c.2023, Calkins Creek
40 pages each
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor
Girls can do anything boys can do.
But you knew that, right? Well, once upon a time, almost nobody believed it, which is why, in March, we celebrate the accomplishments that women made when very few people thought they could. Here are some great picture books to learn more…
After you read The Brilliant Calculator: How Mathematician Edith Clarke Helped Electrify America by Jan Lower, illustrated by Susan Reagan (Calkins Creek, $18.99), you might think that something doesn’t add up.
Edith Clarke loved numbers – she was fascinated by them – but all the grown-ups said that “Girls belong on the farm.” Lucky for all of us, Edith never paid attention to that. She ignored everyone, went to college, and then she became a teacher and a “human computor” for an engineering firm. She was also a big problem-solver, and this led to Edith became becoming “America’s first female electrical engineer!” For kids who always wonder how things work, this book is excellent.
For the kid who hates doing household chores – especially the dishes! – Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine by Kate Hannigan, illustrated by Sarah Green (Calkins Creek, $18.99) is a great book to have. It’s the story of one woman and a sink full of broken dishes. Josephine Cochrane hated that her good dishes were chipped and scratched almost as much as she hated washing them by hand. That chore took her away from doing the things she actually wanted to do. But the one thing Josephine believed was that for every problem in the world, “There must be a better way!” It was just up to her to find it, that was all. Her story is perfect for children who like to tinker and invent, and for those who want to improve the world.
Here’s another book for the kid who wants to make a difference: A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress: The Story of Jeannette Rankin by Gretchen Woelfle, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Calkins Creek, $18.99). It’s the story of a restless young woman who couldn’t find her fit at home in Montana, so she traveled to California where she worked to help people in poverty. Her heart broke because of the children, and she vowed to do something. This led her around the country, working for the right for women to vote – and when she went home to Montana, she discovered that she still had work to do. But Jeannette Rankin was a can-do kind of woman and eventually, her work was a success! This is a great book for young activists, budding politicians, and for little girls who want to help others.
Any and all of these great books are for kids around age four to about age seven. They’re inspirational, colorfully illustrated, interesting, and historically true but if they aren’t what you’re looking for this Women’s History Month, be sure to ask your favorite librarian or bookseller for help. They can help you find almost any woman’s story, for kids or for adults. It’s just something they can do.