Books, Current Events, Learning, Reviews

Amazing Women Pioneers Who Soared Through the Skies

January 5th is National Bird Day here in the US, and marks the end of the Annual Christmas Bird Count. While there are other days to celebrate birds, having one more day set aside to do so is always wonderful, right! To celebrate the occasion, I am featuring books about birds, yes, but more specifically about amazing women pioneers who soared through the skies; or rather early women ornithologists who deserve to be more well known than they are. And, in an interesting tangent, I also introduce a here before not-so-well-known aspect of another woman pioneer who is well known for soaring through the skies!!

All these books today show us that if we have the passion and the determination, we can achieve a lot, and can work towards making lives better all around us. Reading the stories of these amazing women pioneers has made me more curious to learn not just about them, but also to find out how many other unknown or not-so-well-known heroes were and are around us; and in addition, to try to do my bit with more enthusiasm, energy, and passion!

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Amazing Women Pioneers

She Heard the Birds

Title: She Heard the Birds: The Story of Florence Merriam Bailey
Author and Illustrator: Andrea D’Aquino
Length: 38 pages
Genre:  Children’s Women Biographies (5 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (October 12, 2021)
Source: Digital review copy from Netgalley

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reading copy.

Description

Meet Florence Merriam Bailey, a pioneering birder and activist who changed the way we study birds forever, as told through the evocative collage style of artist Andrea D’Aquino.

As a young girl, Florence Merriam Bailey fell in love with the outdoors, especially birds, whose songs and flight captivated her. She listened, waited, and watched to better understand her feathered friends, and wrote many books, including one of the first field guides to American birds. Her work ultimately led to better protection for birds and to the scientific study of birds in nature instead of in a lab. She Heard the Birds, the latest book from A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa author Andrea D’Aquino, brings to life the story of a woman ahead of her time. D’Aquino’s striking full-page collages make each page a delight to read.

My Thoughts

I love picture book biographies, even more so when they are about women ahead of their times, pioneers in their own ways; and I love reading about birds. And I love art, in all its forms. This book lends itself to make sure that I get all of these things I love, and so very well. The title is also very clever and along with the stunning artwork on the cover, definitely the reason this book caught my interest.

Andrea D’Aquino’s collage-style artwork is truly beautiful and lends itself to the narrative, also by D’Aquino, perfectly. This book introduced me to an inspiring woman who I had not heard of before this. I am always amazed at how much picture books can teach and inform within their pages, and of course inspire more learning in the process. She Heard the Birds informs, educates, and inspires readers to learn more about Bailey as well as birds themselves. And I am sure it will also further encourage curious readers to discover more similar inspirational figures (like I did, and ended up reading the other books featured today!) and learn about conservation.

Last but not the least, the backmatter adds more to the book.

Cool Fact

Florence Merriam Bailey’s book Birds Through an Opera-Glass (1890) is considered the first modern bird field guide!

In Summary

A great book for classrooms and home libraries everywhere to introduce readers to a STEAM pioneer who was well ahead of her time.

Get it Here

Amazon || Book Depository

She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!

Title: She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Illustrator: David Catrow 
Length: 40 pages
Genre:  Children’s Women Biographies (5 – 9 years, and up)
Publisher: Disney Pr (May 1, 1997)
Source: Library

Description

After watching women go from having bird feathers in their hats to wearing whole dead birds, the Massachusetts Audubon Society is founded in 1896 in order to take a stand against what they consider an incredibly appalling practice.

My Thoughts

This book is simply a must-read! A history book in the guise of a vibrantly and delightfully illustrated, brilliantly and powerfully narrated picture book that manages to be humorous and serious, educational and entertaining, funny and informative, all at the same time! Women’s suffrage, social activism, bird conservation, and more is weaved into this slightly-fictionalized account of real life cousins Harriet Hemenway and Minna B. Hall, who worked to end the bird-hat industry

Don’t forget to read the author’s note at the end of the book. Kathryn Lasky’s narrative hits the right notes on a serious topic while managing to make it a fun read while David Catrow’s illustrations provide the perfect complement to the narrative.

A wonderful lead-in to conversations about conservation and eco-friendly products that do not exploit people, animals, or nature itself.

Cool Fact

The cousins founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896, as part of their efforts to protect birds. This led to many more such societies across the country and eventually the National Audubon Society in 1901.(source: the book, and verified at audubon.org)

In Summary

A fun, entertaining, educational romp through little known annals of history! A must-read…

Get it Here

Amazon || Book Depository

Soaring in Style

Title: Soaring in Style : How Amelia Earhart Became a Fashion Icon
Author: Jennifer Lane Wilson
Illustrator: Lissy Marlin
Length: 32 pages
Genre:  Children’s Women Biographies (6 – 9 years, and up)
Publisher: ‎ Capstone Editions (January 1, 2022)
Source: Digital review copy from Netgalley

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reading copy.

Description

Long before Amelia Earhart became a superstar, she was a girl who longed to touch the stars. But the dresses women had to wear at the time made those dreams seem almost impossible. Amelia didn’t let that stop her. As a young aviator breaking records and expectations, she learned to fly her plane with flair. Later, she dared to create a trendsetting fashion line for active women like herself. Soaring in Style tells the groundbreaking story of how Amelia Earhart defied expectations in the air and on the ground to become America’s first celebrity fashion designer.

My Thoughts

Of course, I knew of Amelia Earhart! Who has not heard of her, right? But I simply had no idea that she was also a fashion designer in her own right!! This book takes readers on a delightful, elegant, soaring, and vibrant journey of Earhart’s life, highlighting her achievements not only in the skies, but also on solid ground as a successful fashion designer who sought to create clothing for women that allowed for freedom of movement while being feminine and chic!

Jennifer Lane Wilson skillfully includes specific anecdotes from Earhart’s life while still giving a complete picture, and I love that she places equal emphasis to everything Earhart was. Lissy Marlin’s artwork is as chic, colorful, and elegant as Earhart herself and perfectly complements Wilson’s narrative.

Cool Fact

Earhart was the first to recommend that clothes be sold as “separates”, so that women could buy a pant or skirt in one size or color, and a shirt in another, based on their preferences and requirements..

In Summary

Well, of course, read it and be inspired to more heights!!

Get it Here

Amazon || Book Depository

Note that the Kindle edition is available now while the print edition is coming later.

Pin For Amazing Women Pioneers

Related Reads

And Now, the End of this Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the featured books? If yes, then I welcome your thoughts on the book(s)! Do you have recommendations for other similar books about amazing women pioneers? I would love to hear about them. Have you ever attempted bird watching, flying (well, piloting, I mean), or fashion designing? What about being a part of a social activist group, or maybe you initiated something similar? Do let me know..

9 thoughts on “Amazing Women Pioneers Who Soared Through the Skies

  1. I did not know about national bird day, thank you for informing me. So many great pioneer women have paved the way for me.

  2. It’s always a great idea to highlight women pioneers. It’s not shared enough in media and it can truly motivate more people and especially younger girls to go after the goal.

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