A Mighty Girl Blog

  • 10 Mighty Girl Environmental Heroes for Earth Day

    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    Happy Earth Day! Around the world today, people are taking action to help protect our environment. By demonstrating responsible, green practices today, we hope to inspire people to make environmentally friendly choices throughout the year.

    In honor of this day dedicated to awareness and action, A Mighty Girl is sharing the stories of ten female environmental heroes. These girls and women — scientists, activists, and innovators — have each done something that makes us see protecting the Earth a little differently. These heroes are from both past and present; some of them have acted locally, while others are influential around the world; but each of them has discovered a way that we can become better caretakers of our planet. By celebrating them, A Mighty Girl hopes that other Mighty Girls will consider ways that they can make a difference too.

    For resources about the environment to share with your children, check out our earlier blogs Mighty Girls Save the World: Environmental Films Starring Girls and Women and Mighty Girls Go Green: 15 Books for Earth Day.

    Jane Goodall: Groundbreaking Primatologist and Conservationist

    Jane Goodall with orphan chimpanzee Urahara (Michael Neugebauer/Jane Goodall Institute of Canada) Jane Goodall with orphan chimpanzee Urahara (Photo: Michael Neugebauer)

    Jane Goodall was remarkable enough for breaking into the male-dominated world of wildlife biology, and for her astonishing discoveries regarding chimpanzee behavior. However, her work to draw global attention to the protection of chimpanzee habitat, and to conservation in general, is just as remarkable! Today, just after her 81st birthday, Goodall still devotes the vast majority of her time to conservation efforts, traveling as many as 300 days a year to speak about environmental issues.

    The Jane Goodall Institute, which she founded in 1977, works to help individuals around the world make informed, environmentally responsible decisions as they engage in growth and development; the Institute’s Roots and Shoots youth program, founded in 1991, began with a group of 16 teenagers and now has 10,000 groups in over 100 countries. There is no doubt that Goodall has fulfilled her self-proclaimed mission “to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.”

    If you'd like to introduce your children to Jane Goodall's incredible story, here are a few of our favorite books about this inspiring role model: The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps (age 4 to 8), Me... Jane (age 3 to 8), Who is Jane Goodall (age 8 to 12), an autobiography by Goodall entitled My Life with the Chimpanzees (age 8 to 12), and a graphic novel Primates (age 12 and up).

    For more books, a documentary, and other resources, visit our Jane Goodall Collection. Continue reading

  • Hope in a Hidden Room: A Mighty Girl Salutes Anne Frank

    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    diary-of-a-young-girl1“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” — Anne Frank

    Stories about the Holocaust can seem very distant to a child today: decades of time and, more importantly, vast differences in life experiences separate them from the life of a persecuted girl suffering from the Nazi regime. And then, at some point, she will read Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl (which we recommend for ages 11 and up) and, suddenly, there is a face to this painful history: the face of a girl her age, whose dreams, thoughts, and emotions are like her own.

    When the facts and figures of Holocaust history — the vast numbers of displaced or dead — are inconceivable, the life of this one girl, hiding with her family in a desperate effort to save themselves, is strikingly real.

    And yet the inspiring thing about Anne Frank’s life and writing is that she was never beaten down by the hatred directed at her. Instead, she continued to see the best of humanity. As she wrote, “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Her astounding optimism and resiliency have inspired girls — and the world — for generations, ever since the loose pages of her diary left Otto Frank’s hands to be published in 1947.

    To honor this amazing spirit, A Mighty Girl has put together this collection of our favorite resources for young people about Anne Frank. This selection features books, movies, and even a poster that make tribute to the girl whose optimism and hope lasted through it all.

    Of course, in addition to reading about Anne Frank, it is important that your child has an understanding of the Holocaust as a whole. You can find reading recommendations for children and teens about other aspects of Holocaust history in our first Holocaust Remembrance Week blog post, Yom HaShoah: A Mighty Girl Recognizes Holocaust Remembrance Week, and in our World War II / Holocaust section.

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  • Yom HaShoah: A Mighty Girl Recognizes Holocaust Remembrance Week

    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    when-hilter-stole-pink-rabbit“Silence helps the oppressors.” -- Leslie Meisels, Hungarian Holocaust survivor

    In 2015, April 16 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day: Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. Each year, we take time to remember those who died — and those who survived — during the infamous Nazi regime. It is a difficult topic for any of us, but particularly difficult to discuss with children. How do you talk about something so beyond most children’s contemplation in a way that respects the experience of those who lived it?

    Here at A Mighty Girl, we are marking Holocaust Remembrance Week with two blogs. This post will introduce you to books for all ages that talk about the Holocaust from a variety of perspectives. These books range from picture books to novels, memoirs to fiction, but all of them treat this challenging subject with care and dignity. Our follow-up post,
    Hope in a Hidden Room: A Mighty Girl Salutes Anne Frank, focuses on Anne Frank, whose diary chronicling the emotional life of a girl in the midst of the Holocaust puts a personal face on what can otherwise seem like distant history to a child growing up today.

    To learn more about any of the individual titles featured in this post, to read reviews, or to order a copy, simply click on the highlighted links below to visit a title's A Mighty Girl book page.

    The books featured here represent a small sample of A Mighty Girl's Holocaust literature collection. To view the full collection, visit our section on WWII & The Holocaust. Continue reading

  • Celebrating Siblings: Mighty Girl Books About Sisters & Brothers

    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    maple-willow-togetherWe celebrate the relationship we have with our mothers and fathers, but we often forget how important siblings can be to our lives as well! In fact, a brother or sister will probably know you better — and longer — than just about anyone else in your life. And while you may not always get along, there’s no denying that the relationship you have with your siblings is a powerful one.

    To recognize National Siblings Day, we’re sharing stories about Mighty Girls with their brothers and sisters. Sometimes they play together and sometimes they argue, but these Mighty Girls and their siblings are always ready to support one another no matter what comes their way.

    In addition to our reading recommendations below, you can find more Mighty Girls books about the challenges and joys of life with siblings, visit our Siblings section. Continue reading

  • Celebrating Mighty Girl Heroes: Ten Women You Might Not Know, But Should

    British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested by police outside Buckingham Palace in 1914 British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested by police outside Buckingham Palace in 1914

    By Jennifer de Beer, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Do you know the name of the Polish social worker who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII? How about the name of America’s first female self-made millionaire? Can you name a British suffrage movement leader who Time Magazine declared to be one of the most important people of the 20th century? Or the name of a real-life woman pirate?

    While we always delight in hearing about the achievements of women in history, there are some names that get much more attention than others. Children and adults of today are likely to be very familiar with the experiences of Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller -- and rightly so. However, there are many other talented, courageous, and remarkable women who also deserve to have their stories told, but whose names are far less familiar.

    We have gathered together a list of ten of these women, whom you may not recognize, but whose journeys are more than worthy of your attention. Sometimes these women have been relegated to the footnotes of history books, their experiences almost entirely glossed over. Yet, each woman made significant contributions or noteworthy strides in her lifetime.

    In addition to the descriptions listed below, you will find their stories within our collection of over 400 biographies of remarkable girls and women. We also share many stories of Mighty Girl heroes of yesteryear and today on our Facebook page.

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  • Celebrating Women's History in Pictures: Picture Books for Women's History Month

    ?????By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    Few things are as fascinating to a child as realizing that the amazing “character” and “story” she just read are true — that these things really happened, and that the person who did them was real. Not only is it a great way for kids to learn about historical figures, both famous and obscure, but it’s tremendously inspiring to know that they, too, could grow up to change the world.

    So what better way to celebrate Women’s History Month with your child than with some great picture book biographies? We’ve put together a list of great picture books about figures in women’s history, which we selected based on the high quality of their writing and illustrations. We’ve also included quite a few new releases: books that you may not have discovered yet, but are sure to become a cherished part of your picture book library.

    Of course, great biographies are available for readers of all ages! You can always go to our biography section and then use the menu on the left to sort by age to find the perfect biography for your Mighty Girl.

    Just Being Audrey, by Margaret Cardillo, illustrated by Julia Denos: She was a child in Nazi-occupied Europe, then a movie star and a fashion icon. But most importantly, she had a spirit of kindness and compassion that shone through everything she did. This biography of Audrey Hepburn explores how a little girl growing up through a war would become a beloved celebrity and humanitarian. Continue reading

  • Broadening the Story: Twenty Picture Books Starring African-American Mighty Girls

    i-can-do-it-tooBy Lili Sandler, A Mighty Girl Research Intern, and Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    For many Mighty Girls, especially for girls of color, it can be challenging to find stories starring characters that look like them. A study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison determined that only 3.3% of children’s and young adult books featured African-American characters. Greater diversity in books not only gives children of color an opportunity to see themselves in stories but also helps broaden the perspective of all children by fostering children's sense of empathy and connection with characters who might look different from themselves.

    As part of our celebration of February's Black History Month, we're sharing our favorite stories of everyday life starring African-American Mighty Girls for toddlers, preschoolers, and younger elementary school readers. Whether these Mighty Girls are at work or at play, they exude confidence and happiness — and with the support of devoted friends and family, they know there’s nothing they can’t do!

    For more books for all ages starring African-American Mighty Girls, visit our African American Fiction and our African American History sections. And, to discover more Mighty Girl stories starring girls of many ethnicities and races, visit our Multicultural Fiction section. Continue reading

  • A President's Day Tribute to Women in Politics: Remember the First Ladies

    By Lili Sandler, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Each year on the third Monday in February in the United States, we celebrate American presidents and their legacies. At A Mighty Girl, we have a slightly different take on the holiday: we like to celebrate the First Ladies and the role that women have played in molding and supporting the office of the president, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. We look forward to the day when we can switch our President’s Day focus to celebrating the first woman elected as Commander in Chief, and we are confident that that day is not too far off!

    The selections highlighted in this post are just a small number of our books about women in politics -- to learn about more options for children and teen readers, visit A Mighty Girl's Government & Politics section.

    Women in Politics

    founding-mothers-300px-borderWomen have been active in presidential affairs in the United States since its infancy. While not always visible, and while still not having reached an equal role in running and maintaining our government, women have played and continue to play an essential role in the American presidency. In Madam President: The Extraordinary, True (and Evolving) Story of Women in Politics, author Catherine Thimmesh gives an overview of the history of women’s roles in American politics, and looks to the inevitable future -- the election of our first female president. Recommended for ages 9 to 12, this book is a hopeful, encouraging survey of the past, present, and future of women in politics in the U.S.

    Award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts' book, Founding Mothers: Remembering The Ladies, provides an excellent introduction to women's contribution to the American Revolution. Recommended for ages 7 to 12, the book features many profiles of heroic, patriotic women, including two early First Ladies Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. Continue reading

  • Mighty Girls & Women of the Civil Rights Movement in Film

    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    51v4jk66mtl_1_[1]It can be hard for young people today to understand the obstacles and hardship faced by the activists of the Civil Rights Movement. The idea that a black child might have to be escorted into school by federal marshals, or that a white ally of the movement might spend months in jail for riding side by side with her friends on a bus, is entirely foreign to most kids.

    While there are many great books about the Civil Rights Movement to share, a well-crafted movie on the topic is a highly effective way of capturing the reality of civil rights struggles. As part of our celebration of Black History Month, we're showcasing our favorite films about the girls and women of the Civil Rights Movement. These stories will captivate and inspire your Mighty Girl, and remind her that, if you truly believe in something, it’s important to make a stand.

    Selma, Lord, Selma directed by Charles Burnett (age 8 and up)

    Sheyann Webb is a 12 year old girl in Selma, Alabama, whose life is changed when she hears Dr. Martin Luther King speak. She vows to do whatever she can to support Dr. King and his cause, and to resist the racism and degradation she now sees all around her. But as the historic march from Selma to Montgomery approaches, and the threats of violence increase, Sheyann has to decide if she dares to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the others in the march. This inspiring film captures the fear and danger that civil rights supporters faces, without becoming too graphic for younger Mighty Girls. Continue reading

  • To My Mighty Girl With Love: Stories about Parents, Grandparents, and Siblings

    how-do-i-love-youBy Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a great time to talk to your Mighty Girl about love — not just romantic love, but the many other kinds of love she’ll encounter in her life. After all, while your Mighty Girl may be years away from experiencing romantic love, she’s sure to have family who love her!

    With that in mind, A Mighty Girl has assembled a selection of books about the love of family to share with your Mighty Girl this Valentine’s Day. There’s no better way to remind her how many people are there to support her, on Valentine’s Day and throughout her life!

    Of course, there’s lots of love outside families as well. To talk to your Mighty Girl about the love of friends, you can find resources in our blog Making and Keeping Friends: Mighty Girl Books about Friendship; or, to talk to your older Mighty Girl about romantic love, check out our blog Valentine’s Day Books for Tweens and Teens. Continue reading

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