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Bellingham Public Library Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month, and the Bellingham Public Library has a fantastic assortment of materials to bring women’s life stories, achievements, and challenges to light. Celebrate and learn with us!

Women’s History Books for Adults

Women are trailblazers, visionaries, mothers, doctors, politicians, activists, artists, sports figures, and much more! Their stories reflect the challenges they’ve faced throughout history and their achievements and contributions.

To start your reading adventure, take a look at this recently updated list of staff recommended books on Women’s History. Then use the catalog’s “advance search” feature to narrow down your specific needs, and to also find e-books, e-audiobooks, and audiobook CDs.

Library Staff Recommends:

Dare to Repair by Julie Sussman is a fun way to build self-reliance, regardless of gender. You show those drippy faucets who’s boss! A playful, but practical, nod to all women who challenge outdated stereotypes about who can do what kind of work.” – Suzanne, Public Services Librarian  

 “Empowering women creates opportunity and advancement worldwide. Read The Moment of Lift by philanthropist Melinda Gates to see the effects of financial empowerment on women’s lives” – Jenni, Community Relations Specialist 

Women’s History Books for Teens

Teen books are, of course, geared toward the 13-18 year old audience, but are frequently enjoyed by readers of all ages. We encourage you to take a look at this great list of titles and staff recommendations whether you’re a teen or an adult!

Library Staff Recommends:

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

“History is reimagined in this story about America shortly after the Civil War. Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead rose on the battlefield at Gettysburg. In the wake of the dead uprising, slavery has ended, but the U.S. creates schools for black children to train to kill the “shamblers” and protect wealthy white families. While Jane, a student at “Miss Preston’s School for Combat”, is gifted in the art of battle, she is way too headstrong and free-thinking to fit into the racist and misogynistic society of the mid-late 1800s, zombies or no. She just wants to go home to her mother, but soon learns that the undead are not the only monsters in her way. Jane is an inspiring heroine, and her relationship with frenemy and fellow student Kate is nuanced and authentic. The first in a duology, is not only a alternative history, it shines a light on the real challenges facing women, and especially black women, in our history.” – Jennifer, Teen Services Librarian

Mural of Elizabeth Peratrovich on the Juneau Public Library facade. The 60-by-25-foot Tlingit formline mural was created by Tlingit and Athabascan artist Crystal Worl.

Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich Jr.

“Elizabeth Peratrovich, Tlingit civil rights icon, was indeed a fighter; a fighter and activist for equal rights. Her work was pivotal to the territory of Alaska passing the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, which was America’s first civil righs legislation granting equal rights to Alaska Natives. This young activist, mother and wife fought tirelessly to end discrimination and segregation in Alaska. Her story of passion and fierce perseverance is told by Bellingham author Annie Boochever, in collaboration with Elizabeth’s eldest son, Roy Peratrovich Jr. This is a teen book appropriate for teens and adults alike.” – Bethany, Library Deputy Director

Women’s History Books for Children

Enjoy stories featuring strong, smart, courageous and might girls!

Mighty Girls! List for Children

Library Staff Recommends:

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung and Julie Kwon

“Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless and was determined to become the first Chinese American woman pilot. She didn’t let it stop her that less than 1% of pilots were women in 1932. During World War II the US military created the Women Airforce Service Pilots (aka WASPs) and Hazel jumped at the opportunity to make her dream come true. Though dangerous at times, Hazel loved flying. When she was in the sky, nobody could see her eyes, hair or skin color, she could be who she wanted to be – a brave pilot zooming in the sky at hundreds of miles per hour. Read Hazel’s story as she fights racial and gender discrimination and barriers – even after her death in 1944.” – Bernice, Children’s Services Librarian

Recommended for ages 5 – 10

Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher

“In the 1890’s some thought women should only ride bikes in slow circles and in dresses no less.  Well that just wouldn’t do for Tillie Anderson who fashioned her own riding gear, trained and set out to break records.” – Jeff, Public Services Clerk

Great for all ages

Finish the Fight! The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and the Staff of The New York Times

“It took almost a century to pass a law establishing that women had the right to vote – and it took many women, many whose stories were never told, to lead the way in this movement. Brilliant and inspiring, this book is a compilation of the stories and contributions of women of color, from various cultures and walks of life, whose names were rarely, if ever, mentioned in my history studies. Numerous, engaging, well-documented biographies turn the light of truth on this journey towards equality for all.” – Julie, Children’s Specialist

Recommended for ages 8 and up

Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley

“This delightful picture book, inspired by a true story, encourages readers to choose for themselves and challenges society’s gender norms. Way back when I was in Kindergarten (at a private school), only the boys got to wear pants; girls had to wear skirts. I didn’t think that was fair!” – Mandee, Children’s Specialist

Recommended for ages 4 – 8

Films and Documentaries featuring Women’s History

Browse the shelves or search the catalog to find films and documentaries featuring the lives of women and their stories!

To find eFilms and eDocumentaries, use your library card to sign up with Kanopy, the Library’s source for free online videos. Access them on your computer, mobile device or TV.

Historically, the contributions of women have often been underrepresented. As part of Women’s History Month, Kanopy has curated a collection of films that feature female innovators, pioneers, and trailblazers. To explore these titles, visit Kanopy #WomensHistoryMonth

Library Staff Recommends:

Not Done: Women Remaking America

“In an insightful overview of the gains women have made in America, this film acknowledges the groundwork of the past, but is focused on the most recent developments.  Particular attention is paid to the Women’s March, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and the struggle for trans lives.  This film is of particular interest to those seeking a thoughtful examination of where the women’s movement stands right now.” – Rob, Public Services Librarian  

Book Club Kits with a Focus on Women’s History

Do you participate in a local book group? The Bellingham Public Library has over 180 book club kits for your group to choose from, including several memoirs and biographies featuring girls and women throughout history as well as fictional stories. A book club kit contains 10 copies of the same title, and a reading guide that contains information about the book, the author, and questions for your group to discuss. Visit KitKeeper to browse the list of kit titles and make a reservation using your Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library card!

Special CD Collection – Classical Women Composers

Purchased with a generous donation from Catherine Rae Sheldon, so that others may discover and enjoy the many overlooked works by women composers of classical music, this special music collection is definitely one to enjoy during Women’s History Month and all year long.

Classical Women Composers List