Thursday, April 19, 2018

More Books About Women Who Persisted

In January, I wrote about picture books about women who persisted in the face of challenges. Little did I know that it was just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many nonfiction picture books featuring extraordinary women. I'm writing this post as a way to share with readers but also to keep track of them for myself!

Mary Nohl was a born maker; she saw art where others only saw feathers, driftwood, glass, and trash. Marching to the beat of her own drum, Nohl created massive sculptures of art in her garden, and even when vandals destroyed them, she used the pieces to make more. Eventually, her home became known as "The Witch's House" and her Wisconsin garden remains a gallery brimming with her work, even after her passing.

What I like best about this biography is that the subject isn't a well-known person, just someone who followed her passion and cerated something beautiful. I love the idea that picture books can be about 'regular' people who do interesting things. I hope that more follow.

Not all picture books about strong women can be winners. That's my thought as I finish Bertha Takes a Drive, about Bertha Benz, who drove her husband's invention, the automobile, against the law. She and her two sons drove sixty miles and received acclaim for what a motorcar could actually accomplish.

Although it was her husband's invention, Bertha shows ingenuity throughout the book to solve various problems that come up along the way. I liked that part, and I found some humor in how amazing they felt to be traveling at seven miles an hour. But, unfortunately, the story didn't grab me and I found the illustrations unattractive. Still, there are definitely some young readers who are interested in the minute details of how cars work. This would be a good recommendation for them.

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