BY MEGAN TAYLOR
The month of March is known for being Women’s History Month. For the next 31 days, contributions of women in the present and throughout history will be celebrated. There are many ways to share the importance of Women’s History Month, one being telling their stories through books. Normally for this column I list three books, and while it was hard to choose only three for Women’s History Month, the below novels have influenced and stood out to many.
Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris
Recently published, Ambitious Girl is a children’s book perfect for all ages, including adults. New York Times best-selling author Meena Harris tells the journey of a young girl who sees a strong woman on TV being overshadowed, overlooked, and called “too assertive” and “too ambitious.” After hearing these comments, the girl learns about the past, present, and future challenges women and girls face, as well as the ways they can knock down those difficulties. Stated in an interview, Harris hopes her book helps girls unlearn stereotypes in the world and show that female ambition is a good thing. Harris is the CEO of Phenomenal Girl and the author of Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, which is based on her aunt, Vice President Kamala Harris and her mother, Maya Harris. Ambitious Girl is on its way to making a difference in the lives of many girls and women. “As Ambitious Girl says: No ‘too that’ or ‘too this’ will stop what’s inside us from flowering.”
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary Hartnett, and Wendy W. Williams
Written with the assistance of her biographers, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book, My Own Words, brings together a collection of her speeches, thoughts, writings, and interviews on subjects, such as gender equality, being Jewish, the Supreme Court, and why we should look to other countries at times. Some of her speeches date back to the eighth grade. In addition, Justice Ginsburg describes her experiences working with Sandra Day O’Connor and Antonin Scalia. Hartnett and Williams give historical context to Justice Ginsburg’s writing. Throughout the book are pieces of advice and lessons of strength that can inspire anyone. My Own Words is Justice Ginsburg’s first book since 1993 and was published in 2016. The novel garnered many positive reviews including this one from The Washington Post: “Witty, engaging, serious, and playful…a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women and ‘a tonic to the current national discourse.’” My Own Words is a must-read for not just Women’s History Month, but for all 12 months.
The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood
Author and editor Jessica Spotswood is joined by 12 other young adult writers to bring you The Radical Element. Set in 1927, readers are taken on a journey through characters’ eyes of racism, immigration, and science. These stories are about girls of all ages, races, and backgrounds who have one goal in mind – standing up for themselves and their beliefs. Each character takes a different path to discovering how to make their voices known against society’s expectations and readers are left on the edge of their seats as they discover these paths. Based on the tagline, “To respect yourself, to love yourself, should not have to be a radical decision,” The Radical Element is a powerful novel for young adults.
There are hundreds of books that relate to Women’s History Month. The good news? You don’t have to celebrate the achievements or empower women only during March; you can do it all 12 months of the year. These three books are a great way to begin doing just that.