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Mom Gives Her Mighty Girl A Daily Dose of
Feminist Inspiration on Her Lunch Napkin

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

Susan B. Anthony fought for women's suffrage for over fifty years as one of the most prominent and outspoken leaders of the U.S. Women's Suffrage Movement. For books, films and other resources about this women's right pioneer, visit our Susan B. Anthony Collection.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and the first female aviator to complete a solo trans-Atlantic flight, as well as an advocate for women’s political rights. For more resources about this daring adventurer, visit our Amelia Earhart Collection.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is a lawyer, author, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Tweens and teens can learn more this trailblazer in Who Is Michelle Obama? for ages 8 to 12 and Michelle Obama: An American Story for ages 9 to 13.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girls’ education activist and the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history. She survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012 and remains a powerful advocate for education for all children. You can find books for young readers about Malala in our Malala Yousafzai Collection.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott is an American author who drew on her experiences as a nurse in the Civil War when writing her books. Her most famous book, Little Women, remains a much-beloved classic. Kids can learn more about Alcott and her book in our Little Women Collection.

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball was a groundbreaking comedian, the star of I Love Lucy. She also became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu, which produced groundbreaking shows like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. Young Mighty Girls can learn more about this pioneer in the books I Am Lucille Ball for ages 4 to 8 and Who Was Lucille Ball? for ages 8 to 12.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has served as a U.S. Senator and the U.S. Secretary of State. She was also the first female presidential candidate of a major political party in U.S. history. To introduce children to this trailblazer, check out Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born To Lead for ages 5 to 9, Hillary for ages 5 to 9, Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight for ages 5 to 9, Hillary Clinton: American Woman of the World for ages 9 to 12, and Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History for ages 13 and up.

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright is an American diplomat and politician who was the first woman to ever serve as U.S. Secretary of State. She is one of dozens of women who shared their best advice to their daughters in the insightful book, What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women.

Katherine G. Johnson

Katherine G. Johnson is an American physicist and mathematician who was a groundbreaking member of the American space program. As one of the few African-American women in the space program, Johnson was integral in the progress of the space program for decades, working on missions ranging from Project Mercury to the space shuttle. To introduce kids to this pioneer, there is an early chapter book Katherine Johnson for ages 6 to 8. Teens and adults interested in learning more about Johnson can check out Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians who Helped Win the Space Race; young readers can check out the Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition for ages 8 to 12. The movie, Hidden Figures, based on this book, is also recommended for ages 9 and up.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride became the first American women in space in 1983. She went on to make many contributions to the US space program and to advocate for girls in science. After her death, it was also revealed that Tam O'Shaughnessy, her lifelong friend, was actually her partner, making Ride the first known LGBTQ astronaut. You can find more resources about this pioneering astronaut in our Sally Ride Collection.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is a British primatologist whose unprecedented work studying chimpanzees in the field changed our understanding of what it means to be human. She is also the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, which is dedicated to conservation efforts around the globe. You can find many books and films about this famous role model in our Jane Goodall Collection.

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley is best known as the author of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. The daughter of a prominent women's rights pioneer, philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley’s writings also have a distinctive feminist bent. Tweens can read more about Shelley in Through The Tempests Dark and Wild for ages 8 to 12.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer and the inventor of the compiler, which allowed people to "talk" to computers by using text-based commands. "Amazing Grace" was also renowned as a dedicated teacher who inspired many women in computer science. Kids can learn more about Hopper in Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code for ages 5 to 9, Girls Think of Everything for ages 8 and up, Technology: Cool Women Who Code for ages 9 to 13,  and Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers for ages 9 and up.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr is known to most as a glamorous movie star of the black and white era, but she was also a talented mathematician. During World War II, Lamarr co-invented spread spectrum technology, a concept that is the basis for modern technologies like GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Young readers can learn more about Lamarr in Hedy Lamarr and a Secret Communications System for ages 8 to 11 and Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – And The World for ages 12 and up.

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