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EFFECTIVE JULY 13, 2020...Governor's Executive Order 2020-147
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Books for Women's History Month

"women work for the vote (2)" by Oregon State University

On this date 100 years ago, we only had 18 Amendments to the Constitution (looking at you, Prohibition). But that wouldn't last long, because the 19th Amendment was on it's way to ratification - finally granting women the right to vote. Michigan was one of the first three states to ratify the Amendment, less than a week after Congress passed it! By August 26, 1920 the Amendment had been certified, and nearly 10 million women turned out to vote in the 1920 Presidential Election.

Every March, we remember and honor the contributions that women have made to the world in Women's History Month. Here are some of our picks to read this month:

Children's Books:

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone

When Elizabeth Blackwell wanted to become a doctor in the 19th Century, it simply hadn't been done before. But she would pursue her medical education and open doors for future generations of women.

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood

Learn about young movers and shakers, like Mary Anning, who was just thirteen when she unearthed a prehistoric fossil; and Ruby Bridges, the brave six-year-old who helped end segregation in the South; and Maya Lin, who at twenty-one won a competition to create a war memorial, and then had to appear before Congress to defend her right to create.

Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison

Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

The true story of the young immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark

Daughter of the famous poet, Ada Byron Lovelace was a genius in her own right. Her early creative fascination with mathematics and science led to the ground-breaking algorithm she wrote for Charles Babbage's analytical engine.

Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport

She couldn't go to college. She couldn't become a politician. She couldn't even vote. But Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn't let that stop her. She called on women across the nation to stand together and demand to be treated as equal to men--and that included the right to vote.

Maritcha: a Nineteenth-Century American Girl by Tonya Bolden

The poignant story, based on the memoir of Maritcha Rémond Lyons, shows what it was like to be a black child born free and living in New York City in the mid-1800s.

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Johnson

A biography of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a female scientist who made a stand in the face of opposition to women's rights and her own Greenbelt Movement, an effort to restore Kenya's ecosystem by planting millions of trees.

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey

Amelia Bloomer, who does not behave the way nineteenth-century society tells her a proper lady should, introduces pantaloons to American women to save them from the discomfort of their heavy, tight dresses.

Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh

Learn the story of how women throughout the ages have responded to situations confronting them in daily life by inventing such items as correction fluid, space helmets, and disposable diapers.


Teen Books:

The Hidden Girl by Lola Rein Kaufman

After deciding to donate the dress her mother had made for her to a museum, Lola Rein Kaufman, survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, decides that it is finally time to speak publicly about her experiences.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu

With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

She Takes a Stand by Michael Elsohn Ross

A source of inspiration for young women with strong social convictions, She Takes a Stand highlights 16 extraordinary women who have fought for human rights, civil rights, workers' rights, reproductive/sexual rights, and world peace from the 1800s to today.

A Thousand Sisters: the Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in WWII by Elizabeth Wein

After Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat, Marina Raskova led three regiments, including the legendary "night witches" of the 588th Bomber Regiment, many of whom were teens. This is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.


Adult Books:

Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman

On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland both departed New York in an effort to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span 28,000 miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

During WWI, hundreds of young women painted clock faces with the mysterious substance radium. These "shining girls" - nicknamed for the way even the women shone in the dark - were considered the luckiest alive, until they began to fall mysteriously ill

First Women: the Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Brower

One of the most underestimated—and challenging—positions in the world, the First Lady of the United States must be many things: an inspiring leader with a forward-thinking agenda of her own; a savvy politician, skilled at navigating the treacherous rapids of Washington; a wife and mother operating under constant scrutiny; and an able CEO responsible for the smooth operation of countless services and special events at the White House.

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

A portrait of Hatshepsut, the longest-reigning woman pharaoh in Ancient Egypt, draws on surviving artifacts to consider her unprecedented rise, her achievements and why most of her monuments were destroyed after her death.

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick

Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why she - along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing - remains unmarried.

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden Afghan custom and constructs a powerful and moving account of the long-standing tradition that has enabled many girls to counter the challenges they face in a deeply segregated society where they have almost no rights.

D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose

The dramatic, inspiring story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain's elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis, shore up the Resistance, and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II.

Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang

Cixi’s extraordinary reign saw the birth of modern China. Under her, the ancient country attained industries, railways, electricity, and a military with up-to-date weaponry. She abolished foot-binding, inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on a path to introduce voting rights.

Published by on March 07, 2020
Last Modified August 05, 2020