Read up on brave women


March 25, 2001

Editor's Note: Today Jerdine Nolen resuscitates Maryland's female historical figures.

For children, reading about the lives of famous people can be a good bridge between historical fiction and informational books. Biographies can breathe life into historical facts and dates. March is Women's History Month, so it is an excellent time to read biographies about famous women. The Maryland State Department of Education's Women's History Project exists to make us all aware of the contributions of diverse women throughout our state's history, in the hope that it would inspire present-day dreams and future accomplishments. Each year this department produces a display kit of materials, which are made available to schools, organizations and libraries. Under the heading, "Some Women Who Dared" you can find:

Margaret Brent: attorney, landowner, businesswoman and colonial policy-maker who in 1648 went before the Maryland General Assembly demanding the right to vote.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: orator, author, abolitionist and one of the first African American writers to be published in the United States.

Sadie Kneller Miller: turn-of-the-century war correspondent, photojournalist and sports reporter.

Lille Carroll Jackson: civil rights leader.

Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Pauli Murray: pioneering African American lawyers.

Historical Fiction and Biographies of Famous Women:

* "And Not Afraid to Dare ..." by Tonya Bolden

* "Ballad of the Pirate Queens" by Jane Yolen

* "The Ballad of Lucy Whipple" by Karen Cushman

* "Black Women of the Old West" by William Loren Katz

* "Calling the Doves" by Juan Felipe Herrera

* "Dear America" Series Books

* "Eleanor" by Barbara Cooney

* "The Last Princess" by Fay Stanley

* "Letters from a Slave Girl" by Mary E. Lyons

* "Lyddie" by Katherine Paterson

* "The Story of Ruby Bridges" by Robert Coles

* "True Heart" by Marissa Moss

* "Color Me Dark" by Patricia McKissack

* "Wila Unlimited" by Kathleen Krull

* "Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree" by William Miller

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's book author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." Her most recent book is "Big Jabe." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education and has personally field tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

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