Digging Out Women’s History

women-votes1March is here already. What to do for women’s history month. First of all, the president has not yet made the declaration, but when he does, it will be posted here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing_room/PresidentialActions/.

My students this semester are pretty much at a very basic level of English–I just read them Dr. Seuss’s Foot Book (“Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet.”), so anything I use will either have to be very basic or in their own language. And how many of my students have finished the sixth grade in their own countries?  Some, but others are on a fourth grade level in their own language, so they might not do well with that either.  So what they need is either something very simple or with a Hispanic focus, preferably both.  And for me, something more challenging.

The Library of Congress does have some pages devoted to Women’s History Month, including historical photographs, but if you want to use them you’re stuck trying to puzzle out the copyright explanation page which says you have to research each photograph.

And what if you want to link to LOC?

If you wish to link to our site, you may do so even without permission as long as your link makes it clear that there is a transition to another site, and that you do not present the link in a way that implies that the Library of Congress or the National Digital Library Program is endorsing a particular product, service, or organization. However, the Library of Congress does like to hear how its site is being used, so please send an email message to the National Digital Library Program mailbox as a courtesy.

Forget that. If anyone really, really wants to see it they can google “women’s history month” and http://www.loc.gov/topics/womenshistory will come up on the first page.

women-guardians-largeThe National Women’s History Project has an interesting “test your knowledge of women’s history” quiz with the answers at the bottom.  We once had a similar quiz at work during African American History Month with prizes given to those who could guess the most historical people.

You might also check your local public library, your local city or municipality (nothing publicized yet  in Chicago), or your local universities (hmm, some of these look interesting), especially those with women’s studies programs.  Chicago Public Schools has an excellent page with book recommendations for children by grade level and a list of external websites for Women’s History Month. You could also check out some blogs about women’s history like this one in Australia (with an extensive blogroll). Or this intriguing Chicago history site written by a woman–check the sidebar for women social reformers like Florence Kelley and Jane Addams.

And what do real people recommend reading?

women-en-mi-familia►check out books by Carmen Lomas Garza. “En Mi Familia” is one but there’s another one too… (from LJSNAustin)

►If you want strong women in old children’s books at a read yourself level, maybe 4th grade, there’s a rare one, THE WICKED ENCHANTMENT by iirc Margot Benary-Isbert about a good witch in Germany in mid-century, totally delightful! (from TDO)

►Strega Nona but she’s Italian. http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GGLS_en-USUS299US303&aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Strega+Nona (from TDO)

►Ooh, here’s a great female heroine for children around 10 though some mid-century sophistacation required. Now what was her name? A British mouse … sort of like Hillary … ah, Margery Sharp’s “Miss Bianca”. Sort of like Miss Manners. (fromTDO)

Victor Villasenor has written several AMAZING books – The best is called Rain of Gold (it’s big) but many of the ‘tales’ from the larger book can be found in “Walking Stars” as well .  He tells the story of his families roots from deep in the mountains of Mexico and the personalities, strength and character of the women (his great grandmothers) and their unbelievable struggles and triumphs has made Rain of Gold one of my all time FAVORITE books .

I will warn you , though , he does not sugar coat the experiences of these women during Pancho Villa’s revolution . He IS , however a master Storyteller, and I would recommend ANY of his books .

I am reading “Burro Genius” with a co-worker (young latina mother ) while we are working on her GED . (from Texas Tigress)

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Guardians poster above by Ann Altman, Poem by Diane Ackerman.“…I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace….”
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3 Responses to “Digging Out Women’s History”

  1. fsteele Says:

    Fairy tales online with strong heroines:
    http://www.rosemarylake.com

  2. John Cowan Says:

    The law is that nobody, not even the LoC, can demand you not link to them. Embedding an image is another matter: you shouldn’t do that if there’s a copyright issue with the image.

    I am not a lawyer, this is neither legal advice nor the unauthorized practice of law.

    • Nijma Says:

      Thanks, JC. It’s somewhat common wisdom that all government images (like NASA) are in the public domain, but apparently the LOC images are from private collections.

      They have changed their notice now, a year and a half after I wrote the original post. Here’s their legal notice page, and here’s a direct link to the women’s history page.

      Asking everyone who links to you to send an email is silly. Why discourage link-love?


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