The Amelia Bloomer Project

-posted by Meghan

Some days I lose a lot of time surfing the web.  I get sucked into a whole host of time-wasting garbage that I regret later.  But there are times that you stumble on something brilliant, someplace where you do lose time, but it’s time well spent, where you always learn something interesting and come away thinking.  One such discovery for me was the day I stumbled onto “The Amelia Bloomer Project.”

Here’s what they do, in their words: “We create an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18.  We are part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association!”

Hallelujah!  And can I get an “Amen, sister?”  Feminist books for birth on up?  Fabulous!  And the books they pick really are pretty fabulous.  You can browse the site forever, and each time you come away  with your list of books to-read just a little longer and your wallet just a little lighter.

So, in honor of all women everywhere, go check out the Amelia Bloomer Project.  Find a book for you, one for your daughter, and maybe one other for another special girl/woman in your life.

Just to give you an idea of the kinds of books you’ll find there, here was my reading list from my first visit to the site: (I limit myself to one fiction and one non-fiction pick for each myself and Molly per visit – when our local library doesn’t have the books I want to read, I have a terrible and expensive tendency to order them online, so I have to set artificial book limits for myself!)

Me non-fiction pick:Who is Ana Mendieta? by Christine Redfern and Caro Caron

This graphic novel is explained on the back by this sentence: “Ana Mendieta, whose bold work about the female body and violence was changing the course of art history, ‘went out the window’ of the New York City apartment she shared with her husband, sculptor Carl Andre, at the height of her career. Andre was tried and acquitted of her murder, and the legacy of Mendieta has been shrouded ever since.”  It definitely got me wondering more about this woman I’d never heard of, and the illustrations look fascinating.  I can’t wait to dig in.

Me fiction pick: Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

I read this one first.  I couldn’t help it.  It’s about a girl who is making her debut in London about 200 years ago, but all she wants is adventure.  Throw in some Egyptology, romance, international intrigue… well, frankly, you had me at Egyptology.  Agatha reminds me of a young Amelia Peabody, and this seems like the start of a great new YA series.

Molly non-fiction pick: Tillie the Terrible Swede by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Sarah McMenemy

The story of Tillie, girl who is taught that “bicycles aren’t for ladies,” but dreams of riding—not graceful figure eights, but speedy, scorching, racy riding, is told with gorgeous gouache and hand-painted paper collage illustrations.  How the little immigrant seamstress changes bicycle riding (and fashion) forever looks fabulous and inspirational for all little girls.  I can’t wait to read it to my kooky-dressing rule-breaking little girl.

Molly fiction pick: Every-Day Dress-Up by Selina Alko

Remarkable similar to the Isabella books, this book about a little girl who dresses up like great women throughout history is a no-brainer for my dress-up queen.  What I particularly love about it is that so many of Molly’s friends only want to dress up as a princess, to their mother’s despair.  The little girl in this book pointedly moves away from princesses, instead picking “daring dames” to dress as.  I also love that she picks more than just the usual suspects from the list of fabulous women in history, and dresses up like Frida Kahlo, Julia Childs and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

So, go check out the Amelia Bloomer lists!  And then come tell us what books catch your eye…

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