A Site about Libraries, Information Technology, and the Random Questions You'll Encounter Along the Way
International Women’s Day, which is celebrated every March 8th, first began as part of a garment strike in the early 1900’s. Since then, it has grown into a celebration of women’s (all too often overlooked), achievements and a platform to push for gender equality, an end to violence against women, and equal pay, to name a few issues that still face women today. As a librarian and a feminist, I thought that I’d put together a read-list of some materials that would make for a great book display.
Everyone can name famous historical figures who influenced America, from Henry Ford to Abraham Lincoln. But what about Dorthea Dix, who exposed the harsh treatment of the mentally ill in the 1800s, ᎾᏅᏰᎯ who with other members of the Cherokee tribal council fought for peaceful relations with European-Americans, or Grace Murray Hopper, whose work became the basis of the computer language COBOL?
I thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte Waisman’s Her Story, which highlights the awesome, varied, and all too often unrecognized contributions of over 900 women throughout U.S. history. Including a timeline, easily accessible entries on its individual subjects, with a great illustrations and a very useful bibliography, I can’t recommend this book enough! For lovers of American history, feminists, or just the simply curious, Her Story is a fantastic book that I can’t recommend enough!
I personally love Vicki León’s Uppity Women series, which covers hundreds of amazing women who you’ve probably never heard of. Each entry contains a brief but colorful synopsis along with the occasional illustration, which include some really cool woodcuts and old (1600’s), newspaper illustrations. The women covered range from Fya Upper Bach, a blacksmith who twice held office in the blacksmiths guild and Kubaba, the owner of a bar who managed to become the Queen of Kish, to La Hueca, the “Peruvian Mountie” that “could throw a mean left hook.”.
At the back there are Bibliographies, recommended music or videos, as well as a great resource list. Informative and easily accessible, this is a great book for students who might be looking for someone to write a report on, history buffs, or someone who just enjoys a great read.
Ms. Marvel, brilliantly written by Gwendolyn Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, is one of the best comics out there right now: it’s heroine, Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American, is a brilliantly written, strong, smart heroine, the artwork is great, and the stories have a great balance of action, humor, and some interesting tidbits about Islam (for example, her costume is made from a burkini)!
Easily accessible with a great protagonist, this is a great book for tweens and adults alike (although just as an aside, if you do purchase it for your collection, make sure to get a few copies because once they’re ready for checkout you won’t see them again for a good few months)!
Girl Rising is a powerful, startling documentary that explores the challenges that women and girls still face in the 21st century around the world. Narrated by the likes Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, the documentary follows the lives of nine amazing girls from across the world, from Sokha, a Cambodian orphan living in a dump who becomes an accomplished dancer, to Ruksana, an Indian “Pavement-dweller” who fights to gain access to a decent education.
Although it might not be for everyone (it covers some very difficult topics ranging from child slavery to forced marriages), the film never never loses the hope that is inherit in its message of economic and social empowerment for women through education, and is still one I’d definitely recommend.
Part memoir and part rant, I first heard about Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman while listening to NPR on my way to work. Irreverent, impassioned, and deeply insightful, it examines everything from society’s (continuing) double standards regarding sex, the gender pay gap, which in the United States sees women make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes, and everything from role models, and the question of having/not having children.
Despite the fact that many of the issues Caitlin Moran examines are very serious, she does so with some really, really great lines that had me holding my sides. Throw in some and startling statistics and a great shout-out at the end to a number of authors and activists on twitter who inspire her, this is a great, if slightly longish read at 320 pages, and I would highly recommend it.
Brilliant, hilarious, and heartwarming, Azumanga Daioh is a slice-of-life anime series made up of 5-minute shorts that follows six high school girls, their friendships and Sakaki’s continuing attempts to pet a cat without being mauled. I first watched it while I was part of the anime club at Kent State, and loved it. The characters are well written, the stories are true to life, and the whole series just leaves you feeling good!
Family friendly yet intelligent in its presentation of teens lives, I would recommend this anime for patrons of all ages.
These are only a few titles, and don’t include even a fraction of what’s out there, so feel free to add any titles, authors, movies, or women who impacted history or you personal in the comments section below!