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Posts Tagged «women»

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

firefly lettersBy Margarita Engle, 151 pages  Grades 6 Up

In this novel-in-verse told in three voices, inspired by the diaries and letters of 19th century suffragette, Frederika Bremer, we learn about the many barriers women faced in Cuba.  Frederika visits Cuba from Sweden and stays with a wealthy family whose daughter, Elena seems more confined by her society’s expectations for women than the family’s slave, Cecilia who travels with Frederika as her interpreter.

Connections:  For other novels in verse, try reading Love that Dog by Sharon Creech or Out of the Dust or Witness by Karen Hesse.

Flygirl

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

flygirlby Sherri L. Smith  p. 271  Grades 6-8

It’s World War II, and the Japanese and Germans aren’t the only enemies.  On the homefront, Ida Mae Jones is fighting racism and sexism.  All she wants to do is become a pilot and to help in the war effort.  The U.S. government has formed the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), but they won’t accept African Americans (“colored”) into what was still the segregated armed services.  Risking her life and disappointing her family, Ida Mae decides to pass for white by joining up and reporting for training in Texas, where enforcement of Jim Crow laws was especially harsh.  To avoid the constant threat of danger, Ida Mae must skillfully maneuver not only her airplane but also her relationships so that her true identity is not discovered.

Connections:  To learn more about women pilots in World War II, read Yankee Doodle Gals:   Women Pilots of World War II by Amy Nathan.

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

sea queensby Jane Yolen, p. 92  Grades 4-7

Ahoy matey!  Pirates bring to mind Blackbeard, peg legs, eye patches, the Jolly Roger, stolen treasure, and not women.  Women were generally considered bad luck on a ship.  Yet, Yolen shares the history and legend of several infamous female pirates.  The beautiful Alfhild from Denmark was protected from unwanted suitors by a pet viper.  The fierce Grania O’Malley from Ireland gave birth to her son aboard ship and climbed out of bed the next day to shoot at the leaders of a Turkish ship that had attacked.  Madam Ching of China “commanded a total of two thousand boats and seventy thousand men, the most any pirate in the world ever led.”  So hop on board and enjoy the tales.

Connection:  For another title telling tales of women in a role typically held by men, check out I’ll Pass for Your Comrade:  Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey.  Check out this video interview with Jane Yolen.