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Chapter 11 - Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Just as I couldn't bypass Black History Month without listing some wonderful books written by or about black authors, I would be remiss not to recognize Women's History Month.

Let me start by acknowledging that I am a feminist and have been since 1970 when I became aware, at the ripe age of 13, of the Women's Movement, the Equal Rights Amendment and the inequality of the sexes. What is feminism any way but "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"? (Thank you Mr. Webster!)

There are so many books about strong, intelligent women, both fiction and non-fiction, that it may be hard for me to pick out my favorites. So without any political ado - here are some wonderful books about women you'd be proud to know.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margo Lee Shetterly - Before any of the space launches a group of women mathematicians (human computers) used pencils, slide rules, and calculators to create numbers to launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these women were a number of extremely talented African American women who had to deal not only with a male dominated workplace but also segregation and discrimination, and still remain focused on their job to win the race to space. This wonderful work of non-fiction has been made into a movie as well.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - A novelized account of some true events in history, Quinn tells the story of a young woman in 1947 who goes to France to track down her missing cousin after World War II. On the way, she contacts a member of the The Alice Network - a World War I group of women who lived in German occupied war zones and, in very dangerous circumstances, gave information to British intelligence which helped the war effort. The novel goes back and forth between the stories of the two women.

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy - Another non-fiction book, Mundy writes of more than ten thousand women who were recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges and served as codebreakers during World War II. Their efforts not only shortened the war and saved lives but also opened them to careers they could only have imagined as children.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai - While you think you may know her story, this memoir will take you to a life that can be only be described as extraordinary. At the age of 15, Malala was shot point-blank in the head by Taliban fighters while riding home from school. Few expected her to live, but she did, and her journey from that dark time in Pakistan is an inspiration to all.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo - I was made aware of this book by my friend Janet who bought it for her oldest granddaughter. This children's book is packed with bedtime stories (one page long) of 100 extraordinary women and illustrated by 60 women artists from all over the world. There is now also a second volume and I recommend the set to anyone who believes their children or grandchildren should know about women's history. The age range for this is probably 4 to 100!

Let me know if there are any books you'd like to share for Women's History Month.

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