“I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives, but as nouns.”
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Today is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday.
In honor of the suffragist and civil rights pioneer (and in light of the current political climate), here’s a list of books to empower and inspire girls.
- Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood up and fought for what she believed in. From an early age, she knew that women were not given rights equal to men. But rather than accept her lesser status, Elizabeth went to college and later gathered other like-minded women to challenge the right to vote. Here is the inspiring story of an extraordinary woman who changed America forever because she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
- Lillian’s Right to Vote: An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book. As Lillian, a 100-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky — she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery.
- If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights: A different time … a different place … What if you were there? There was a time that girls and women in the United States could not wear pants, play sports on a team, ride a bicycle, or go to college. That all began to change in 1848, when American women (and some men) met in Seneca Falls, New York, at the first convention for women’s rights held anywhere in the world. (Written in a Q&A format)
- For the Right to Learn: She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. She defied the Taliban’s rules, spoke out for education for every girl, and was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.
- Brown Girl Dreaming: Raised in South Carolina and New York, author Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway home in each place.In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.
- Miss Paul and the President: When Alice Paul was a child, she saw her father go off to vote while her mother had to stay home. But why should that be? So Alice studied the Constitution and knew that the laws needed to change. But who would change them? She would! In her signature purple hat, Alice organized parades and wrote letters and protested outside the White House. She even met with President Woodrow Wilson, who told her there were more important issues to worry about than women voting. But nothing was more important to Alice. So she kept at it, and soon President Wilson was persuaded.
- Women Who Broke the Rules (series): This series highlights women who pushed boundaries to become history-makers. Biographies in the series include the likes of Coretta Scott King, Sonia Sotomayor, Sacajawea, Judy Blume, and more. This series is the perfect way to stock your child’s bookshelves with role models.
- I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark: Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the first picture book about her life as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the “Notorious RBG” tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.