It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and Sheila at BookJourney
This Spring, Bloomsbury is releasing Women Who Broke the Rules, a brand new young biography series celebrating women who made history by defying the old adage that “well behaved women seldom make history”. Two of such “misbehaving women” are Judy Blume and Sacajawea.
No matter how many new titles I add to our classroom library, our selection of Judy Blume books remain popular – they are checked out and passed around with enthusiasm year after year. Judy Blume: Are You There, Reader? It’s Me, Judy! is the story of how Judy Blume bucked the trend of writing safe stories with happy endings. I know my students will be interested in the way Judy’s writing career intersected with and reflected many of the changes taking place in American society, from the women’s liberation movement to a willingness to be open about discussing topics that affected children, such as divorce.
Krull writes about Blume’s conviction that kids wanted to read honest stories about real life, and how she persevered at it, in spite of the fact that no one supported her early efforts. Success came eventually, and with it, controversy. Blume became a voice against the movement to ban “certain types of books” from school libraries (she was the most banned author from 1982 to 1996!), even as she continued to push boundaries and write. I loved the fact that Krull shared so much about Blume’s writing process: she works at it, writes every day, and powers through writing blocks with movement – hiking, and kayaking her way back to the writing mode. Judy Blume is as much fun to read about as she is to read.
Sacajawea: Lewis and Clark Would Be Lost Without Me, is a fresh look at the only woman in the Corps of Discovery, and the one person in the Expedition who routinely arouses the greatest curiosity in my students. So little is known about her, and she literally vanishes from history after the return voyage. But Krull expands Sacajawea’s story to include the ways of the Hidatsa women, and the many instances in which her actions saved the lives of the men and turned the tide for the Expedition. It’s a beautiful story, and well told.
Each of these titles includes a list of books and websites for further reading, a wonderful resource. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the titles in the series, which includes Sonia Sotomayor, Coretta Scott King, and Dolley Madison. Kathleen Krull must have had such fun writing about these women who “misbehaved” and made history!