Great New Books to Keep You Celebrating Womens’/Womyns’ History Month (All Year Long)
If you are a regular of our blog (hi!) you know we are of the mindset that while we appreciate the monthly celebrations as reminders to re-up our work, we don’t want to fall into the trap of only emphasizing the community being supposedly celebrated during only that month with our students.
That being said, we love an excuse to add extra incentive and energy around learning about womyn. So here are some newer fiction books (most we read as ARCs so we could keep you as in the loop as possible) that have heroines that we think will aid in great conversations, or are solid options for keeping your students hooked in their adventures and inspired!
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio
We love this for its Filipina (!!!!) main character, Lou, her steadfast belief in herself and her dreams. She holds this belief even though they do not match what others expect of her, and we also admire her love for working with her hands and trying her best. We also adore Lou’s spunky and loving matriarchal family, the food descriptions (you might drool, we would use this as a class read aloud just to be able to incorporate some ube cake or lumpia into the classroom!?), and the representation of multiple different types of families and types of love:).
2. Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess by Janet Hill
We love this for the art, really, but also the life lessons. There isn’t much text here but this is a different type of picture book and we could see it feeling inspiring to some students. For the cat lovers, for those who love looking at the details in art (and finding the cats!), for the humans who want to travel and make their own rules. We could see it being a fun starting off point for a lesson on personal autobiography, where students make their own “rules for life” according to themselves, with illustrated images to accompany them!
3. The Breakways by Cathy G. Johnson
For a slightly stronger reader middle grade reader while still being fluffy and sweet, this is about the most fun eclectic bunch of girls on the struggling, C-level soccer team. Super diverse cast, sweet moments, and sincere struggles with trying to fit in. We love the representation of so many different ways to be an awesome girl (which from this text really means, find out who you are and be that!).
4. Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
One of the new Rick Riordan Presents books, this one is the best from RRP so far (according to Gabby!). While this one is technically about the main character, a Sal, Gabi is really the star of this book and she is everything you could want a heroine to be. She is bright, she is thoughtful, she makes mistakes, she has a loving family you want to be friends with (I won’t spoil it for you, they are adorable), and she is a BOSS. This one also has incredible food scenes, amazing art school vibes, and of course, a universe at stake! (We may also note we love the Cuban vibes, Miami vibes, the healthcare focus which we normally shield from kids-- diabetes and babies, and how all of this is blended into a hilarious fantasy book!).
5. Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
This one is for your melancholy or outdoorsy inspired kiddos. It’s a beautiful graphic novel about grief, nature, familial relationships, and working through your feelings. We’ve seen quite a few books out where boys get to have their big feelings (anger, ‘acting out’) and getting their moments of not knowing how to manage those feels. We love this for the representation of a girl who is unsure how to manage her feelings. We are grateful for the example of Pilu and how she works really hard to wade through her feelings, and finding her way back to supportive humans she loves.
There are, of course, so many more! But we will leave you with five so that it hopefully will not feel overwhelming. There are also so many fantastic anthologies about real womyn (also equally important, if not more so at times!), but we imagined you would see these on shelves at bookstores and blog posts everywhere this month.* We also know there are plenty of more obvious choices but we thought we would mix it up with a variety of these new/ less promoted ones. We hope this quirky new picks inspire you to keep sharing fictional (and non-fictional) amazing womyn with your students -- all the models for the endless ways they can be amazing young womyn!
Happy Womyn’s History month this month and all the futures!
*However if you are in need of an amazing woman to teach about this month Gabby highly suggests one of her favorite humans in history, black, motorcyclist and all around bosslady, Bessie Stringfield. That being said, she hasn’t quite found a kid’s book about Bessie that she loves just yet so please send your recommendations, if you find one!