Every year, the American Library Association’s Feminist Task Force (part of the Social Responsibilities Round Table) unveils their picks for the Amelia Bloomer Project. The booklist, named for 19th century newspaper editor and suffragist, Amelia Bloomer, features books about girls and women that push the idea of traditional gender roles and stereotypes. These books also empower female youths to find their voice and educate them on strong women who have broken the mold and fought for equality amongst their peers.
As a feminist, I was excited to learn of this amazing project through one of our Youth Services librarians, Cate Levinson. As someone with more knowledge about books than I’ll ever have, Cate bestowed upon me a riveting list of nominated books for the Amelia Bloomer Project. These books are geared towards young children through late teens, but I think adults would enjoy them as well. Thank you Cate (and Youth Services) for alerting me to this amazing addition to feminist reading.
For the full list or nominated literature, please visit The Amelia Bloomer Project. To see a list of 10 books Cate and I enjoyed from the list, continue reading!
Saints and Misfits – S.K. Ali
Fifteen-year-old Janna Yusuf, a Flannery O’Connor-obsessed book nerd and the daughter of the only divorced mother at their mosque, tries to make sense of the events that follow when her best friend’s cousin–a holy star in the Muslim community–attempts to assault her at the end of sophomore year.
#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women – Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale
This is an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.
Feminist Baby – Loryn Brantz
Feminist Baby likes pink and blue. Sometimes she’ll throw up on you! Feminist Baby chooses what to wear and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care! Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!
Ahimsa – Supriya Kelkar
Gandhi asks for one member of each family to join the fight for independence from the British, and when ten-year-old Anjali’s mother is jailed for doing so, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work.
Noteworthy – Riley Redgate
After learning that her deep voice is keeping her from being cast in plays at her exclusive performing arts school, Jordan Sun, junior, auditions for an all-male octet hoping for a chance to perform internationally.
Lucia the Luchador – Cynthia Leonor Garza
Lucía zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her “girls can’t be superheroes,” suddenly she doesn’t feel so mighty. That’s when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucía comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition.
The Pants Project – Cat Clarke
Eleven-year-old Liv fights to change the middle school dress code requiring girls to wear a skirt and, along the way, finds the courage to tell his moms he is meant to be a boy.
Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time – Tanya Lee Stone
Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education, created a film that chronicled the stories of nine girls in the developing world, allowing viewers the opportunity to witness how education can break the cycle of poverty. Now, author Tanya Lee Stone uses new research to illuminate the dramatic facts behind the film, focusing both on the girls captured on camera and many others.
A Season of Daring Greatly – Ellen Emerson White
Making history as the first woman to be signed by a major league baseball team, eighteen-year-old Jill is confronted by coaches, players, and fans who want to keep baseball an all-male sport while dealing with her own doubts about her choices.
Malala’s Magic Pencil – Malala Yousafzai
Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them.As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.