We’re very excited about it, since it is not only a book that portrays women and girls in a positive way to children from an early age, but also promotes literacy by teaching the alphabet and building a larger vocabulary!
ABC Like a Girl is out now, and it is an awesome book that really showcases some great role models and values for kids. If you’re excited about ABC Like a Girl, and you’re looking for more engaging children’s books that feature girls, girls of color, and girls learning about STEM subjects, and just generally girls being awesome role models for all kids, then have no fear, this is the blog post for you!
A brand new ABC book featuring strong female role models and positive attributes!
As a lifetime fan of children’s literature, and an Early Childhood Educator, I always have my eye out for great books that inspire kids. And while this post is going to focus on a lot of books that feature girls and women, don’t feel like that means those books aren’t for your boys. Boys benefit greatly from seeing women and girls as the heroes too!
Also, there are books on this list about girls of color, and while children of color benefit from seeing heroes like themselves, white children benefit from seeing kids of color represented, and represented in positive, and heroic ways! So, lets take a look at some great kids books: Read More
ABC Like a Girl is finished and I’ll be getting the physical proof from the printer any time now to look over so we can make sure it’s perfect! I’m VERY excited with how it turned out, and there is some art on there that I never even shared on Instagram or the Facebook page, so everyone is going to be in for a treat 🙂
It turned out longer than I think people were expecting. There are multiple attributes and/or careers for each letter and we wanted to give each idea it’s own room to hit home and shine. Some will resonate differently with different people and we wanted to make sure all of these important concepts felt as important as they are. So, the book is over 100 pages. Full color, paperback. I feel like it’s like a coffee table book you can actually let the kids in your life handle. Its beautiful to look at, but its not just for sitting around and looking pretty. Plus, there is going to be something new to get out of it every time they pick it up for a long time, but it isn’t a linear story, so there isn’t the worry of losing the plot and losing interest. I think this is going to be a book to capture kids attention and imagination for a long time, and I’m excited to get the proof looked at some I can finally put it out for sale.
There have been A LOT of people asking when it’s coming, and if I can, I’ll have it available before the US Election. There has been so much negative talk about women and girls during this election and I’ve heard from friends internationally it’s even showing up on news there. I want to get this out as soon as possible so families, educators, and children have a tool to positively work against those messages, and can get back on track valuing and respecting eachother and themselves.
March is Women’s History Month. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few examples of women throughout history who have made a difference to us all. Women who have made a difference to the environment, women who made a difference to social justice, who made a difference in science or medicine, women who have been great leaders of their countries, who were great explorers. I could just start a list of names: Rachel Carson, Erin Brockovich, Dorothea Dix, Dorothea Lang, Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, Jeanne Baré, Maria Theresa, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Sacajawea.
However, Women’s History Month is more than that. It is educating ourselves, and young people who are still in school, who will soon enough be growing up to make choices about the world we live in, to know about the importance of women, the sacrifices the women before have made so that we all could have everything we have, and at its most basic level, the fundamental understanding that people, no matter their gender, are equal.
Does this mean that the things that men have created or brought about are less good? Of course not. But in a society that still, sadly values women, on average, 77% less, it is good to make the effort to shine a light on the equally valuable efforts that women have made throughout history.
So from Anne Frank to Zenobia, let’s learn about, celebrate, teach about, and appreciate women all year, and not just during Women’s History Month!
Virunga National Park is in the East Congo, and is a very dangerous place, for people and animals. It is one of the few places that gorillas and other endangered animals still remain in the wild. However, because of the terrain and the proximity from human habitations, it is an ideal location for not just poachers, but rebel military forces and other dangerous criminals looking for a place to hide. It is the oldest national park in the entire continent of Africa. Historically the job of Park Ranger to Virunga has been an only male job. Women were not allowed to be Park Rangers.
However, in 2014 four women passed the very difficult tests to become the first female Virunga National Park Rangers. Kisamya became the first female section commander, and she and her team of women protected the gorillas, tourists, and the Park from danger.
Since then ten more women have passed the exams, and successfullyy passed training with Belgian Commandos to learn battle field tactics and and extreme survival skills to use against groups from illegal loggers to anti-government groups.
The woman I painted represents these women, although she is caring for a rhino instead of a gorilla. She represents women who care about nature and animals and choose to take that out into the field, even though the field may be dangerous. The picture also shows Indigenous Women caring for and protecting animals that live in their area, and achieving more autonomy over their homes. Another woman I thought of as I painted R is for Ranger, was Kinessa Johnson, a former US Army veteran, who after her time in Afghanistan joined a program called Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW), which trains other people, like Kisamya. So Kinessa uses her skills and teaches Kisamya to protect the animals.
It just goes to show, when we work together we can accomplish great things!
I chose the name “Like a Girl” for my book deliberately. It’s a phrase that is often targeted at women, girls, and even men and boys, to undercut them. To belittle them, to put them in their place. We are raised from when we are young to be in a society where there are binary sexual identities and gender roles. We are raised in a society that values women and girls less than men and boys, and if either girls or boys don’t follow their prescribed gender roles they targeted. Boys are told they do things “like a girl”, as in, wrong. Girls are denied access to things because they do things “like a girl”, as in, inadequately.
Recently, I took a trip to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. While I was there, I took a little break from working on the ABC Girls book. But, as with any project I get into, I couldn’t get it out of my brain. I thought about it a lot while I was there. I like to talk to people while I’m on vacation, even if I don’t speak the language perfectly, and I ended up in conversations with lots of people. Many of them asked what I did in the US. I told them I write and illustrate children’s books. Often, this would lead to more questions. What kind of pictures? What kind of children’s books? Read More
In working on the ABC Girls book, I’ve worked hard to show diverse groups of women and girls; socially diverse, economically diverse, ethnically diverse, etc. The books we read, and the pictures we see as children really stick with us through our lives, and form the groundwork for our understanding of the world. They help form the framework that be build our ideas, and opinions on. If we can only access limited media, than our framework is incomplete. Without realizing it, our understanding of the world is incomplete from the start. We are limited in the ways we are able to understand the things we started out missing. That is why I have been working so hard to include diverse portrayals of women and girls. When I was young, the perception in toys, books, and cartoons was very simplistic. Girls wore dresses and liked pink. That was the idea femininity that was presented to me and my peers from a young age. When we encountered anyone who fell outside that, they were outside of our limited world view, and were perceived as strange. It took until I was an adult to dismantle and rebuilt that scaffolding. I’m sure there are parts I have missed. What I want to do, is to start children off with a better, more accurate picture than I had, of the inclusive diverse society we live in. The idea of feminine is so much more than pink and skirts. It’s even so much more than XX chromosomes. Read More