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  • The 23-year-old secret agent hid her codes in knitting to avoid detection by the Nazis.

    In May 1944, a 23-year-old British secret agent named Phyllis Latour Doyle parachuted into occupied Normandy to gather intelligence on Nazi positions in preparation for D-Day. As an agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), Doyle – who celebrates her 100th birthday today – secretly relayed 135 coded messages to the British military before France's liberation in August. She took advantage of the fact that the Nazi occupiers and their French collaborators were generally less suspicious of women, using the knitting she carried as a way to hide her codes. For seventy years, Doyle's contributions to the war effort were largely unheralded, but she was finally given her due in 2014 when she was awarded France's highest honor, the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books about the Holocaust for children and teens in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Week.

    “Silence helps the oppressors.” — Leslie Meisels, Hungarian Holocaust survivor

    Each year on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 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? Continue reading Continue reading

  • Violence and aggression are never signs of love or affection.

    When girls get teased, harassed, or bullied by boys, there’s often someone who pulls out this tired phrase: "I bet he likes you!" Many women have vivid memories of being told that by adult authorities when they were young and the same phrase pops up seemingly everywhere, including children's literature and movies. In recent years, however, people have started reexamining the toxic message this often well-intentioned phrase sends. Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You, a new middle grade book tackling this issue, says "I spent a lot of time following the #MeToo stories that were everywhere in the news. I began wondering: Where does this behavior come from?... Those words — 'maybe he just likes you' — are so familiar and so dangerous." In this blog post, we'll explore how this phase teaches both girls and boys to normalize unhealthy relationships — and denies them the chance to have the fulfilling, respectful friendships and romantic relationships they deserve. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies of World War II but her incredible story is largely unknown today.

    The Nazis considered Virginia Hall the "most dangerous of all Allied spies," yet the story of the "Limping Lady" is largely unknown today. Hall spent nearly the entire war in France, first as a spy for Britain's newly formed Special Operations Executive (SOE) and later for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Special Operations Branch. Even her cumbersome wooden prosthetic leg, which she nicknamed Cuthbert, proved no obstacle to Hall's courage and determination to defeat the Nazis. While undercover in France, she proved exceptionally adept at eluding the Gestapo as she organized resistance groups, masterminded jailbreaks for captured agents, mapped drop zones, reported on German troop movements, set up safe houses, and rescued escaped POWs and downed Allied pilots. Even years after the war, however, she rarely talked about her extraordinary career; a reticence she likely developed during her years as a spy since, as she once observed, "Many of my friends were killed for talking too much." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's favorite books for young readers about taking action for the environment during April's Earth Month and all year round!

    April's Earth Month provides a great opportunity to talk to your Mighty Girl about ways she can help protect the environment all year long! Small lifestyle changes in each household add up to big changes globally, and it’s inspiring for kids to know that they can make an impact. In this blog post, we've showcased a variety of environmentally-themed books for children that show young readers how everyone can make a difference in making the world a little greener. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The courageous teenager rode 40 miles on horseback to muster local militia troops in response to a British attack on the town of Danbury during the U.S. Revolutionary War.

    On the night of April 26, 1777, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington climbed onto her horse and set off on a mission: a 40-mile ride to muster local militia troops in response to a British attack on the town of Danbury, Connecticut. Riding all night through rain — and traveling twice the distance that Paul Revere rode during his famous midnight ride — Sybil returned home at dawn having given nearly the entire regiment of 400 Colonial troops the order to assemble. Following the battle, General George Washington personally thanked Sybil for her service and bravery. Although every American school child knows the story of Paul Revere — largely thanks to the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — unfortunately few are taught about Sybil Ludington's courageous feat. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The social reformer's 40-year campaign sought to end the abuse of people with mental illness that she found "chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience."

    At a time when people with mental illness were often abused and kept in inhumane conditions, Dorothea Dix's 40-year-long crusade for the reform of mental asylums in the US, Canada, and Europe made her renowned worldwide as a beacon of compassion and advocate for the voiceless. To transform the care of the mentally ill, the American social reformer had to first confront the attitude that nothing could be done to help people with mental illness and that such brutal treatment was the only option available. "They say, 'nothing can be done here!'" Dix once declared. "I reply, 'I know no such word in the vocabulary I adopt!'" Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books starring autistic girls and guides for autistic girls and their parents.

    When the classic children's television show Sesame Street introduced a new Muppet on the air in 2017, it represented a major step forward in terms of representation. Yet, autism remains a subject of significant misunderstanding and prejudice, and the problems caused by lack of awareness are often magnified for girls, who are less frequently diagnosed and often show a different pattern of behaviors than autistic boys.. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Children, especially girls, begin to withhold friendship as a weapon as early as three years old.

    Parents are often startled to realize that relational aggression — using the threat of removing friendship, ostracism, and other forms of social exclusion — can appear in children as young as three years old. For children that young, the experience of being pushed away by a friend can be utterly baffling, provoking anxiety at daycare or preschool. Moreover, as parents and educators observe these more subtle forms of bullying, it’s becoming clear that they require as much attention as physical aggression. As Laura Barbour, a counselor at an Oregon elementary school, observes, “Kids forget about scuffles on the playground but they don't forget about unkind words or being left out.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books, pretend play toys, science kits, and clothing celebrating doctors and nurses!

    If there's one thing that the coronavirus crisis has taught us, it's that health professionals are heroes! From the doctors and nurses providing care in clinics and hospitals, to the lab technicians running tests, to the researchers investigating medications and vaccines, the public has a new appreciation for medical professionals and the work that they do. And that means that kids may be showing a new interest in medicine and the human body — both in their play and as a possible future career! Continue reading Continue reading

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