Monday, March 7, 2011

Women's History Month

On March 19, 1911, Klara Zetkin, a German woman, organized the very first International Women's Day. But interest in the day was low until the women’s movement of the 1960s & 70s. Then in 1978 schools started Women’s History Week to teach women’s history. It became so popular that in 1981 Congress passed a resolution so that the entire nation would celebrate Women’s History Week. Not long after that the celebration extended to the month of March. The theme for the 2011 Women’s History Month is “Writing Women Back into History.”

Today, Women’s History Month is most often celebrated in schools and libraries and other organizations studying women, past and present, that have pushed boundaries and made a lasting impact on the world. The books in this feature are a selection of recent books for parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers to use with children and teens.

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Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louis Smith
Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Scott Dawson
Boldly illustrated with additional background information to enhance this opportune biography, children and adults learn about a young girl's dreams to drive "Fast! Faster! Flying! Free!" through decades of change. For women in the 20th century auto racing was not as popular or sought after as other fields dominated by men like politics, business, sports, or aerospace. However, solid inroads became more evident after the mid-1970's as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR ) and other entities officially allowed women drivers. Up until then, it was a cut-throat world of constant danger, meager pay and unabashed limitations. Louis Smith may not have won every race she entered; she suffered severe injuries over and over again. Races were filthy dirty, cars were not always reliable, rewards were not tangible or forthcoming, and certainly motel living was far from home. However, Smith continued racing throughout her long life no matter the obstacles. No matter the rules, determination led the way in following her heart. Forty-three years after she left the racing world, she was the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Students readily connect with those who pursue daring adventures and demonstrate tremendous courage. The text is appropriately brief and yet quite vivid, that nicely accelerates with every turn of the page. Youngsters can begin studying about women who have successful careers against tremendous odds by incorporating this inspiring book. 2010, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Young Reader's Group, Ages 4 to 8, $16.99. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-525-42173-3

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