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Tag: heroes
  • Julie Andrews, star of beloved classics "The Sound of Music" and "Mary Poppins," celebrates her 87th birthday!

    Whether you first met her on stage at the West End in London or Broadway in New York; on the screen as Mary Poppins, Maria von Trapp, or Queen Clarisse Renaldi; or as the author of a beloved children's book like Mandy or The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles; or her memoirs Home and Home Work, chances are good you've been charmed by Julie Andrews! The legendary English performer and author is celebrating her 85th birthday today, and she's still touching the hearts of people around the world. Andrews is also quick to point out that her success over the years was far from smooth, however, providing an inspiring model of resilience for her fans young and old: "Perseverance," she says, "is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks for children and teens about 9/11 on the terrorist attacks' 21st anniversary.

    On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed in four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. To this day, 9/11 remains the largest terrorist attack in history and most adults can still clearly recall where they were and what they were doing on that terrible day. And yet for today's kids, 9/11 can feel like a tragic event in the distant past with little relevancy to their lives. The 9/11 attacks, however, have had a profound impact over the past two decades on both the families of those immediately impacted and on the country and world at large. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Nazis had a 5 million-franc bounty on the head of the spy known as the "White Mouse."

    In 1943, Nazi authorities were on the hunt for a spy they had nicknamed the "White Mouse" because of her ability to evade their capture, no matter what trap they set. The Gestapo had declared her their most wanted person, and placed a 5 million-franc bounty on her head. Their quarry was Nancy Wake, one of Britain's Special Operations Executive's most capable secret agents. Famous for her fearlessness, Wake would continue to evade her pursuers for the rest of the war, at one point even hurling herself from a train window to escape capture, and eventually become one of the Allies' most decorated servicewomen of World War II. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Gerty Cori's groundbreaking work cracked the secrets of glucose, paving the way for treatments for diseases like diabetes.

    The groundbreaking scientist Dr. Gerty Cori was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Medicine and the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific field. She shared the Nobel with her husband and lifelong research partner, Carl. Although their experience and education was identical, it took thirteen years before she was finally promoted to the same rank as him at the university where they worked. Together, the Coris made numerous breakthroughs in medical research, including discoveries that paved the way for understanding and developing treatments for diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Despite the institutionalized sexism she faced throughout her career, Gerty's tremendous scientific mind could not be denied — and her work would change the field of biochemistry forever. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton outlived her famous husband Alexander by fifty years and went on to make her own mark on history.

    Many people have heard of Elizabeth (Eliza) Schuyler Hamilton from the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Hamilton about her husband Alexander, but most know little of the life and legacy of this influential Founding Mother. Eliza lived for 97 years — and outlived her famous husband by 50 years — during a tumultuous period that included the American Revolution and the establishment of American government and democracy, as well as personal dramas and tragedies, including the deaths of both her oldest son and her husband in duels. Despite it all, she went on to devote her life both to preserving Alexander’s legacy and to charitable causes, including the creation of the first private orphanage in New York City, even while her own family struggled with financial hardship. "I think anyone else would have been broken," says Ron Chernow, the author of Alexander Hamilton, the biography that inspired the hit musical. "Not only did she live, she prevailed." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The best biographies, memoirs, and historical fiction for adults about heroic women of World War II.

    Women have always served their countries in many ways during wartime, but the sheer scope of World War II demanded more of them than ever — and they answered the call. Around the world, women served as military nurses, pilots, resistance fighters, codebreakers, spies, and in other roles. For decades, their stories were little known. Sometimes, details were classified so women couldn't tell anyone, even their families, about the work they had done during the war. Other times, they hesitated to share their experiences, often because they humbly believed that their contributions were "ordinary." And, in some cases, their work was left out of histories because society did not recognize that women could be veterans, and that an Army nurse or a WASP pilot or an SOE spy deserved just as much celebration for her heroism as any soldier. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Susie King Taylor's extraordinary life is captured in her memoir, one of the most detailed accounts ever written by a woman about life in a Civil War camp.

    When Susie King Taylor was born in 1848, it was illegal to educate African Americans in Georgia but she learned to read and write thanks to a secret school. That gift of literacy would allow her to become a trailblazing teacher in her teens and, later, the first Black Army nurse during the U.S. Civil War; an experience she shared in her remarkable memoir about life in a Union camp. Today, more than a century later, her words show her fortitude and determination to make a contribution to the war effort. "I gave my service willingly for four years and three months without receiving a dollar," she wrote, adding that she was glad "to be allowed to go with the regiment, to care for the sick and afflicted comrades." Continue reading Continue reading

  • At 8 years old, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins joined the "Capitol Crawl" with other disability rights activists demanding passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    On March 12, 1990, over 1,000 disability rights activists marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which had been stalled in Congress. To illustrate the barriers that many people with disabilities faced every day, over 60 activists cast aside their wheelchairs and crutches and began crawling up the 83 stone steps that lead to the Capitol building — among them was Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, an 8-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who declared "I’ll take all night if I have to" as she pulled herself up the steps. In honor of the anniversary of the historic "Capitol Crawl" — which helped drive the successful passage of the ADA, the world's first comprehensive civil rights law protecting the rights people with disabilities — we're sharing the story of this determined young activist whose actions helped transform the lives of people with disabilities across the nation. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of children's biographies and fiction about girls and women in engineering.

    There are few things as satisfying as making something work — which for many girls and women means a love of engineering! Unfortunately, women are still highly underrepresented in the field and progress has been slow with the percentage of engineering bachelors degrees awarded to women in the U.S. increasing only from 17.8% in 2010 to 22.5% in 2019. Even today, many girls consider engineering a 'male' field or they simply don't know what engineers do. International Women in Engineering Day, which is celebrated annually on June 23, provides a perfect opportunity to introduce girls to the many types of engineering careers available and explore how engineers help to solve real-world challenges. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Through years of starvation, illness, and fear, the women continued to work together as a nursing unit, caring for thousands of people imprisoned with them.

    In 1942, 77 American Army and Navy nurses were captured by the Japanese, marking the beginning of what would become one of the greatest, yet little known, stories of heroism and sacrifice during World War II. Incredibly, every single woman survived three long years of starvation, illness, and fear as prisoners of war, all while continuing to work as a nursing unit, providing medical care to the thousands of people imprisoned alongside them. "They were a tough bunch. They had a mission," says Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Cantrell, an historian with the Army Nurse Corps. "They were surviving for the boys… and each other. That does give you a bit of added strength." Continue reading Continue reading

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