33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women's History

by Tonya Bolden

Crown, February, 2002.
Trade paperback, 240 pages.
ISBN: 0375811222
Ages Young Adult

33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women's History by Tonya Bolden During the recent revelations about the horrors that were visited upon young girls unfortunate enough to have lived under the rule of the Taliban in Afganistan, American girls found themselves horrified and furious about the plight of their counterparts on the other side of the world. American girls were irate when they found that girls in other societies were forbidden an education, were forbidden to even show their faces, or indulge in normal girlish pleasures such as the wearing of nail polish. It shocks American elementary-age girls that once upon a time in the United States women were not allowed to vote. They see their mothers in all kinds of roles that require education and, yes, the freedom to follow their own special talents.

Ms. Bolden has compiled a book about women that is actually a collection of stories, poems, history, lists of organizations and biographies of women who made a difference in the lives of all American women. At times women had to be disruptive to make their demands known, and their steadfast determination now inspires and encourages all women. The first woman to earn a medical degree, the first woman to earn a Ph.D., the women who went to work in factories so that the men could fight in World War II, and all the other women who won small and large victories are featured in this collection. It is surprising to read just how many victories had to be won so that women could be free to be themselves and develop their own talents.

For this reason, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women's History should be not only in every school library, but also in every social studies classroom. It is one thing to research women's fight to be allowed to vote, but there are many other stories that also need to be told, and it is very convenient to have them in one book. It is only fair to mention that some of the women mentioned in this book may not be admired by all sections of the population. Nevertheless, many of the women who did fight for women's rights in the beginning were far from popular with all of their contemporaries. Yet, now those rights appear to modern girls to be unassailable.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the April, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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