Friday, March 31, 2017

4 Books to Wrap Up Women's History Month

You’re a busy person and March is almost over. How many books about women did you squeeze in? If the answer distresses your inner book nerd, don’t worry. Here are four great books packed with history, stories and projects that will inspire you long after the official holiday has passed.

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

I’ve researched a lot of remarkable women for my own blogs, but Maggs surprised me with a few I hadn’t heard of before. These are 25 profiles of accomplished women who faced tremendous odds, from rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan to author and World War II spy Noor Inayat Khan. The selection of women is diverse, and it covers fascinating topics like female spies and thrillseekers in addition to science, invention and medicine. Want to know about female ninjas? She has you covered. Maggs’ writing style is relatable and fun, which keeps the history popping.

Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga by Jennifer Croll

These days, the push for change in women’s careers is through STEM, but Jennifer Croll takes another path, reminding everyone that women have used whatever tools were at their disposal to change the world. This book is fun and fascinating, covering icons from Marie Antoinette to Rihanna and Madonna. For as long as male-dominated society has dictated what women should wear, ladies have rebelled and done their own thing. Amelia Bloomer advocated the right to wear pants in the 1850s, Josephine Baker shed her clothes and became the toast of Europe, and Rose Bertin broke the law by simply owning and operating a women’s clothing shop in 1770s Paris. The book also covers women’s fashion as political statements and shock value; a bright, colorful and inspiring read.

America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins

If you’ve ever doubted that women played a major role in establishing the United States, doubt no more. Rich with detail and mesmerizing stories of strong women, this book is a must-read for every girl and young woman who thinks they can’t accomplish something. Also, feel free after reading this to roll your eyes every time someone mentions “The Scarlet Letter,” because women weren’t demure, delicate little things; they had their own opinions, desires, and work; they ran the household and created everything, including fabric, from scratch. Puritan men often complained that the women in their lives had bad attitudes, while the younger set caroused with the opposite sex and had frequent girls’ nights out. They also ran family businesses, chased tax collectors with boiling water, became preachers and more. The author digs through tons of research and makes each woman and her story come alive.

Crafting With Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton

Burton’s book isn’t about history, but it gives you something to do after you finish the first three. The craft projects vary from beginner-level to advanced, so there’s something for everyone to do. Burton also recognizes that feminists come in varying levels of volume and taste, so you can make Peace and Equali-tea Aromatherapy Candles or realistic Vagina Tree Ornaments. The Strong Female Character Prayer Candle is definitely a fun one, even for my own legendary craft klutziness, and one day I will finish my “Emma Watson as She-Ra” candle. It’s a great way to show off your dedication to equal rights and have some fun at the same time.

*This piece also appeared on The Huffington Post*