BEYOND FEMALE PROTAGONISTS--FEMALE VOICES IN PICTURE BOOKS

KAY E. VANDERGRIFT

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Contemporary picture books provide opportunities for young people to encounter strong female voices in a variety of times, places, roles, and literary styles. The following books go beyond just having female protagonists. They are not only gender-fair; they are multicultural, international, and represent a diversity of ages, classes, and personalities. Some assist us in the process of recovering women's history, others celebrate women's forms of expression, others tell of a girl's relationship with her mother or father, and still others offer a new perspective on the older woman in the lives of children.

PICTURE BOOKS WITH FEMALE VOICES

Belton, Sandra. From Miss Ida's Porch. Illus. Floyd Cooper. New York: Four Winds, 1993.

Blumberg, Rhoda. Bloomers! Illus. Mary Morgan. New York: Bradbury, 1993.

Boulton, Jane, selector. Only Opal: The Diary of a Young Girl. Illus. Barbara Cooney. New York: Philomel, 1994.

Brisson, Pat. Wanda's Roses. Illus. Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 1994.

Brown, Don. Alice Ramsey’s Grand Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Bunting, Eve. Dandelions. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako. Illus. by Ed Young. New York: Putnam, 1993.

Cooney, Barbara. Eleanor. New York: Viking, 1996.

Cooney, Barbara. Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story from Brooklyn. New York: Viking, 1990.

Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. New York: Viking, 1982.

Corey, Shana. You Forgot your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer: A Very Improper Story. New York: Scholastic, 2000.

Dodds, Dale. Sing, Sophie. Illus. by Rosanne Litzsinger. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1999.

Dorros, Arthur. Abuela. Illus. by Elisa Kleven. New York: Dutton, 1991.

Gray, Libba Moore. My Mama Had A Dancing Heart. Illus. by Raul Colon. New York: Orchard, 1995.

Fleming, Candace. Gabriella’s Song.  Illus. by Giselle Potter. New York: Aladdin, 1997.

Friend, Catherine. My Head Is Full of Colors. Illus. Kiki. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Gerrard, Roy. Rosie and the Rustlers. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991.

Grimes, Nikki. Meet Danitra Brown. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Mulberry, 1997.

Hamanaka, Sheila. I Look Like a Girl. New York: Morrow, 1999.

Henkes, Kevin. Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse. New York: Greenwillow, 1996.

Henkes, Kevin. Sheila Rae, The Brave. New York: Mulberry, 1996.

Hest, Amy. When Jessie Came Across the Sea. Illus. by P.J. Lynch. Cambridge, Ma: Candlewick: 1997.

Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace. Illus. by Caroline Binch. New York: Dial, 1991.

Hoffman, Mary. Boundless Grace. Illus. by Caroline Binch. New York: Dial, 1995.

Hoffman, Mary. Clever Katya: A Fairy Tale from Russia. Illus, by Marie Cameron. New York: Barefoot, 1998.

Hopkinson, Deborah. A Band of Angels. Illus. by Raul Colon. New York: Atheneum, 1999.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Maria’s Comet. Illus. by Deborah Lanino. New York: Atheneum, 1999.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Illus. James Ransome. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1993.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Under the Quilt of Night. Illus. by James Ransome. New York: Atheneum, 2001.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Chita's Christmas Tree. Illus. Floyd Cooper. New York: Bradbury Press, 1989.

Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. Illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Dutton, 1994.

Johnson, Dolores. Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family. New York: Macmillan, 1993.

Johnson, Dolores. Papa's Stories. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Kessler, Cristina. My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd. Illus. by Walter Lyon Krudop. New York: Orchard, 2000.

Krishnaswami, Uma. Shower of Gold: Girls and Women in the Stories of India. Illus. by Maniam Selven. North Haven, CT: Linet, 1999.

Krull, Kathleen. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman. Illus. by David Diaz. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Lasky, Kathryn. First Painter. Illus. by Rocco Baviera. New York: DK Ink, 2000.

Lasky, Kathryn. Sea Swan. Illus. Catherine Stock. New York: Macmillan, 1988.

Lasky, Kathryn. She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head! Illus. by David Catrow. New York: Hyperion, 1995.

Lasky, Kathryn. Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker.  Illus by Nneka Bennett. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2000.

LeGuin, Ursula K. A Ride on the Red Mare's Back. Illus. Julie Downing. New York: Orchard, 1992.

Lindenbaum, Pija. Bridget and the Gray Wolves. Stockholm: R&S Books, 2001.

Lipp, Frederick. The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh. Illus. by Ronald Himler. New York: Holiday House, 2001.

Lowell, Susan. Little Red Cowboy Hat. Illus. by Randy Cecil. New York: Holt, 1997.

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Ballot Box Battle. New York: Dragonfly, 1998.

McCully, Emily Arnold. Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu. New York: Levine, 1998.

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Bobbin Girl. New York: Dial, 1996.

McCully, Emily Arnold. Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls. New York: Putnam, 2000.

McCully, Emily Arnold. Mirette on the High Wire. New York: Putnam, 1992.

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Orphan Singer. New York: Levine, 2001.

McCully, Emily Arnold. Starring Mirette and Bellini. New York: Putnam, 1997.

McGill, Alice. Molly Bannaky. Illus. by Chris K. Soentpiet. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

McKissack, Patricia C. Flossie and the Fox. Illus. by Rachel Isadora. New York: Atheneum, 1986.

McKissack, Patricia C. Going Someplace Special. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. New York: Atheneum, 2001.

McKissack, Patricia C. The Honest-to-Goodness Truth. Illus. by Giselle Potter. New York: Atheneum, 2000.

McKissack, Patricia C. Mirandy and Brother Wind. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1988.

McKissack, Patricia C. Nettie Jo's Friends. Illus. Scott Cook. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1989.

McLerran, Alice. Roxaboxen. Illus. Barbara Cooney. New York: Lothrop, 1991.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Grandmother Bryant's Pocket. Illus. by Petra Mathers. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Mathers, Petra. Kisses from Rosa. New York: Apple Soup Books/Knopf, 1995.

Martin, C. L. G. Three Brave Women. Illus. Peter Elwell. New York: Macmillan, 1991.

Martin, Rafe. The Rough-Face Girl. Illus. by David Shannon. New York: Putnman, 1998.

Meddaugh, Susan. Martha Walks the Dog. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Medearis, Angela Shelf. Our People. Illus. Michael Bryant. New York: Atheneum, 1994.

Merriam, Eve. The Wise Woman and Her Secret. Illus. Linda Graves. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

Merrill, Jean. The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Philomel, 1992.

Moss, Thylias. I Want To Be. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1993.

Nivola, Claire A. Elisabeth. New York: Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1997.

Oppel, Kenneth. Peg and the Whale. Illus. by Terry Widener. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Paterson, Katherine. The King's Equal. Illus. Vladimir Vagin. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Polacco, Patricia. Babushka Baba Yaga. New York: New York: Philomel, 1993.

Polacco, Patricia. Boat Ride with Lillian Two Blossom. New York: Philomel, 1988.

Polacco, Patricia. The Butterfly. New York: Philomel, 2000.

Polacco, Patricia.. The Keeping Quilt. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Polacco, Patricia. Thunder Cake. New York: Philomel, 1990.

Pulver, Robin. Axle Annie. Illus. by Ted Arnold. New York: Dial, 1999.

Ringgold, Faith. Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. New York: Crown, 1992.

Ringgold, Faith. Dinner at Aunt Connie's House. New York: Hyperion, 1993.

Ringgold, Faith. The Invisible Princess. New York: Crown, 1999.

Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. New York: New York: Crown, 1991.

Rodriguez, Luis J. America Is her Name. Ilus. By Carlos Vasquez. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone, 1996.

Rosenberg, Liz. Grandmother and the Runaway Shadow. Illus. by Beth Peck. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride. Illus. by Brian Selznick. New York: Scholastic, 1999.

Rylant, Cynthia. When I Was Young in the Mountains. Illus. Diane Goode. New York: Dutton, 1982.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Riding Freedom. Illus. by Brian Selznick. New York: Scholastic, 1998.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Bird House. Illus by Barry Moser. New York: Blue Sky, 1998.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Old Woman Who Named Things. Illus. by Kathryn Brown. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg. But God Remembered: Stories of Women from Creation to the Promised Land. Illus. by Bethanne Anderson. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 1995.

Schaefer, Carole Lea. The Squiggle. Illus by Pierr Morgan. New York: Crown, 1996.

Schertle, Alice. Down the Road. Illus. E.B. Lewis. San Diego. CA: Browndeer Press/Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Slipian, Jan. Emily Just in Time. Illus. by Glo Coalson.  New York: Philomel, 1998.

Stanley, Diane. Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter. New York: Morrow, 1997

Stewart, Sarah.  The Gardener. Illus. by David Small. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997.

Stops, Sue. Dulcie Dando, Soccer Star. Illus. Debi Gliori. New York: Holt, 1992.

Thomas, Jane Resh. Lights on the River. Illus. Michael Dooling. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Thomas, Joyce Carol. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. Illus. Floyd Cooper. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Thomas, Joyce Carol. Cherish Me. Illus. by Nneka Bennett. New York: HarperFestival, 1998.

Thomas. Joyce Carol. I Have Heard of a Land. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Trottier, Maxine. Prairie Willow. Illus.by Laura Fernandez & Rick Jacobson. New York; Stoddart, 1998.

Turner, Ann. Sewing Quilts. Illus. Thomas B. Allen. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Uchida, Yoshiko. The Bracelet. Illus. Joanna Yardley. New York: Philomel, 1993.

Uchida, Yoshiko. The Wise Old Woman. Illus. Martin Springett. New York: Margaret McElderry, 1994.

Wells, Rosemary. Noisy Nora. New York: Viking, 2000.

Wells, Rosemary. Streets of Gold. New York: Dial, 1999.

Wild, Margaret. Our Granny. Illus. by Julie Vivas. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Williams, Sherley Anne. Working Cotton. Illus. Carole Byard. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.

Williams, Suzanne. Library Lil. Ills. By Steven Kellogg. New York: Puffin, 1997.

Williams, Vera B. A Chair for My Mother. New York: Greenwillow, 1982.

Williams, Vera B. Something Special for Me. New York: Greenwillow, 1983.

Woodson, Jacqueline. The Other Side. Illus. by E. B. White. New York: Putnam, 2001.

Yolen, Jane. The Ballad of the Pirate Queens. Illus. by David Shannon. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1998.

Yolen, Jane. Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Yolen, Jane. Letting Swift River Go. Illus. Barbara Cooney. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 1992.

BACKGROUND READINGS ON FEMALE VOICES

American Association of University Women. “Beyond the “Gender Wars”: A Conversation about Girls, Boys, and Education. Washington, DC: AAUW Education Foundation, 2001.

American Association of University Women. Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail our Children. AAUW Education Foundation, 1998.

American Association of University Women. Girls in the Middle: Working to Succeed in School. AAUW Education Foundation, 1996.

American Association of University Women. Growing Smart: What’s Working for Girls in School. AAUW Education Foundation, 1995.

American Association of University Women and Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. How Schools Shortchange Girls. Washington, DC: AAUW Education Foundation, 1992.

American Association of University Women. Separated by Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls. AAUW Education Foundation, 1998.

American Association of University Women. “Si, Se Puedo! Yes, We Can: Latinas in School. Washington, DC: AAUW Education Foundation, 2000.

American Association of University Women. Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age. AAUW Education Foundation, 2000.

Arnot, Madeleine. Reproducing Gender?: Selected Critical Essays on Educational Theory and Feminist Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Arrighi, Barbara. Understanding Inequality: The Intersection of Race/Ethnicity, Class, and Gender. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Bauermeister, Erica and Holly Smith. Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. New York: Penguin, 1997.

Belenky, Mary Field and Others. Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and the Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1986.

Cantu, Norma Elia. Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Castelli, Elizabeth A. and Rosamond C. Rodman, Eds. Women, Gender, Religion: A Reader. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2001.

Clark, Beverly Lyon. Regendering the School Story: Sassy Sissies and Tattling Tomboys. New York: Garland, 1996.

Curators of University of Missouri Staff. Gender, Equity and Schooling: Policy and Practice. New York: Garland, 1997.

Clegg, Sue. “Theorising the Machine: Gender, Education, and Computing.” Gender & Education Vol.13 No. 3 (Sept. 2001): 307-325.

Fisher, Berenice Malka. No Angel in the Classroom: Teaching Through Feminist Discourse .Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Freedman, Estelle. No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women. New York: Ballantine, 2002.

Gallas, Karen. “Sometimes I Can Be Anything”: Power, Gender, and Identity in a Primary Classroom. New York: Teacher’s College Press, 1998.

Gardiner, Judith Kegan. Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

The Girl Child: An Investment in the Future. A Project of the UNICEF Ontario Education for Development Committee. Ontario, CA: UNICEF/Ontario, 1994.

Goldberger, Nancy and others., eds. Knowledge, Difference, and Power: Essays Inspired by Women's Ways of Knowing. New York: Harper, 1996.

Gurian, Michael. Girls and Boys Learn Differently: A Guide for Teachers and Parents. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

Hancock, Emily. The Girl Within. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1989.

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Writing A Woman's Life. New York: Random House, 1988.

Hoffman, Nancy. Keeping Gender on the Chalkboard: Notes for a New Century of Middle and High School Teachers, Vol. 28. New York: Feminist Press, 2000.

Jamison, Linda, and Molly Dietz. Leadership--Is Gender an Issue?: Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1997.

Kimmel, Michael S. The Gendered Society. New York: Oxford, 2000.

Kimmel, Michael S. The Gendered Society Reader. New York: Oxford, 2000.

Leblanc, Lauraine. Pretty in Punk: Girls’ Gender Resistance in a Boys’ Subculture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

Lehr, Susan, Ed. Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Construction of Gender in Children’s Literature. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001.

Lesko, Nancy, Ed. Masculinities at School. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000.

Lichtenberg, Greg. Playing Catch with my Mother: Coming to Manhood When All the Rules Have Changed. New York: Bantam, 2000.

McKnown, Clark and Rona S. Weinstein. “Modeling the Role of Child Ethnicity and Gender in Children’s Differential Response to Teacher Expectations.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Vol. 32 No. 1 (Jan. 2002): 159-185.

Maher, France A. and Mary Kay Thompson Tetreault. The Feminist Classroom: Dynamics of Gender, Race, and Privilege. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Mann, Judy. The Difference: Growing Up Female in America. New York: Time Warner, 1994.

Martino, Wayne John. Gendered Fiction. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2000.

Maschke, Karen. Educational Equity. New York: Garland, 1997.

Mayberry, Maralee, Lisa Weasel, and Banu Subramaniam, Eds. Feminist Science Studies: A New Generation. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Mills, Sara, ed. Gendering the Reader. New York: Harvester/Wheatsheaf, 1994.

Moraga Cherrie and Gloria Anzaldua, eds. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. 2nd. ed. Latham, NY: Kitchen Table, Women of Color Press, 1983.

Morton, Patricia. Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault on Afro-American Women. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1991.

Odean, Kathleen. Great Books for Girls. New York: Ballantine, 1997.

O’Farrell, Mary Ann and Lynne Vallone, Eds. Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and Embodiment. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1999.

Orenstein, Peggy. School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

Pemberton, Cynthia Lee A. More than a Game: One Woman’s Fight for Gender Equity in Sport. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 2002.

Perry, Theresa and James W. Fraser, eds. Freedom's Plow: Teaching in the Multicultural Classroom. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Polkey, Pauline, Ed. Women’s Lives into Print: The Theory, Practice, and Writing of Feminist Autobiography. New York: St. Martin, 1999.

Polster, Miriam F. Eve's Daughters: The Forbidden Heroism of Women. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1992.

Rensenbrink, Carla Washburne. All in our Places: Feminist Challenges in Elementary School Classrooms. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Riordan, Cornelius. “The Silent Gender Gap. Education Week on the Web. November 17, 1999. Available: http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=12riordan.h19. Accessed: 2/17/02.

Rodrick, Linda and Dyanne M. Tracy. “Gender Cultures in a Science Classroom: Teaching that Frees Girls and Boys to Learn.” Equity and Excellence in Education Vol. 34 No. 2 (Sept 2001): 29-35.

Ruiz, Vicki and Ellen Carol DuBois, eds. Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History. 2nd edition. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Sadker, Myra and David Sadker. Failing at Fairness: How America's Schools Cheat Girls. New York: Charles Scribner's, 1994.

Secada, Walter G. Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Gender Equity. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000.

Smith, Barbara. The Truth that Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

Stone, Lynda, ed. The Education Feminism Reader. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Stepulevage, Linda. “Gender/Technology Relations: Complicating the Gender Binary.” Gender & Education Vol. 13 No. 3 (Sept 2001): 324-339.

Sweetman, Caroline. Men’s Involvement in Gender and Development. Oxford, UK: Oxfam, 2001.

Thorne, Barrie. Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993.

Thornham, Sue. Feminist Theory and Cultural Studies: Stories of Unsettled Relations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "A Feminist Perspective on Multicultural Children's Literature in the Middle Years of the Twentieth Century," Library Trends. Vol. 41 (Winter 1993): 354-377.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "A Feminist Research Agenda in Youth Literature," Wilson Library Bulletin. Vol. 68 (October, 1993): 23-27.

Vandergrift, Kay E.. "And Bid Her Sing: A White Feminist Reads African-American Female Poets," in African-American Voices in Young Adult Literature: Tradition, Transition, Transformation. Karen P. Smith, ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994, pp.31-77.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "Peacocks, Dreams, Quilts, and Honey: Patricia Polacco, A Woman's Voice of Remembrance," in Ways of Knowing: Literature and the Intellectual Life of Children. ed. by Kay E. Vandergrift. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996, pp. 259-288.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "Journey or Destination: Female Voices in Youth Literature," in Mosaics of Meaning: Enhancing the Intellectual Life of Young Adults Through Story. ed. by Kay E. Vandergrift. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996, pp. 17-45.

Weiler, Kathleen. Feminist Engagements: Reading, Resisting, and Revisioning Male Theorists in Education and Cultural Studies. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Weis, Lois and Michelle Fine, eds. Beyond Silenced Voices: Class, Race, and Gender in United States Schools. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993.

Zinsser, Judith. History and Feminism: A Glass Half Full. New York: Twayne, 1993.

 
Created September 20, 1995 and is continuously revised
SCILS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey