Saturday, March 13, 2010

Diversity Roll Call: WHM Reference Titles

March is Women's History Month. To celebrate I am asking you to provide a short annotated bibliography of reference or history titles.

If you don't own or haven't read any reference titles, what memoirs, autobiographies or biographies do you recommend? What women's book impacted you in an indelible way? Do you have any favorite books by women about women?

Okay, I really want you to know the strengths of each title so I've cheated. I've relied heavily on book descriptions. I refer these sources often. With the exception of the first two titles, these references are geared towards young girls. Don't be fooled though. These are great sources to start with. What I like most about these print sources is that the material is organized in a single source and the organization of each of book makes them easy to use and quick access to jumping off points.

Please do ask questions. These are well used resources, and I only wish I could find new edition or new references like them geared towards high schoolers and adults with the same ease of use.

I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. Brian Lanker. Stewart Tabori & Chang .1999
"No matter what your race or gender, give this book to anyone who needs encouragement. I especially enjoy recommending this book to young women who can learn a lot from the women within its pages."~Rebecca Bergfield
I wrote about this previously here.

Jewels: 50 Phenomenal Black Women Over 50. Michael Cunningham and Connie Briscoe. Little, Brown and Company. 2007
Each striking black-and-white portrait accompanies a personal essay as the women often recall the people who came before them, inspiring them to achieve… The women also recall many firsts: the first black woman to achieve some status in the nation to the first black woman (or person) in her family to get a college degree…Among the jewels are Ruby Dee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Marian Wright Edelman, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Briscoe herself.
Recently bought this and it is becoming a new favorite. Beautiful images and quotes and the essays are just the right length.

33 things every girl should know about women’s history: From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths To the E.RA. Edited by Tonya Bolden. Crown Publishers. 2002
[I]impressive, chronologically organized... begins with Abigail Adams's 1776 letter to her husband, "Remember the Ladies," proceeds through Charlotte Perkins Gilman's groundbreaking "The Yellow Wallpaper" (excerpted) and includes thoughtful reflections on other leading women, such as Patricia McKissack's fictional essay narrated by Charlotte Woodward (the only woman in attendance at the Seneca Falls convention still alive to exercise her right to vote). Period photographs, quotes, timelines, bios and varied typography give the volume an attractive, accessible feel.
I had already bought and read the first 33 things edited by Tonya Bolden so when I saw this, it was no-brainer. Love the organization and diversity of type of content and the women covered.

Prominent Women of the 20th Century, Editor Peggy Saari. UXL, Gale Imprint. 1996
Profiles range in length from five to eight pages. Each gives date of birth and the reason for inclusion (e.g., Benazir Bhutto is "first woman prime minister of a Muslim country" ). Almost all include a photograph of the biographee. A brief quotation in the margin indicates the woman's philosophy; …The primary attraction of this set is that it brings together the biographies of a group of women who are enormously diverse and, in many cases, little known despite their achievements. Especially useful will be the biographies of women scientists for whom biographies simply do not exist at this reading level.
One of the perks of my former life in publishing. Every time works like these became available, I grabbed them. I love what's available to students online and in databases, but print is still my preferred first stop.

Women’s Voices: A Documentary of History of Women in America. Editor Lori Jenkins, Mcleroy, U*X*L, an Imprint of Gale. 1997
· 32 primary documents, including excerpts from letters, speeches, poems and interviews
· Biographical information about speakers
· Historical overviews
· Six subject chapters offering thematic coverage
· More than 100 black-and-white illustrations
· Topic and people boxes that highlight interesting information
· Glossary, index and timeline
When this series and the other similar ones released, there was a demand for these titles. Girls and boys don't know how fortunate they were to have accessible, fun reference resources like these.

Women’s Firsts: Milestone In Women’s History. Peggy, Tim and Susan Gall, Editors, U*X*L, an Imprint of Gale. 1998
ABrief paragraphs introduce women of achievement in 10 areas: activism, the arts, business, education, government, media, a miscellaneous mix of professions (architecture, law enforcement, law, medicine and health, and the military), religion, science and technology, and sports... and the entries are arranged chronologically within each category. Each "first" is summarized and a few biographical facts about the pioneer involved are provided. .. Because the focus is on firsts, this book looks at some interesting but somewhat obscure figures…
My only complaint is that there aren't updated editions.

Find more entries at Color Online. Drop us a link to your response.

3 comments:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I found the new buttons for the Women Unbound reading challenge for you and put them here:
http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/women-unbound-new-buttons.html

Vasilly said...

I can't believe that I've never seen any of these books before. They all look great.I'm going to see if my library has them.

bj neary said...

Women's Firsts and I Dream a World are always in use, beautiful photos in I Dream a World too!