Brave, smart girls in 3 great picture books

All of these books made me cry, a 43 year old woman! They are inspired by real events. Wow.

Sparrow Girl

The summary from fantasicfiction:

Ming-Li looked up and tried to imagine the sky silent, empty of birds. It was a terrible thought. Her country’s leader had called sparrows the enemy of the farmers–they were eating too much grain, he said. He announced a great “Sparrow War” to banish them from China, but Ming-Li did not want to chase the birds away. As the people of her village gathered with firecrackers and gongs to scatter the sparrows, Ming-Li held her ears and watched in dismay. The birds were falling from the trees, frightened to death! Ming-Li knew she had to do something–even if she couldn’t stop the noise. Quietly, she vowed to save as many sparrows as she could, one by one…

This story is based in truth: Sparrows were eating up grain so Mao’s solution was to make the Chinese people bang pots and walk the land for days. Exhausted sparrows fell dead from the sky. As a result of the sparrow massacre, crops were decimated by insects free of predators. The Chinese people went into years of famine and millions died. In this fictionalized version, Ming-Li saves her people by rescuing the sparrows and coming to a true understanding of what farming really is.

Reel Girl rates Sparrow Girl ***HHH***

Stone Girl Bone Girl

I first heard about the young fossil hunter, Mary Anning, in an Ivy and Bean book. I was thrilled to learn more about her in this beautifully illustrated story.  Anning begins her life surviving a lighting strike that killed her nanny. She is passionate about finding fossils and is teased for it by the kids at school who call her “stone girl, bone girl.” In 1811, when Anning was 12 years old, she discovered an Ichthyosaurus skeleton, one of the most important fossil finds is history. She goes on to survive her father’s early death, her work supported by two rich female benefactors. I love that this book also features those powerful, wealthy, ethical, smart women. How often do you see that combo in kidlit?

Reel Girl rates Stone Girl Bone Girl ***HHH***

The Story of Ruby Bridges

In 1960, four African-American girls were ordered to integrate two white elementary schools in New Orleans. Ruby Bridges was sent to William Frantz Elementary as the only African-American student. When children and parents taunted her and police did nothing to protect her, the national guard was sent in to escort her to and from school. At that point, the white kids stopped going to school. Ruby stayed on and learned her lessons. One day her teacher saw her stopped in front of the taunting crowd, moving her lips. Later, Ruby told her teacher that she was praying for those people. Eventually, the white kids came back to school. This story is amazing on many levels; it is remarkable to see how brave Ruby is and that she has such a great, strong spirit.

Reel Girl rates The Story of Ruby Bridges ***HHH***

10 thoughts on “Brave, smart girls in 3 great picture books

  1. Okay, I know this is an old post but I am just now catching up. THANK YOU for posting “Bone Girl, Stone Girl”. My 6 year old devours anything to do with dinosaurs and especially fossils. She is going to love this book. :)

  2. Not a ‘comic’ really and definitely not for children, but have you ever heard of Hothead Paisan?
    A Hell of a cathartic little bit of lit.
    Gotta search for her though, out of print…..

  3. Can you do a report on the Septimus Heap series, by Annie Sage? They are GREAT kids fantasy, completely appropriate and a fantastic read, with almost no gender stereotypes.

  4. Those look great, thanks. I love Laurence Anholt. And I read somewhere that “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” may be about Mary Anning.

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