jobs for women.  A great read for parents to introduce to their children notable women in history.

Black Women of the Old West by William Loren Katz
This very informative and interesting book is filled with many old photos and illustrations (all part of the William Katz collection) of African American women from the 1800s to the 1900s. Many of the women were business owners, fought for the freedom of slaves, lived among (and sometimes enslaved) by Native Americans, and fulfilled many other surprising roles. Although a children's book, Black Women of the Old West is a book for all ages. 
**(Adult/young adult companion: African American Women of the Old West by Tricia Martineau Wagner)
A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull by Kathleen Krull (grades 3-5)
Woodhull led a very interesting life: she grew up poor, became a preacher when she was eight, worked as a fortune teller, founded her own investment business, and ran for president of the United States. She definitely had an influence on people and even though she was considered a laughing stock when she announced her campaign for presidency that never stopped her from fighting for what she believed in. 

What books would you include in this list? Post your thoughts on our facebook page or tweet us @dcpl with the hashtag #herstoryDCPL

Looking for more great reads for Women's History Month? Visit your local public library and be sure check out the Women's History Month webpage for the amazing events during March.