The Year's Best Biographies about Inspiring Women for Older Teen & Adult Readers!
On A Mighty Girl, we feature thousands of books for children and teens about smart, confident, and courageous girls and women, but we are also often asked for reading recommendations for adults about inspiring women of the past and present. To that end, in this blog post, we're sharing our favorite biographies for older teen and adult readers about Mighty Women that were released in either hardcover or paperback this year. Whether you're looking for an empowering last-minute Christmas present or a thought-provoking title to tackle in the new year, these women's stories are sure to inspire!
For more of our favorite Mighty Girl books of 2017 for all ages, visit our special feature on the 2017 Books of the Year.
The 2017 Mighty Women Reading List for Adults
In the midst of World War II, with many American men fighting overseas, over ten thousand women were recruited for an important but secret mission: these women would be trained as codebreakers. In Washington, they learned to crack codes, deciphering messages that would shorten the war and save the lives of countless people. They also gained access to a new realm of career advancement that had previously been closed to women. But after the war, with their vow of secrecy still in place, their stories were nearly lost. Author Liza Mundy dug deep into newly released files and interviewed surviving "code girls" to create this fascinating history of the women whose work made a significant but hidden contribution to America's war effort.
The Woman's HourNew!
The Woman's HourNew!
This real-life political thriller tells the story of the nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. In August 1920, 35 states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed — after a seven-decade long crusade, the future of women's suffrage comes down to Tennessee. Over one hot summer, opposing forces converge on the state for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, bigotry, and betrayals. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, The Woman's Hour is the inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.
In the late 1930s, Suzanne Spaak, a child of Belgium's leading political family, met a Polish Jewish refugee in Paris, and she discovered a new purpose; helping people escape from the Nazi regime. When Paris fell, she used her wealth and connections in service of the Resistance, arranging for thousands of children to be "kidnapped" out from under the Gestapo's nose. As liberating armies approached Paris, it seemed like safety might finally be achievable... until Spaak was caught in a Gestapo dragnet. For her "crimes" against the Nazi regime, she was executed — only shortly before Paris was freed. This powerful story was meticulously researched, but reads like a thriller, full of suspenseful twists — and starring a daring woman who gave her life to protect Europe's most vulnerable during World War II.
In 2014, 21-year-old Nadia Murad was living a quiet life in her Yazidi village in Iraq, dreaming of a future as a history teacher or salon owner — but all that changed when ISIS invaded, massacring most of her family and neighbors, and kidnapping women young enough to be used as sex slaves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade. Following months of abuse, she escaped and went on to become one of most vocal advocates for the girls and women left in captivity. Named one of the world's most influential people of 2016 by Time, Nadia tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story in a powerful new memoir. This courageous young woman's story is a moving testament of the human will to survive and a call to action to end abuses toward women worldwide.
Astrid Lindgren's life was often turbulent and difficult: she faced life as an unwed teenage mother, poverty during the war, and battles with depression. Then, as the creator of beloved book characters like Pippi Longstocking and Ronia, she was suddenly launched into fame, giving her a voice for causes that mattered deeply to her, like women's and children's rights. In this first English-language biography of Lindgren, author Jens Andersen draws on primary sources and letters to create a detailed and accessible account of Lindgren's life, and also explores how her characters still resonate with children today.
In a culture that fetishizes thinness, a childhood sexual assault prompted this thought for Roxane Gay: "if I made myself big, my body would be safe." The trauma prompted decades of wrestling between mind and body... and then this best-selling book exploring the shame, guilt, and invisibility that faces anyone whose body does not match our culture's ever-narrowing definition of "good.". With staggering honesty and an unflinching look both at herself and at the society around her, Gay tackles difficult issues about body and mind and reminds us that "all of us have to be more considerate of the realities of the bodies of others."
The Curies' discovery of radium wasn't just a scientific landmark; it also became a marketing frenzy, with beauty products and medicines hawking its benefits for the body. The women who worked in radium-dial factories of World War I were thought to have the luckiest job of all: they spent their days coated in the glimmering dust. But then they started to get sick. As the factories denied the connection, and with the women crying corruption and demanding answers, one of the greatest battles for worker's rights of the 20th century would begin. Kate Moore tells the riveting story of how the "radium girls" fought for life-changing regulations and research into the effects of radiation that would save hundreds of thousands of lives, highlighting how their battle still influences our world today.
In the midst of World War II, over a million Soviet women stepped up to serve their country. After the war, however, their contributions were deliberately pushed aside; their efforts had been critical, but they didn't fit the narrative of what a proper Soviet woman ought to be. To capture their side of history, Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich conducted dozens of interviews, speaking to women who had been nurses and doctors, pilots and tank drivers, and even snipers and machine-gunners on the front lines. This powerful book, which now appears in a much-anticipated English translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, tells what Alexievich calls "a woman's history" of the war. It is a heartfelt tribute to the strength and courage of women who were willing to give everything for their nation — including the truth of their part in the war.
If you were a woman at the Harvard Observatory in the mid-nineteenth century, you weren't an astronomer: you were a "human computer," performing calculations and analysis on observations only men were allowed to take. But as photography began transforming astronomy, their work would revolutionize our understanding of the universe. "The glass universe" included over half a million photographic plates, and the women who studied them — including Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne — would discover novae, design stellar classification systems, and determine what stars were made of. This fascinating story of the hidden history of astronomy celebrates the women whose contributions made our current understanding of the stars and the space they inhabit possible.
Photographer Mihaela Noroc wants the world to reconsider how they define beauty. Over the course of her travels, she developed an online following for what she called an Atlas of Beauty: portraits of women within their communities that celebrate not traditional beauty, but the beauty that is within all of us. In the forests of the Amazon, streets of London, markets of India, and parks of Harlem, these colorful portraits provide a unique, intimate look at women around the world; now, this hardcover photo book encourages people to flip through her photographs and see the artistry of their everyday lives.
For many people, the iconic Little House on the Prairie series formed their image of pioneer life... but the true story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life is more complex and fascinating than she let on in her books. Wilder's childhood was not an inspiring tale of the pioneering spirit: her family struggled with an inability to put down roots and frequently faced poverty. Even after she married, she faced great challenges — including losing everything during the Great Depression — before she wrote a rosy vision of homesteading in her 60s that suddenly brought her fame and fortune. This authoritative biography gets to the core of Wilder's real life story, and explores why America latched so strongly to her mythologized vision of her past.
In 1942, a Polish Catholic social worker named Irena Sendler decided she could not stand by and watch the mistreatment of people in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto. As a public health worker with access to the ghetto, she realized that there was something she could do: she could smuggle children facing certain death out of the ghetto and find families to take them in — ultimately, she saved the lives of 2,500 children. Equally importantly, she preserved the real names of the children in hopes of reuniting them with their families after the war. Even after her arrest and torture by the Gestapo, she kept silent to protect the children she had rescued. Sendler's incredible story shows how one person's bravery can change the future of thousands. This book is also available in a new young readers edition, Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage for ages 10 to 14. For films about her heroic story and more books for children, visit our Irena Sendler Collection.
When photographer Kate T. Parker snapped a photo of her daughter right before her first triathlon, she started a new project that would celebrate the diverse, authentic, wonderful girls all around the world! In this book, Parker collects 175 photographs that defy the restrictive notion of beauty that's often presented in the media. Instead, she captures girls being fearless, kind, wild, proud, silly, and so much more. Each full-page picture is accompanied with a short quote from the featured girl reflecting on her own strengths. This beautiful celebration of the power of girls is an inspiring book that moms can share together with their daughters.
Inside the White House, photographers capture the inner workings of a presidency — and the personalities of the First Family. Amanda Lucidon spent four years covering First Lady Michelle Obama, and in this new book, she shares 150 of her favorite photographs, along with reflections about what it was like to be so close to one of the most admired First Ladies in history. Lucidon follows Obama through her work to combat childhood obesity, promote girls' education, and support military families; watches her as she travels with her children; and observes the quiet moments between the First Lady and the President that most people never see. This intimate and vibrant book is a celebration of the values that made Michelle Obama an icon to so many people around the world.
Over more than 300 appearances on TV, movie screens, stages, and more, Jenifer Lewis has established herself as a versatile — and deeply admired — entertainer. Now, in this open and honest memoir, she reveals the story of her journey from guest stars to headliner. Along the way, she tackles the realities of life in Hollywood and the undiagnosed mental illness that nearly brought her career to an end, as well as her determined climb back to mental health and new challenges, including her current role in the hit show black-ish. Alternately poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, this is the perfect choice for anyone who immediately recognizes the woman who's played "mama" for many of black Hollywood's biggest stars.
Jenna and Barbara Bush were used to being in the public eye growing up in a political family — but when their own father became president, the scrutiny reached a whole new level. The sisters found their typical teenage mistakes making news across the country, saw pictures of themselves appear on tabloid covers, and had to go to college with Secret Service agents in tow to watch over them. In their new memoir, the sisters share their story of what life was like before, during, and after the White House — and about what the bond of sisterhood has meant to both of their lives. Funny, poignant, and personal, this is an intimate look at the inside story of the former first daughters.
When Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage in California, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier had been a couple — raising four sons — for over a decade. Like many gay and lesbian couples, they had everything... except for the protections that legal marriage offered. So Perry and Stier decided to take a stand, becoming the lead plaintiffs in the court case suing the state of California to reinstate gay marriage — a case that would go all the way to the Supreme Court. Told in alternating voices, Perry and Stier explore the steps that took them from childhoods in 1960s America to the forefront of the marriage equality battle. Full of poignant and hilarious observations on everything from parenting teenagers to having hot flashes in front of Supreme Court justices, this is a unique look at the family who took part in one of the most important civil rights battles of our time.
Hope Jahren is an acclaimed geobiologist, but her first book is much more than a textbook on plants and dirt: it's also a story of work, love, and the way a partnership can transform both. It begins with a childhood in Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged "play" in his classroom's labs. Then, as an adult, she meets Bill, a brilliant but wounded person who becomes her lab partner and her best friend. Their adventures would take them to the North Pole, Hawaii, and across the North American continent on a quest for knowledge about the remarkable details and processes that lurk within the simplest of things. Full of a love of science and discovery, Jahren's book also captures the passion and tenacity it takes to make a career and a life out of what you love.
Author and historian Lucy Worsley takes a novel look at the life of author Jane Austen — through the lens of the homes where she lived — in this fascinating new biography. Contrary to her claim that she lived "a life without incident," Austen was a passionate young women who fought for her freedom and who refused to cave to domestic expectations, turning down five different marriage proposals. As Worsley describes the homes, rooms, and possessions of Austen and her family, she also provides a subtle discussion of gender and creativity. With its intriguing format and its two sections of illustrated plates, this is a must-have book for any Austen fan.
Peggy Seeger may have seemed destined for success in folk music, given her family, but that didn't mean she was going to follow an already beaten path! Seeger not only helped drive folk revivals in both the US and the UK, but she also devoted her time to important causes like environmentalism and feminism. Along the way, she left a legacy of festivals, recording studios, and mentored artists, all of which have cemented her influence in the music world and beyond. Author Jean Freedman's candid and in-depth biography is sure to be a hit with fans of this groundbreaking artist and woman.
Farida Khalaf's life was normal, even sheltered, in her northern Iraqi village — but all that changed when ISIS attacked in the summer of 2014. The men and children were killed, and the women were taken as slaves for ISIS soldiers. In this unflinching book, Khalaf describes both her life before the attack, complete with dreams of becoming a math teacher, and the misery and torture she faced afterward. Despite it all, she refused to lose hope, and when she was brought to a training camp in the middle of the desert, she planned an escape attempt against seemingly ridiculous odds. A riveting firsthand account of life in captivity and a courageous flight to freedom, this astonishing memoir is also Farida’s way of bearing witness, and of ensuring that ISIS does not succeed in crushing her spirit. Her bravery, resilience, and hope in the face of unimaginable violence will fascinate and inspire readers.
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies
Elizebeth Smith was an expert in Shakespeare when a 1916 job changed the course of her life — and American intelligence history. Smith's boss, a tycoon with connections to the US government, turned her language skills to code cracking. Along the way, she would meet groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman, her future husband, and the couple would be critical to the development of the NSA. Smith would help catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, expose Nazi spy rings in South America, and help crack multiple versions of the German Enigma machine. This intriguing story explores the development of modern intelligence through the life of one unforgettable woman.
As a teen, Manal al-Sharif was as conservative as they come: she even burned her brother's boy band cassettes because music was forbidden by Islamic law. But after a college education and the beginning of a career as a computer security engineer, she became frustrated with the limitations placed upon her by Saudi law and found her way into activism. With ridiculous contradictions facing her every day — like her teenaged brother having to "chaperone" her on a business trip, or the expensive car her work allowed her to afford but that she wasn't legally able to drive — she decided to stand up and fight back. In her memoir, al-Sharif captures the resentment and anger simmering among Saudi Arabia's women, the power of education and solidarity to fight for change, and the incredible freedom that comes from making your voice heard.
Fans of the Emmy-winning Netflix drama The Crown will love getting to dive deeper into the history of Queen Elizabeth II with this official companion! Elizabeth Mountbatten was crowned queen at 25; she was already a wife and mother and faced additional challenges, from the doubts of family members to the resentment of her husband. Nevertheless, resolute Elizabeth was determined to ensure that the crown — and her country — came out on top. Royal biographer Robert Lacey, the show's official consultant, adds historical detail to the show's depiction of the years 1947 to 1955, and includes both archival photographs and stills from the production.
Coretta Scott King’s life was changed forever when she met and married Martin Luther King, Jr. – but her marriage to the famous civil rights leader was only a part of her story. After Dr. King's death, as a widow and single mother of four, she became one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace. A well-known activist for many causes, she championed women's, workers’ and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity. Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.
In many biographies of Charlotte Brontë, she seems like a melancholy figure, growing up with a demanding father who kept his children's incredible creative gifts a secret. But Claire Harman reveals a portrait of a woman whose fierce ambition and quiet rebellion led her to become a key figure in English literature. Not only did Brontë help her sister Emily get her work to publication, but her novel Jane Eyre had all of London asking: who wrote this novel demanding justice for a seemingly ordinary heroine? Her intelligent heroines would transform English literature, and her success would become one of her proudest accomplishments. This groundbreaking and unique look at a beloved author will shed new light on this remarkable woman.
As teenagers, the Scholl siblings were avid members of the Hitler Youth, but as they watched Hitler tighten his grip — and the atrocities that came along with it — Hans and Sophie decided something had to be done and became two of the most celebrated German anti-Nazi activists in history. They founded the White Rose, a student resistance movement that broadcast the truth about Hitler's Final Solution, "the most terrible crime committed against the dignity of humankind, a crime that has no counterpart in human history" — and were ultimately executed for treason. Editor Inge Jens has collected letters and diaries written by both Scholl siblings, which illuminate their personal beliefs and the ordinary moments of joy, laughter, and art that they enjoyed, even in the midst of such horrifying times. Alongside commentary about the progress of Hitler's campaign while they were writing, their words are a reminder of the power of humanity and an unyielding belief in what is right.
When Annie Smith Peck climbed the Matterhorn in 1895 — at the age of 45 — she didn't win fame for her daring, but because she'd climbed while wearing pants. But the determined suffragist, political activist, and scholar wasn't about to let that stop her from climbing again. Peck became a world-renowned climber, an expert on North and South American relations, and even entered a race to climb Mount Coropuna just before her 60th birthday... competing against Hiram Bingham, the inspiration for Indiana Jones. Despite her amazing achievements, few people know her name. But now, author Hannah Kimberley has dug into Peck's original letters and artifacts to create a new portrait of this courageous woman who was determined to see her way to the top.
Fans of The Carol Burnett Show will love this peek behind the curtains from the comedy legend herself! For eleven years, Burnett, her co-stars, and a lengthy list of guest stars made people laugh with their wacky sketches and hilarious improvisations. To create this book, she rewatched all 276 episodes so that she could illustrate the magical chemistry and spirit of fun that won her show twenty-five Emmy Awards and won her so many dedicated fans. She celebrates the unexpected moments that both audience and cast could never have predicted but would never forget, and also sheds a light on the tender and sweet moments that kept her coming back ready to work every day. Heartfelt and hilarious, this is a must read for any fans of Burnett's special brand of comedy.
When a Christian girl named Roxelana was abducted from her home by slave traders, no one could have predicted that she would become one of the most powerful and shrewd rulers of her time. When she was delivered to the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in Istanbul, he was fascinated by her: not only did he vow not to keep any other concubines, but he freed her so that the pair could marry. Roxelana's intelligence and daring proved a tremendous asset to Suleyman's rule, forcing him to keep pace with a rapidly changing world — and at the same time, her power allowed her to achieve works of philanthropy that no one else could have imagined. Author Leslie Pierce creates a compelling portrait of an astonishing woman, who went from powerlessness to holding the reins of an empire.
Suffragists had to fight hard for their cause — but that meant more than simply protesting. To win the vote, they had to do more than just fight for a change in law: they had to change society and build popular support for their ideas. In New York City, a group of women with powerful names — Astor, Belmont, Rockefeller, Tiffany, Vanderbilt, and Whitney among them — set their sights on using their status as media darlings to fight for women's rights, including women's education, the right to a career, and the ability to end a marriage. And while some criticized them for "trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris," their work was key to the success of the suffrage movement. This fascinating book explores how these women leveraged their social standing to give suffrage the nudge it needed to become a reality.
Today, the First Lady of the United States is a complex and deeply underestimated role. She must be an inspiring leader of an agenda that she sets herself; a savvy politician; and a coordinator for the many services, special events, and activities at the White House. At the same time, she is constantly under scrutiny for her actions in both these capacities and as a wife and mother. In this fascinating book, Kate Andersen Brower draws on candid sources from friends to residence staff to political advisors to create a unique depiction of what First Ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama have faced in their life at the world's most powerful address. From tragic to heartwarming, these stories show a rarely-seen side of women in a prestigious, demanding, and often unappreciated role in American politics.
It's easy to forget that Carrie Fisher was just a teenager when she played the role of Princess Leia — one that would make her famous around the world. Last year, Fisher rediscovered the journals that she kept while filming Star Wars: A New Hope: journals full of love poems, naive musings, and all the excitement and anxiety of a girl with a hopeless crush on her older co-star. In this book, she reproduced pages of her journals, along with her modern look back at the strange experience of becoming iconic at such a young age. Thoughtful, hilarious, and introspective, this is a unique look at the young woman behind the Princess Leia buns — and the mature woman she became.
In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was taking the presidency, and Eleanor Roosevelt was about to step into the regimented role of First Lady. Then she met Lorena Hickok, a campaign reporter for the Associated Press, who would become a special figure in Roosevelt's life for over thirty years: a caring friend, a professional advisor, a lover, and more. The relationship was also a boon to the country: Hickok reported from the nation's poorest areas and Roosevelt used her reports to push her husband to support New Deal programs. And after FDR's death, it was Hickok who urged Roosevelt to use her own popularity to fight for those in need. This fascinating look at the relationship between a reporter and a First Lady highlights how the bond between these two women truly changed the world for the better. For many books about the pioneering Eleanor Roosevelt for young readers, visit our Eleanor Roosevelt Collection.
Mirna Valerio is a long-distance runner who is shattering stereotypes that keep people from lacing up their shoes and discovering the joy of running: neither skinny nor white, she's regularly faced public comments that she must not be a "real" runner. In her optimistic, body-positive memoir, Valerio talks about her journey from first steps to ultramarathons with honesty, humor, and heart. Valerio challenges the idea that you can determine health from appearance, and encourages other women like her — women who have been told that their size means they can never be athletes — to take on the challenge of finding a form of exercise that they love. Throughout, she reminds her readers that every runner will sometimes get a DNF (Did Not Finish): the important thing is that you DNQ: Did Not Quit.
19-year-old Kathy McKeon was a newly arrived Irish immigrant in 1964 when she took a job that would change her life: being the personal assistant to former First Lady Jackie Kennedy. For thirteen years, McKeon spent hours every day either by Kennedy's side or caring for Caroline and John Jr. — enough time that Rose Kennedy nicknamed her "Jackie's girl." It was a position that gave her a unique view of some of the most significant, tumultuous times of the 20th century. Part behind-the-scenes look at the Kennedy household, part memoir of a young immigrants search for identity and belonging, this title is captivating and inspiring.
In 2011, Doaa Al Zamel's life as a typical Syrian girl was torn apart by the civil war. Her family fled to Egypt to escape the violence, but they were not welcome there either. There, though, Doaa met a young opposition fighter, fell in love, and made a new plan with her fiance: they would give everything they had to smugglers in hopes of making it to Europe and starting a new life. But when a ship full of angry men rams Doaa's overloaded boat — and leaves everyone to drown — Doaa's struggle truly begins. Holding two children whose doomed families had pushed them into her arms, Doaa knows that she must survive... if not for herself, for them. The painful part of this story is not that it is unusual; rather, it sheds light on the desperate plight faced by thousands of refugees every day. This unforgettable story is a tribute to the human spirit — and a poignant call to act.
Jen Welter is used to being underestimated: from a young age, she was the undersized athlete who had to fight every step of the way to rise to the top of women's football... and then to play against the men. But in 2015, she took another big step: she became the linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals, making her the first woman ever to coach in the NFL. In Play Big Welter uses her own story as an illustration of how you can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. With wit, wisdom, and the perspective that comes from looking back on a tough fight, she provides lessons on how to cultivate your own grit and perseverance and achieve your own goals.
Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves
Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves
In Uganda's capital city of Kampala, Gladys Kalibbala is on a mission. At least 5,000 children live on the streets of her city; few of them know the names of their villages and some of them are so young they don't know their parents' names. Kalibbala is the author of "Lost and Abandoned," a newspaper column about the children she meets — and a key partner with police and other authorities hoping to reunite her young charges with their families. This powerful and heartrending story of one woman's efforts to care for so many children in need is a testament to both everyday and extraordinary altruism, and one that shows what a difference one caring adult can make in the life of a child.
On January 21, 2017, millions of people gathered worldwide for the Women's March, one of the largest demonstrations in political history. Together they raised their voices in hope, protest, and solidarity. This inspiring collection features 500 of the most eloquent, provocative, uplifting, clever, and creative signs from marches across the United States and around the world. Each is a powerful reminder of why we march, and as with the new battle cry of "Nevertheless, she persisted," these messages continue to reverberate daily and fortify a movement that will not be silenced.
Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of an American father and British mother born in London at the cusp of the Revolutionary War, never expected to become the wife of one of America's presidents. When she married John Quincy Adams, she struggled to find her place, never feeling quite like she belonged no matter where they went. But as the new country of America developed its identity, Louisa Adams found her own voice. Using unpublished diaries and published memoirs, Louisa Thomas creates a portrait of a complex and fascinating woman whose story was often overshadowed by her famous husband.
Dorothy Day is rightly hailed for her social activism and work on the part of the poor — but she was also a person, full of all the beauty and flaws that any human being presents. In this unique biography, Day's granddaughter Kate Hennessy creates a multidimensional portrait of this radical and determined woman: full of compassion and desire for service on the one hand, dogmatic and sometimes judgemental on the other. Hennessy tackles Day's life both before and after her conversion to the Catholic church, and depicts how she was simultaneously a great champion for her faith and its greatest challenger. Complex and deeply personal, this biography is a much-needed addition to the history of a little-known hero.
When Gabrielle Union published a powerful editorial urging society to provide more support to survivors of sexual assault — and revealing her own story as one of them — she made the world sit up and take notice. Now, in a collection of essays, she tackles even more issues with the same passion, writing about everything from feminism and color to power and fame to life as a child, moving between a home in majority white Californian suburbs and her black relatives' home in Nebraska. Throughout, she reminds her readers of the importance of empathy, the value of humor, and the power of standing together in support of those in need. Funny, vulnerable, and deeply real, this book recognizes all the complexity of life as a modern woman.
When Esther Morris organized a tea party in Wyoming, she had no idea that it would become what some call "the second most important tea party in America" — the meeting that would lead to her state become the first in the country to grant women the vote. But that was only one of Morris' many achievements: over her remarkable life, she would make a difference on three different frontiers and make history as the first female justice of the peace. In this historical novel, author Marian Betancourt tells the compelling story of a woman whose life paralleled the progress of the 19th century — and who insisted on being at the forefront of the wave of change.
Fans of best-selling author Amy Tan love her writing for its unique combination of humor, emotion, and heart — and now in this incisive memoir, she explores the childhood experiences that helped her develop her unique fictional voice. After being raised by a critical and volatile mother, and losing her father at the age of 15, the challenges and hurts of her life would become rich fodder for her future writing. As Tan looks back, she combines family history, diary entries, story-telling, and even letters to and from her editor to create an intriguing look at the relationship between an author's past and her work.
For centuries, women artists have been ignored in galleries and excluded from art history texts, their contributions minimized or omitted. In this book, art historian Bridget Quinn provides an entertaining, educational, and intelligent look at a few of these artists and their works that you’ve been missing! Fifteen female artists, along with beautiful reproductions of their works, are featured in these pages, and accented with contemporary portraits of each woman by illustrator Lisa Congdon. From 1600 to the present, this is a fascinating and long overdue examination of the female side of art history!
Anna Kendrick has made a name for herself on the big screen — and also for her clever, self-deprecating humor. In this collection of autobiographical essays, she reveals how an unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant” teenager who was determined to "keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever." became the woman who realized that the "crazy" was what made her special and successful. Her witty observations on absurd moments like flipping through a binder of butt doubles and "dating experiments" that included only liking boys who didn't like her back will make you laugh out loud! With just the right hint of seriousness in the midst of the fun anecdotes and wacky memories, this book provides an entertaining look at one of today's young stars.
When Victoria was born in 1819, monarchy was the way of the world; by the time her reign ended, the Industrial Revolution was complete, women were rising to claim power, and democracy was becoming the way of the future. In the midst of this upheaval, a teenage girl came to the throne and overcame the bullying of her mother and her advisors to rule according to her own mind. She fell head over heels in love with her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and then, after his death, began a controversial relationship with her servant John Brown. She defied eight assassination attempts to rule an empire where the sun never set and established the idea that women could be in charge. Drawing from previously unpublished sources, Julia Baird creates an intriguing portrait of a woman who was unexpectedly thrust into power and went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.
Before Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick in the final game of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, there was a time when she almost quit her beloved sport forever. In 2003, struggling and frustrated, she lacked the mental toughness necessary to become one of the best players in the world, even if she had the raw talent to do so. With the help of trainer James Galanis, Lloyd learned how to practice both the physical and emotional skills necessary to achieve her true potential. In this book, she talks about how she got from there to the top of the world's soccer stage. Candid and inspiring, this story of fighting through a lack of confidence to achieve a dream is a testament to the power of will.
Pauli Murray was a writer turned Civil Rights activist, whose grandmother had been a slave; Eleanor Roosevelt was a First Lady who could trace her ancestry back to the American Revolution. The two seemed an unlikely pair, and yet when 28-year-old Murray wrote a letter to Roosevelt protesting segregation in the American South, Roosevelt wrote back, the beginning of a close friendship that would last twenty-five years. Patricia Bell-Scott uses letters, journals, interviews, and unpublished manuscripts to create a new portrait of an unexpected relationship that changed the course of American history. Her examination of how Roosevelt and Murray supported and challenged one another shows how friendships and collaborations between people of different backgrounds can create great things. For many books about the pioneering Eleanor Roosevelt for young readers, visit our Eleanor Roosevelt Collection.
When Katharina von Bora became dissatisfied with her life in a convent — and the church's teachings — she contacted Martin Luther for help. She had no idea that Luther would become her husband... and their marriage would become a new model for Christian marriage, even among religious officials. The marriage of necessity became one of deep love, affection, and respect, and together the Luthers changed Christian history — but very little of Katharina's story has been told until now. With exhaustive research, Michelle DeRusha highlights this very personal story of a couple whose work changed the face of 16th century Europe... and whose story offers insight into 21st century relationships.
In this final volume of Blanche Wiesen Cook's definitive biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, she explores the challenges Roosevelt faced in maintaining her central principles when her husband and her country were not ready to follow along. Even as FDR sidelined many of the issues she considered most important, such as economic security, New Deal reforms, and racial equality, Roosevelt continued to fight for them, increasing the chasm in their marriage that only ended with FDR's death. After that, she became the focus of the spotlight as she became a crucial player in the founding of the United Nations and the adoption of key policies like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A fitting and eloquent conclusion to Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1: 1884 - 1933 and Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 2: The Defining Years, 1933 - 1938, this is the perfect gift for any admirer of this unique and groundbreaking woman. For many books about this remarkable trailblazer for young readers, visit our Eleanor Roosevelt Collection.
Peggy Seeger tells the story of her remarkable life — and her influence on the world of folk and popular music — in this funny and heartfelt memoir. From a childhood in a musically talented family that were proud to call themselves "left-wingers," to her youthful adventures singing her way through multiple countries (including, against advice, Russia and China), and then to her incredible partnership (both personal and professional) with Ewan MacColl, Seeger takes a clear-eyed look at the ups, downs, ins, and outs of her decades-long career of music and activism.
At the 1928 Olympic Games, Betty Robinson took the starting position and won gold... and it was only her fourth-ever organized track meet. She had been spotted running for a train in rural Illinois; with no formal women's athletic system, her raw speed was still remarkable. After becoming the fastest woman in the world, though, a plane crash nearly killed her, and other women stepped forward to the Olympic starting blocks, including stars like Babe Didrikson and Stella Walsh, who proved to the world that women could achieve athletic feats that few thought them capable of. And then, a near miracle: Robinson went from fighting to walk to the 1936 Olympic team, once again inspiring the world of women's athletics. This fascinating, novelistic telling of the history of women athletes in the early Olympic Games highlights just how far the world of women's sports has come.
Michelle Obama filled her role as First Lady with grace, intelligence, and a sense of fun, and while many articles and authors have examined her place as a fashion icon, few have touched on just how much she has meant to American culture – and to individuals within it. In this collection sixteen writers talk about how Obama has impacted their understanding of race, class, marriage, creativity, womanhood and what it means to be American today. From Ava DuVernay to Roxanne Gay, these women provide an open and honest look at how Michelle Obama has influenced them and pay tribute to her enormous contributions during her groundbreaking two terms as First Lady.
Tens of millions of athletes play fastpitch softball, and yet many people simply think of it as the "women's version" of American baseball. This book sheds new light on softball's 129-year history, from its invention in 1887 to the rise of professional-caliber teams in the 1940s and '50s. Because it was one of the few team sports women were allowed to play — and it allowed women athletes to make money and travel in a way that they could not have done before — softball has a unique place of importance in the story of women's athletics. This celebration of an often-overlooked sport teaches readers the names of the remarkable women who made up softball's history and its important place in both the past and present. Entertaining and inspiring, this book will make you want to pick up your own ball and bat and get playing!
After being selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar finished top of her class, served three tours in Afghanistan, and flew in a daring rescue attempt that earned her a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross... but as difficult as all of that was, her hardest fight has been on home soil. Hegar was determined to end the US military’s Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which prevents female armed service members from serving in official combat roles – even though they have done so unofficially for decades. In her book, Hegar takes a thrilling, humorous, and inspiring tour through her own life, showing how the same devotion to service that led her to join the military led her to fight for her fellow women in service.
Abby Wambach has always pushed the boundaries, achieving great feats — like the record for the most international goals scored in the history of soccer by either a man or a woman — and capturing the heart of a country as she helped lead the 2015 Women's National Team to victory in the FIFA Women's World Cup. But behind the professional successes were many struggles that fans didn't see, including a fight against addiction and fear about coming out as a lesbian. These struggles, though, have driven her to achieve as a professional athlete and as an advocate for equality and women's rights. Frank and fascinating, this is a unique look at this groundbreaking athlete. This memoir is also available in a young readers edition which is suitable for ages 9 to 12.
Shirley Jackson is best known to most as the author of "The Lottery," but this genius of suspense and what she called "domestic horror" made many unique and important contributions to the American Gothic tradition. Long before the women's movement of the 1960s, Jackson explored the isolation and exploitation of women through works that combined a sense of the occult with the claustrophobic experience of marriage. At the same time, she struggled with her own difficult marriage and her addiction to amphetamines and tranquilizers. Author Ruth Franklin draws on previously unseen correspondence and dozens of interviews to create a new portrait of a woman whose genius at suspense and horror also tapped into the anxiety and frustrations of a generation of American women.
Jessica Valenti, who has been writing about gender, politics, and feminism for over a decade, illuminates the effects of sexism on women's lives, from dealing with groping on the bus to struggles about identity, motherhood, and self-esteem. Valenti uses her own experiences to highlight these issues, capturing how even the most self-assured feminists can be rocked by the responses they get from the rest of society. Honest and raw, this book will encourage all readers, male and female, to take a closer look at how society treats women and the unexpected ways that treatment affects all of us.
In the PBS drama Mercy Street, nurses at Mansion House in Alexandria, Virginia fight to save the lives of injured soldiers from the Civil War — but did you know that Mansion House, and the nurses who worked there, are a real part of history? This book peels back the fiction of the TV show and introduces readers to real women like Dorothea Dix, Mary Phinney, Anne Reading, and more. These women volunteered their time and saw casualties on a scale that had never taken place in America before...and their work helped establish women as an important part of the modern medical field. This fascinating book traces the personal contributions of these female pioneers to the revolution of medicine in the mid- to late 1800s.
When you are smart, outspoken, and tackle topics that make people uncomfortable, you might be called brave... or, if you're a woman, you might be accused of being shrill. In this book, writer Lindy West starts a conversation about a world where people decide whether or not to hear your story based on your appearance, position, and sex. She tackles topics like body image, pop culture, social justice, and more, all with a combination of heart and humor that will both touch you and galvanize you into action. Her message is a rallying cry: things need to change, and the only way to do it is to speak up. And if people call you shrill, that just means you've got their attention.
During her lifetime, Elizabeth Bishop published only a hundred poems, but after her death in 1979, she became one of America's best-loved poets. Until recently, little was known about the shy and reclusive writer. In this new book, author Megan Marshall draws on recently discovered letters that Bishop wrote to her psychiatrist and to several of her lovers to paint a portrait of a dark childhood, a secret affair, and the end of her romance with Brazilian modernist designer Lota de Macedo Soares. Marshall writes with a novelistic flair, showing how real life and poetry are intertwined in Bishop's life. This is a remarkable and personal depiction of a woman whose art both defined and saved her life.
What began as a protest highlighting women's rights became a worldwide movement: the Women's March. Around the globe, people in 82 countries galvanized in support of issues such as immigration, health care, environmental protections, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights — all of which had been cast into high relief by the 2016 American election. This book captures images from the Women's Marches around the world, as a visual reminder of the moment that 5 million people marched to say, "We stand together."
In this chatty series of essays, actress Lauren Graham takes a moment to share laugh-out-loud stories about her life and Hollywood career. She talks about what it means to "make it" in Hollywood and what it's like to be single when you're in the public eye. With funny observations about the problem of meeting guys at awards shows — "If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high" — and what it's like to audition intensely for a role, she encourages everyone to laugh at the often absurd life of an actress. And for Gilmore Girls fans, she sits down for an epic marathon of the show, reflecting on what the show meant for her at the time and what it was like to pick up her fast-talking character nine years later.
In the sixteenth century, women held nearly unprecedented power in Europe. Some of these women ruled directly; others were the power behind the throne. From Isabella of Castile, her daughter Katherine of Aragon, and her granddaughter Mary Tudor, to Catherine de Medici, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth Tudor, these women were both allies and enemies, mentors and protegées: a sisterhood of rulers who, for the first time in centuries, claimed political power for their own. In this thrilling group biography, author Sarah Gristwood examines women who would be both acclaimed and reviled for their insistence on holding the reins of their countries — and who left their mark on Europe's history, with influence still lingering today.
Many know Julia Ward Howe's legacy as author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, but few know that in her person life, she fought a ferocious battle for both creative freedom and personal independence. The heiress and aspiring poet met many important figures of her era after marrying Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, but her husband also squandered her fortune, isolated her, and opposed her attempts to publish her writing. Despite his efforts, though, she persisted in her beliefs and became an active suffragist, a pacifist, a campaigner for women's rights and social reform, and even a world traveler. This inspiring biography shows how she defied her husband's limitations and societal expectation to create her own identity.
For breakout comedian Iliza Shlesinger, Girl Logic means a particular way of thinking: "GL is the desire to be strong and vulnerable. It's wanting to be curvy, but rail thin at the same time. It's striving to kick ass in a man's world while still being loved by the women around you." But Shlesinger argues that women's supposed obsession with detail and desire considering the possible consequences of every choice actually represents a complex way of thinking — one with its own strengths which can allow women to achieve success in a male-thinking world. Subversive, funny, thought-provoking, and fascinating, Shlesinger's essays on friendship, relationships, singlehood, and more provide a confident look at Girl Logic.
When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during the final presidential debate, women across the country embraced the label: yes, they declared, we are nasty women and we will not bow down. In this evocative book, dozens of women from across the country share their stories of outrage, survival, and activism. They represent every race, class, and sexual orientation, and have lived both lives of privilege and poverty; the factor that unites them is the knowledge that, together, they can stand up against those who would marginalize them and demand to be heard. This book is a tribute to the power of women to be agents of change – and to the power of hope and resistance to overcome even the greatest of obstacles.
When 17-year-old Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2004, it seemed like she'd appeared out of nowhere — but the truth is that it had taken years of determination and sacrifice for her and her father to go from a small Russian town to the international tennis scene. Further tournaments proved that her success wasn't a fluke... and then at the peak of her career, in 2016, the ITF found the recently banned substance meldonium in her test for the Australian Open and she was suspended for fifteen months. For many athletes, it would have been an insurmountable obstacle, but Sharapova has never been one to give up. This powerful memoir of determination and the will to win despite all the odds will fascinate readers.
Angela Carter was one of the most inventive writers of the 20th century — and her life was as unconventional as her work. In this definitive biography, author Edmund Gordon drew on unrestricted access to her writings, interviews with friends and family, and travels to the places she lived in order to create a comprehensive picture of Carter and her work. Along the way, readers explore the shift in British society, second-wave feminism, and 1960s counterculture. It's a unique look at a groundbreaking author who dared to defy all the rules... and achieved greatness because of it.
When the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, founded in the 1940s, needed clever mathematicians for calculations, they recruited a group of young women whose penciled equations about velocities and plot trajectories would propel the science of space exploration. Over two decades, these dedicated women would transform rocket design, allow the creation of the first American satellites, and eventually, make it possible to explore our solar system — and yet few people know their story. Nathalia Holt tells the story of these groundbreaking "human computers" who broke new ground for both women and science in a compelling and exciting way. Inspiring and thought-provoking, this book will change the way you look at the history of space travel — as well as its future.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh was nine years old when planes struck the World Trade Center on 9/11, and she was as horrified as any other American. In the aftermath, however, she quickly felt alienated and isolated by America's Islamophobic reaction to this terrorist act. But after a trip to Jordan when she was 13, Al-Khatahtbeh was inspired: she created a website called MuslimGirl and found her voice. In this book, Al-Khatahtbeh speaks honestly about the realities of Islamophobia, without exaggerating, and tackles the narrative about Muslim girls and women that diminishes the true scope of their experiences. She also captures the power of giving people a place where they can tell their stories. Timely and emotional, this story is important both now and for the years to come.
When people picture the inhabitants of a Buddhist monastery, the people who live there are male, but there is a 2,500 year old tradition of Buddhist nuns who are nearly unknown… except to those whom they help. Journalist Christine Toomey sought out these dedicated women to learn more about the lives and challenges of these women. From police officers to musicians to Bollywood stars, they gave up their homes and careers in search of a life of service and enlightenment – and yet despite their dedication, they are rarely given equal status with the male monks. This book offers a fascinating look at these little-known communities of women, from Nepal to California, who share the risks and blessings that come to those who sacrifice possessions and careers in exchange for an exploration of faith.
Finally free from the restrictions and scrutiny of life as a running politician, Hillary Clinton opens up about the 2016 election in this candid new memoir. From her experiences over years as a woman in politics, facing double-standards and constant criticism, to the challenge of running in one of the most polarizing, vicious elections in US history, to how she recovered from the devastating loss, Clinton reveals what it was like for her personally, as well as highlighting what her experiences say about our society. She also tackles the dangerous truths about external interference in the election and what it means for American democracy. Poignant, hard-hitting, and honest, this book is a must for anyone who cares about the future of American politics.
In the midst of the Great Depression, basketball coach Sam Babb offered hardworking young women a unique opportunity: free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team. Together, they built the Cardinals, a team of talented newcomers whose passion for their sport and loyalty to their coach and one another helped them win time after time. Author Lydia Reeder tells a fascinating story about how these women defied common misconceptions about the inappropriateness and danger of competitive sports for women and fought their way to the top of their game.
Nujeen Mustafa was born with cerebral palsy; confined to a wheelchair, she was denied schooling in her home country of Syria and taught herself English by watching American soap operas. But in 2014, when her home became the site of a brutal fight between ISIS forces and US-backed Kurdish troops, her family was forced to flee. It was the beginning of a physically and emotionally arduous journey through Turkey, across the Mediterranean, then on to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, until she finally found a new home in Germany. Despite her physical limitations, Nujeen doggedly continued her quest that took her over both land and sea, telling reporters, "You should fight to get what you want in this world." Suffused with optimism and determination, this inspiring story highlights the additional challenges facing refugees with disabilities, as well as the power of refusing to give up on your own potential.
Betty Reid Soskin has witnessed dramatic changes to American culture in her 96 years — and she's helped to create plenty of that change, too! Today, she's the oldest park ranger in the history of the National Park Service, sharing her perspective by leading tours of the Rosie the Riveter National Park. In this absorbing memoir, Soskin describes a life watching the course of American 20th century history, complete with tremendous strides in women's and civil rights. Conversational and fresh, this book will make you look at the world around you with new eyes.
A life as a country superstar seems like the life of your dreams, but for Naomi Judd, the performances and awards hid a history of desperate personal struggles. After a traumatic childhood, Judd found herself an expectant mother in a reluctant marriage at the age of seventeen; then, two years later, she was the single mother of two, abandoned by her abusive husband. After putting herself through nursing school, she took an extraordinary leap of faith and moved to Nashville in hopes of finding country music success. More struggles were to come, including a fight against hepatitis C and Severe Treatment Resistant Depression. Despite it all, Judd persevered. Her story of resilience and hope is an inspiration to anyone whose life has been marked by trauma: you can come out the other side.
After the fall of South Vietnam, Thi Bui's family fled and faced both the challenges of escape... and the longer, more subtle challenges of building a new life. In this illustrated memoir, Bui explores her family's history through the lens of her new role as a mother, with the new understanding it brings her about the sacrifices and doubts that come with being a parent. With a gentle but clear-eyed tone, Bui explores the gifts and flaws of her family and herself in this graphic novel, telling a complex story with heart and love.
Decades before the Slow Food movement or farm to table eating became part of mainstream cooking, a food writer named Patience Gray was already living these ideals. In Puglia, Italy, she lived without electricity and modern plumbing, farming most of her food and foraging alongside her impoverished neighbors. However, her isolated life meant she was often overshadowed by more prominent food writers of her day. In this fascinating biography, Adam Federman tells the story of how a privileged intellectual from England became a food pioneer whose influence still resonates today.
When women are independent, ambitious, opinionated, or simply insistent that they will take up space, they're often branded with the word "difficult." But in this beautifully illustrated book, author Karen Karbo argues that being "difficult" may not make life easier, but it definitely makes it more meaningful and fulfilling! Her unique narrative tells the stories of 29 iconic women, including figures like Frida Kahlo, Carrie Fisher, Amelia Earhart, and Shonda Rhimes, who forged their own paths in the world. She explores their stories — imperfections and all — and examines the universal themes that connect us to each of these mesmerizing personalities today: success and style, love and authenticity, daring and courage.
Amber Smith is one of the few women to have flown the Kiowa Warrior helicopter, a craft designed for armed reconnaissance. Its pilots need to be able to fly fast and low, and equally importantly, to keep their heads as they skim right over the ground combat below them. In this book, Smith describes her 2005 and 2008 deployments, rising to the post of Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the Army. And while she kept her cool on dangerous reconnaissance missions, she also had to navigate an elite, mostly male, club of army pilots. In the end, she proved her mettle, joining the best of the best in aviation. This combination of war story and personal memoir is thrilling, touching, and inspiring.
When Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, was faced with the sudden death of her husband, she didn't know what to do — and it got her thinking about how we as a culture can build resilience and help those who are struggling through crises emerge from the other side. With the help of her psychologist friend Adam Grant, she has written a book about what to do when Option A — the perfect life — is no longer available. Covering topics including how to help others when they're in crisis, how to be compassionate to yourself, and how to create strong and resilient individuals, families, communities, and workplaces, this is more than Sandberg's personal story: it's a rallying cry to create a world where we all work together to make Option B as good as it can be.
In too many art books, photographs are carefully captioned with male names... while female faces are labeled "identity unknown." Donna Seaman decided to rectify that imbalance by telling the stories of seven little-known women artists — many of whom were famous in their day but were dismissed as unimportant afterward. Her profiles of Gertrude Abercrombie, Joan Brown, Ree Morton, Loïs Mailou Jones, Lenore Tawney, Christina Ramberg, and Louise Nevelson capture the fight these women endured to be taken seriously as artists — and what drove them to keep creating despite being neglected and ignored. This book, which includes stunning examples of the women's art, is both a story of fascinating lives and a call to examine the way that we write some creators out of history.
People know Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her excellent legal mind and her sharp dissenting opinions... but did you know she also does 20 full push-ups a day? For that, she credits Bryant Johnson, the personal trainer she started seeing to rebuild her strength after cancer treatment. In his new book, Johnson introduces everyone to the workout he created for Ginsburg, leading readers step by step through a simple but challenging series of exercises to build strength and confidence. Illustrated with four-color drawings of Ginsburg in workout gear performing the exercises, and complete with sidebars of Johnson's folksy wisdom about health and fitness, this book will show you how to work out like the Notorious RBG.
Mary Mann Hamilton found herself thrust into the challenges of surviving life as a settler of the untamed American South in the 19th century. There, she faced disasters like floods, tornadoes, and fires, dangerous wildlife like panthers and snakes, and all the complexities of running a boarding house in Arkansas and a logging camp in Mississippi. At the same time, she bore and cared for children, several of whom didn't survive these dangers. And all the while, in secret, she wrote a diary about her experiences. Her writing survives thanks to her choice to submit it to a competition by publisher Little, Brown in 1933; while it didn't win then, 83 years later, the publisher rediscovered it and, with cooperation from Hamilton's descendants, has finally put it to print. This remarkable story of personal faith, emotional and physical strength, and a sense of daring and adventure is the only known first-person account of a woman's life during the settlement of the Mississippi Delta.
Gabourey Sidibe leapt onto the world stage after starring in 2009's acclaimed movie Precious, but that was just a part of her remarkable and unconventional life story. In this memoir, Sidibe writes about her unusual childhood as the daughter of a polygamous father and a gifted mother who sang in the subway to support her family; her first job as a phone sex "talker"; and the strange experience of rising to fame and standing next to fellow stars who owned private islands and giant mansions while she still lived in her mother's apartment. Along the way, Sidibe waves away the haters by celebrating herself and her own confidence that she can accomplish anything. Complete with funny and pointed observations on topics like friendship, race, and weight, this is a celebrity memoir that will delight anyone who loves the unique and different — and imagines what it would be like to achieve their own dreams.
Over the nearly ten years that Alyssa Mastromonaco worked for Barack Obama, he went from the Senate to the Oval Office – and she helped take him there. But, like any woman in politics will attest, Mastromonaco didn’t necessarily fit the picture people had in mind of a White House official, and sometimes her perspectives – and her obstacles – were quite different from those of the men around her! In this conversational and fun look at the not-so-perfect reality of life in the political scene, Mastromonaco provides a peek behind the curtain at everything from bursting into the middle of a secret climate talk to discovering that the Vatican is rather short on women's bathrooms! Mastromonaco’s hilarious and fascinating book will remind every reader of the importance of confidence, kindness, and hard work – even in the world's most powerful office.
Patricia McConnell is renowned for her insights into dog behavior and for her compelling writing about her efforts to understand and re-teach aggressive and fearful dogs – but what the world didn’t know was how her work to rescue one dog also helped her rescue herself. Will was a young Border Collie whose outbursts of anger and fear suddenly seemed all too familiar to McConnell, who was suddenly forced to face her own childhood traumas. By helping Will, McConnell also managed to find a way to reclaim her own life and happiness. Hopeful and inspiring, the redemptive message of her journey is that, while trauma changes our brains and the past casts a long shadow, healing, for both people and dogs, is possible through hard work, compassion, and mutual devotion.
When twenty-year-old Hanna escaped from East to West Germany, she had no idea how long she would be separated from her family. Decades later, Hanna's daughter, Nina Willner, became an Army Intelligence officer, and she was assigned to Berlin. She was mere miles away from relatives she'd never met — her grandmother Oma, her aunt Heidi, and a cousin, Cordula — but contact was as difficult as ever. In this powerful memoir, Willner shares the story of these five women, providing a very personal peek at life behind the Iron Curtain, as well as a sense of how the scars of the Cold War still affect people today. It's also a testament to their courage, as they fought for forty years to maintain their divided, but desperately loved, family.
As a Christian child growing up in Iraq, Brigitte Findakly developed an odd relationship with her homeland. She loved the places where she grew up, but she was not blind to signs of oppression — censored magazines, public hangings, even the banning of the color red. Brigitte's father continued to hope that a secular, prosperous Iraq will return, but eventually moved the family to Paris... where Brigitte didn't feel at home either. This gentle and nuanced graphic memoir, illustrated by Findakly's husband cartoonist Lewis Trondheim, explores interesting questions about home and identity.
Catriona Menzies-Pike started training for a half marathon on a whim, but as she began training, she found that running was providing more than a physical challenge: its steady pace and soothing rhythm was helping her confront and grieve the loss of her parents a decade earlier. Not only did she set herself to exploring her own emotional life and past, but she also started exploring the past of her new sport, learning about the battles that women long-distance runners had to fight in order to be allowed to lace up their shoes. In this unique look at the power of sport to inspire and heal, Menzies-Pike not only reveals why she runs; she also examines what it is about running that draws so many people in.
In this landmark book, 200 influential women from around the world answer five key questions: What really matters to you? What brings you happiness? What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? What would you change if you could?, and Which single word do you most identify with? The answers are uplifting, inspiring, heartbreaking, and real. Interviewees include Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dolores Huerta, Alicia Garza, and more; together, they create a strong and empowering picture of the women of today — and a call to action to push for positive change wherever we are.
Additional Recommended Resources
- For a selection of 2016 releases to consider, visit our blog post Stories of Mighty Women: 55 Biographies for Adult Readers.
- For more posts featuring ideas for the 2017 holiday season, visit our 2017 Holiday Guide blog series.