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Collective biographies for Women’s History Month

Bagieu, Pénélope  Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
Middle school, high school
     296 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second

Translated by Montana Kane. French artist Bagieu’s brief vignettes of sequential comics art expose readers to brazen women of all fields, times, and places, both famous and little-known. Each entry gives just enough information about each heroine to know who she was and why she was important; many readers will dig deeper from here. Occasional humor makes even the most tragic stories approachable.
Subjects: Collective Biographies; Women—Biographies; Women—History; Feminism; Cartoons and comics; Graphic novels; Books in translation; Women—Feminists

Clinton, Chelsea  She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Philomel

Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. This globalized follow-up to She Persisted is a worthy entry point to female empowerment. Weighted toward Nobel Prize winners and activists, the list of thirteen featured women also includes less predictable choices such as J. K. Rowling and dancer Yuan Yuan Tan. Inspiring quotes accompany each brief profile, while watercolor and ink illustrations showcase the diverse women (and sometimes girls) at work.
Subjects: Collective Biographies; Women—Biographies; Women; Behavior—Persistence; Activism; Women—History

Gillibrand, Kirsten  Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Knopf

Illustrated by Maira Kalman. “They fought so women could be heard,” writes Senator Gillibrand in this introduction to American women’s suffrage. Glimpses at the usual suspects (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony) mingle with profiles of less commonly covered women, such as Jovita Idár and Inez Milholland. Pink abounds in Kalman’s distinctive and recognizable gouache paintings, which provide striking portraits of the suffragists and vignette scenes of their fight. Timeline.
Subjects: Women’s rights; Women—Suffragists; Voting; Suffrage; Women—History; History, American; Biographies; Women—Biographies

Hood, Susan  Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World
Gr. K–3
     40 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper

Illustrated by Thirteen “Extraordinary Women.” Hood writes poems, in various styles, about fourteen young women in history who resisted and persisted — from Molly Williams, first American woman firefighter (1780s) to activist Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize winner (2014). Each spread of this attractive book was created by a different female illustrator, including Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, LeUyen Pham, and Melissa Sweet. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib.
Subjects: Collective Biographies; Social reformers; Activism; Behavior—Persistence; Women—History; Women—Biographies; Women—Social reformers; Poetry

Latta, Susan M.  Bold Women of Medicine: 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs
Middle school, high school     229 pp.     Chicago

Women of Action series. After an intimate foreword by a female medical resident, engaging profiles of (mainly American) women in medicine are divided among three sections: pioneers who received formal medical training in the nineteenth century, important contributors to twentieth-century medicine, and current practitioners. Each bio emphasizes personal strengths and triumphs over adversities and ends with suggested resources. Historical photographs portray the women at work. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Collective Biographies; Doctors; Women—Doctors; Medicine; Women—Biographies; Nurses; Women—Nurses

Schatz, Kate  Rad Girls Can: Stories of Brave, Bold, and Brilliant Young Women
Gr. 4–6
    110 pp.     Ten Speed

Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. The team behind Rad American Women A–Z and others offers another collective biography introducing females who’ve made a difference, here before age twenty. From the singer Lorde to Malala Yousafzai, this volume covers a refreshing and inclusive mix of girls’ achievement stories, written in engaging, tween-appropriate prose and illustrated with Stahl’s hip cut-paper portraits. Tips for becoming a “rad girl” and resources are appended. Ind.
Subjects: Collective Biographies; Adolescence; Gender roles; Women—Biographies; Women—History

Tinari, Leah  Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts
Gr. 4–6     56 pp.     Simon/Aladdin

A pictorial homage to two dozen “dynamic” and “complicated” American women, many widely known (e.g., Sojourner Truth), others less-so (bass guitarist Carol Kaye). Tinari’s gouache portraits with DayGlo streaks, shading, and letters accentuate each woman’s personality; her face is surrounded by descriptive words that touch on key accomplishments, and a quotation appears on the facing page. Additional brief bios of the women are appended.
Subjects: Women—Biographies; Women—History; History, American

From the March 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book. See also Picture-book biographies of pioneering women and the tag Women’s History.

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