Tomorrow will be the first day of Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, which is dedicated to Helen Keller and all individuals who share the disorder. Helen Keller is one of the exceptional women highlighted in the picture book She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Helen became blind as a toddler but rose above her condition and learned to read, write and speak. She also graduated from college and is known for the quote “One can never consent to creep, when one feels an impulse to soar.”
Other women highlighted is She Persisted are include Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin and Oprah Winfrey. Here are some of the history about these great women that readers learn from the book:
- Claudette Colvin was a black teenager and single mother who refused to give up her seat to a white woman. Her action helped others like Rosa Parks to fight for the civil rights of African-Americans.
- Clara Lemlich worked at a garment factory and fought for women’s rights so that women could work under better conditions.
- Virginia Apgar was an anesthesiologist and created a method to test the health of a newborn baby – a method hospitals still use today.
- Maria Tallchief was teased in school for being Native American, but that didn’t stop her from becoming the first American prima ballerina.
- Oprah Winfrey was expected to be a maid, like her grandomther, but she had other plans. She became a television and movie actress, publisher and media mogul
- Nellie Bly was a courageous reporter who wrote about abuses in sweat shops and mental hospitals, even though it put her in danger.
These and more great women are discussed in She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. The book is a great introduction of female leaders in the United States, and truly inspires the reader. It’s only shortcoming is that it does not provide a glossary of terms in the back of the book, which would have made the book even more educational. Still, it is a wonderful picture book that will open the the mind of any young child who reads it.