Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month Part II

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

Last week I mentioned that I was having difficulty finding 2014 nonfiction picture books that celebrated women.  This messed up my plans for my March posts. Oh well! Last week, I featured 5 of my favorite picture book biographies of women.  This week I am sharing nonfiction books that still have quite a few illustrations or photographs but are geared for a slightly older audience, and still celebrate women and their contributions and honor the intent of Women's History Month.

For Part II, I  feature 5 of my favorite longer length biographies of women:

Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Boyd Mills Press, 2010) - If you have not read this book, find it and read immediately. Written in a way that will pull in even the most reluctant nonfiction reader, the book is filled with great facts and just the right amount of humor.

Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Dennis Brindell Fradin; Judith Bloom Fradin (Clarion Books 2012) - I was so sad that I discovered this after I did my Literacy Café on the Harlem Renaissance. A very accessible biography on Zora Neale Hurston for ages 10 and up.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick Press, 2009) - I am a huge fan of Tanya Lee Stone and this was the book that began my journey to learn about what was new in children's nonfiction and eventually led me to begin my nonfiction picture book challenge.

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy (National Geographic Children's Books, 2011) - Sue Macy is another author that I enjoy reading. However, I would have picked this one up just based on the title alone. I learned so much in reading this one. I had never thought about how a bicycle would provide women with a certain amount of mobility which would then lead to freedom.

Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O'Keefe by Susan Goldman Rubin (Chronicle Books, 2011) - Whether you are a fan of the artist, Georgia O'Keefe, or just interested in women's biographies, this is an interesting read about the early influences over O'Keefe's art and development into the artist she would become.

And my bonus pick...I sat on the fence with this one...however, it was such an amazing book that I needed to include it.

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer (National Geographic Children's Books, 2011) - When I read this book, I remember thinking that I knew about the Salem Witch Trials.  However, there was a lot that I did not know and I could not put this down. 

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews...

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month Part I

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

To celebrate Women's History Month, I wanted to share a variety of new nonfiction picture books about the amazing women who made significant contributions to history.  As I scrolled through my 2014 nonfiction picture book releases, I realized that there was a minimal number of books featuring women. How could that be when I had counted quite a few that were released in 2013.  So I needed to change my post plans.  Instead, I am going to honor several that have come out in the past couple of years.

In Part I, I will feature 5 of my favorite picture book biographies of women:

Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport; Illustrated by Gary Kelley (Disney-Hyperion 2009) - A wonderful picture book biography on the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt. 

The Tree Lady: The Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins; Illustrated by Jim McElmurry (Beach Lane Books, September 2013) - A strong biography on Katherine Sessions and how she wanted to plant trees in the San Diego Area in it's early years.

Here Comes the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey; Illustrated by Hadley Hooper (Scholastic, January 2012) - This was a great story about Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and what she had to do to create the Girl Scouts.

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 2011) - A very young picture book biography on Jane Goodell.

Women Explorers by Julie Cummins; Illustrated by Cheryl Harness (Dial, February 2012) - The story of ten women who went out and lived life not worrying about what others were thinking.

Stop by next week to find out 5 more favorites.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month - Celebrating Florence Nightingale & Eleanor Prentiss

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

To celebrate Women's History Month, I will be sharing different books about women over the next several Wednesdays.  In today's post, I look at Florence Nightingale and Eleanor Prentiss.  Though they were contemporaries of one another, their paths would not have crossed.  Florence lived in England and traveled primarily in Europe.  Eleanor grew up in Massachusetts and spent years learning to navigate a schooner, which eventually led her to sail from New York City to San Francisco in record-breaking time.

Both of these women are remarkable in their dogged-pursuit of the things they loved, which at the time were careers that women did not typically pursue, especially for Eleanor. As for Florence, yes, there were female nurses in her time, but her skill and knowledge led her to develop systems and practices that would influence nursing and patient care for years.

If you are looking for picture book biographies on these amazing women to be used in classroom or school libraries, I would definitely recommend the following books.

Florence Nightingale by Demi (Henry Holt & Co, February 4, 2014) - I have not read or seen many picture book biographies on Florence Nightingale so I was curious about this one. Demi has created a biography on Florence Nightingale and her early years and what influenced her to pursue nursing and the conditions of hospitals and patient care as a career and life-long mission.  Despite suffering from ill-health for much of her adult life, Nightingale never allowed it to detour her mission and focus.  Her influence was so great that it is felt today with the work of the International Red Cross.  

One of my favorite lines in this book is at the end...
We remember Florence Nightingale today as the driving force behind improvements in nursing during her time and as a woman of extraordinary vision, who believed that no problem, however big it seemed, was ever too big for her to solve.

Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of  Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern; Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, February 18, 2014) - Tracey Fern brings to life both Eleanor Prentiss and her love of the sea.  As I read through this picture book biography on Prentiss, I was caught up in the race she undertook from New York City around Cape Horn to San Francisco.  When her schooner ran into trouble, I was amazed at how she was able to navigate out of it. 

Two of my favorite lines in the book were...
Then Ellen remembered what her papa had taught her long ago: a true navigator must have the caution to read the sea, as well as the courage to dare the wind. 

There is no glory in second place, Ellen thought.  Now is the time for courage.

Look for both of these picture book biographies at your local independent bookstore or public library.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?

Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrated: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (February 19, 2013)
Source: Personal Copy
Audience: Ages 5 to 8
Nonfiction * Biography * Women's History * Women Doctors

Description from the Publisher's Website:
In the 1830s, when a brave and curious girl named Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up, women were supposed to be wives and mothers. Some women could be teachers or seamstresses, but career options were few. Certainly no women were doctors.

But Elizabeth refused to accept the common beliefs that women weren’t smart enough to be doctors, or that they were too weak for such hard work. And she would not take no for an answer. Although she faced much opposition, she worked hard and finally—when she graduated from medical school and went on to have a brilliant career—proved her detractors wrong. This inspiring story of the first female doctor shows how one strong-willed woman opened the doors for all the female doctors to come.

My thoughts on this book:
First, I caught a glimpse of Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell a few months ago at ALA Midwinter.  At that time, I knew it would be a perfect book for both Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and also for Women's History Month.  This year, the theme of Women's History Month is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination with a focus on women who have contributed to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) fields.   

Second, Tanya Lee Stone is the author of this book.  I almost feel like I need to say nothing more.  Seriously, Stone is an amazing, amazing author of nonfiction books.  I was recommending nonfiction titles to one of my librarians a few weeks ago, and suddenly I stopped and realized that nearly every title I had recommended was a book written by Stone.  And to top it all off, Tanya Lee Stone writes both picture books and nonfiction for older readers.

I guess I should finally get to my thoughts on Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?

Stone tells the story of Elizabeth Blackwell who became the first woman doctor in the United States.  Not an easy thing in the mid-1800's.  Blackwell received 28 rejections from medical schools until she received an acceptance letter from Geneva Medical School in upstate New York.  Blackwell graduated from medical school in 1849 at the age of 28.  Though the book ends with Blackwell's graduation from Medical School, the end notes provide further information about the challenges Elizabeth faced.  Those challenges led her, with the assistance of her sister who also became a doctor, to eventually open up the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857.  This was followed by the opening of a Women's Medical College in 1868. 

Though the book focuses more on Blackwell as a child and what factors led her to pursue becoming a doctor, the inclusion of the author's note rounds out the story.  Stone's description of Blackwell's personality and spirit as a child is humorously portrayed through Priceman's illustrations.  What shines through the story is the determination and strength that Blackwell possessed that allowed her to break ground for other women to later become doctors. 

With Blackwell's text and Priceman's spirited illustrations, young readers will find this story very accessible.  If you love looking for nonfiction picture books or nonfiction biographies, then you will want to add Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell to your personal collection or to a classroom or school library. 

Look for this book at your local bookstore and shop indie when possible.

More about Tanya Lee Stone: website | blog | twitter | facebook |

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Louisa May's Battle

Author: Kathleen Krull
Illustrator: Carlyn Beccia
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Source: Personal Copy
Audience: Grades 3rd to 5th
Nonfiction * Women's History * American History * Famous Authors

Description on GoodReads:
Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most-her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work. When her own letters home were published as Hospital Sketches, she had her first success as a writer. The acclaim for her new writing style inspired her to use this approach in Little Women, which was one of the first novels to be set during the Civil War. It was the book that made her dreams come true, and a story she could never have written without the time she spent healing others in service of her country

My thoughts on the book:
One of my favorite authors when I was in 5th grade was Louisa May Alcott.  I read and loved Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys, and Eight Cousins.  However, I never really bothered to look into who Louisa May Alcott was or what influenced her as a woman and writer.  Recently, I read the biographical picture book Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott by Yona Zeldis McDonough (Henry Holt, and Co., 2009) I found the book fascinating and the historical information interesting.

In Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women, Kathleen Krull focuses on Alcott's experiences as a nurse during the Civil War and how it influenced her as a person and also as a writer. Krull brings to life Alcott's experience from the train ride to the her travels on a ship to her experience tending soldiers.  Unfortunately, Alcott wasn't immune from the illnesses facing the men and boys she was caring for.  Several weeks in, she became ill with Typhoid fever.  Alcott was never quite the same after her illness, but when she was well enough to consider work again, she began revisiting her writing with more success than she had before.

The combination of Krull's text accompanied by Beccia's paintings make this book a success for me.  Krull provides additional sources at the end as well as some additional information of Women in Medicine.  This is a great addition for any classroom or school library, and a wonderful book to celebrate Women's History Month.  

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: