Every day, this mom draws a famous woman from history alongside an inspiring quote for her daughter's lunch - all on a napkin.
Meaghan Elderkin from Glocester, Rhode Island, has always left little notes in her 9-year-old daughter Holden’s lunchbox: “They’ve progressed over the years from hearts and silly drawings to bad jokes and groan-worthy puns,” she says. But this month, Elderkin decided to give her napkin art a girl-empowering twist -- by drawing images of famous women, past and present, and including one of their powerful quotes. After sharing the images on the private Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, she was met with such a tremendous response that she decided to share them publicly. As one group member wrote: “You are a star. Thank you for the reminders of how strong women ARE!”
Both mother and daughter were big fans of Hillary Clinton and, after the election, Elderkin says that "[Holden] was pretty upset. She’s a very sensitive kid, and she was genuinely worried about what would happen to some of the more marginalized groups in our country. But the morning after the election, she was the one comforting me and reminding me to ‘be brave like Malala’.” Elderkin decided to reaffirm this message through her lunchtime art and began her new series of "badass women". “I felt really small and powerless after the results of the election. I wanted to remind my daughter (and myself, I guess) that we’re still strong and powerful even when we’re afraid,” she says. “A lot of strong women have come before us, and they’ve had to fight even scarier obstacles.”
In this blog post, we’re sharing a selection of Elderkin’s napkin art, and you can check out her website or follow her Facebook page for new releases In response to the interest, she's also made prints of a few of her illustrations available on RedBubble. Elderkin says she’ll continue drawing feminist role models for her oldest daughter’s lunch -- and when her younger daughter starts preschool, she’ll start getting napkin art in her lunchbox too. She hopes that what inspires her daughters will also inspire all the girls and women who are viewing her artwork. “I just think that the more we can normalize the conversation about empowering women and girls, the better,” she says. “A little over half of our country's population is made up of women, and I can't see any downside to reminding half of the country that they are important and valuable.”
If your kids love learning about inspiring women from history, you can find hundreds of books for both children and teens about real-life girls women who changed the world in our Role Models collection.
Napkin Art of Women Heroes From History
Susan B. Anthony
Louisa May Alcott
Katherine G. Johnson