03-24-2023 / Booksio Staff
Explore Women’s History With Children
Blog

Did you know that out of 737 historical figures taught in K-12 curriculum standards in every state, only 178, or 24%, are women, including several fictional characters such as Rosie the Riveter?

Here at Booksio, we have no doubt that women’s rights and human rights, and women’s history is everyone’s history!

Regardless of your child’s gender, we hope you agree that they need to learn about the important contributions of women to American and global history. As with all marginalized histories, it’s important to make sure you’re not reaffirming stereotypes and your kids are getting a full, accurate, and vivid picture of women’s impact. 

We’d like to share a few ideas that might help in exploring women’s history with any children you have in your life.

 

Start with inspiring historical figures

Especially with younger children, it’s okay to start with some “heroes and holidays” to get them conversant in some important women in our history. The Little Feminist Board Book Set is a fun, colorful way to introduce even the youngest children to some key figures in women’s history. As children get older, books like Brave Girl by Michelle Markel, which tells the story of Clara Lemlich, an immigrant and early union organizer, can start to contextualize everyday women into their understanding of the greater American story.

 

Go deeper, think critically

As children get older, you can start to look at the issues more critically and with a deeper sense of analysis. A book like I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark looks at some of RBG’s greatest legal dissents and is a perfect opportunity to discuss with children what it means to disagree and argue for what you believe is right. For any teen, being able to see themselves in historical figures allows them to look critically at the issues they face today. A book like She Takes A Stand: 16 Fearless Activists Who Have Changed the World would be an excellent choice for that conversation.

 

Be intersectional in your approach

While women’s history is seldom taught, the problem is even worse for women of color and from marginalized communities. Make sure to consider different perspectives and backgrounds when discussing women’s history. Under My Hijab is a beautiful children’s book that explores why Muslim women wear hijabs to honor their culture. For young teens who want a cooler way to think about women’s history, Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a graphic novel that looks at LGBTQ women and women of color. These books invite conversations about the complexity of multiple identities and one’s relationship with society.

 

Always encourage reflection

Last but not least, encourage children at all levels of their development to reflect on what they’ve learned. What do you think about that? Would you have handled it differently? Why do you think she met with so much resistance? Many books come with family guides that can help you with some probing, insightful questions, but always see a book as an opportunity to engage in conversation with your child. 

At Booksio, we’re focused on Women’s Equality during March. We encourage you to consider how you can discuss women’s history and women’s continuing struggle for equality with the young people in your life.  

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