~posted by Ruth
Some of my favorite books when I was growing up told the stories of women who achieved great things: Madame Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell, Frida Kahlo. There were a few middle school paperbacks and young adult biographies of these women, but certainly no picture books. Well, now (as of September 2010!) there’s My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? The author, Jennifer Fosberry, who describes herself as a “science geek turned book writer,” was moved to create this story for her own daughter to aspire to be the kind of woman she had always admired.
The picture book tells the story of Isabella, who wakes up every morning pretending to be someone else–a groundbreaking woman who changed history. I was captivated by this picture book; it doesn’t hurt that Fosberry included many of my own personal heroes. She also adds activists and astronauts–and best of all, the role model of a caring and imaginative mom who helps her daughter know she can be anything!
There is also a wonderful resource at the back of the book with short bios of all the women that Isabella pretends to be. A captivating book for even very young girls–and a terrific resource for older girls to start collecting information on their personal heroes. I can imagine adolescents writing picture book versions of contemporary women heroes for modern girls, too!