The Pink Hat (Andrew Joyner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner, a look at the many lives of a very special accessory.

An older woman takes some bright pink yarn and knits a hat. It’s warm, cozy, and the woman uses it for several things. But as she is napping one day, her cat nabs the hat, wresting and pouncing with it until – oops! – it falls out a window into a tree. Three young children spot it and attempt to get it down, leading to further adventures in the hat’s life. It becomes a snuggly wrap for a baby and a toy for a dog before being retrieved by the dog’s owner, a little girl. With the girl, the hat is cleaned, dried, and well-loved, worn and used as a bag, a baseball mitt, a pillow, even a swim cap. Then one very special day, the little girl dons her beloved hat to join a march – one that stands for the rights of girls and women everywhere – with millions of pink hats just like hers.

Very cute. Following the pink hat through its adventures, especially when it becomes property of the little girl, is a charming journey with text that has a lovely repeating rhythm and is fun to read aloud. I was expecting for there to be a bit more on the feminist themes of the Women’s March itself, but it wasn’t that kind of story, though not to its detriment – the story serves as more of a window into a moment of history (I should mention there is no reference to the hat’s more colorful nickname, nor the inspiration for that name, as one would expect in a picture book). The black and white illustrations with pops of pink are lovely, beautifully detailed and very diverse. This is a sweet storybook that can introduce young readers to an important moment in history, and we really liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Franny’s Father Is A Feminist (Rhonda Leet)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Franny’s Father Is A Feminist, written by Rhonda Leet and illustrated by Megan Walker, a lovely look at the definition of feminism.

Franny’s father is a feminist. What does that mean? Well, Franny’s father believes that his daughter (and everyone else’s daughters too) can do anything boys can do, and that they deserve to have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities. Franny’s father supports his daughter’s interests no matter what they are – ballet, mechanical engineering, even just stomping in mud puddles – because he believes that there’s no such thing as “boy hobbies” or “girl hobbies”. He takes care of Franny before and after school because her mother works long hours at a very important job – though both her parents agree that raising Franny is the most important job of all. He’s not afraid to let Franny know that boys and men are allowed to cry, and he tries to inspire Franny with stories of female role models like Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai. Franny’s father is a feminist, because he believes that boys and girls deserve a world in which they are treated equally.

Loved. This. Seeing as the definition of “feminism” is something that even some adults have trouble with, this story is perfect for introducing the concept to little ones, as well as the fact that feminists are often men. The story remains light, but still touches on many topics relating to feminism in a way that is easily understood and encourages further conversation. The cartoonish illustrations are bright, colorful, and eye-catching, and filled with wonderful details. The length was great, and JJ and I loved it. My only wish would be that more boy-related gender stereotypes had been tackled as well, showing that male equality is as much a part of the feminist mindset as female equality is – in the sequel, perhaps? Otherwise a fabulously feminist family tale, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World (Susan Hood)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World, written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 female artists, a collection of poetry that celebrates fourteen trailblazing women.

Each poem introduces us to the life and work of a remarkable young woman: Molly Williams, the first known female firefighter in the US; Maya Lin, the architect who, at only 21 years old, designed the Vietnam War Memorial amid great controversy; Pura Belpré, the NY public librarian who broke the race barrier for children in libraries; and many more. Familiar heroes like Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, and Nellie Bly share the spotlight with lesser-known heroines like Angela Zhang, Annette Kellerman, and the Nearne sisters, and leave readers with an inspiring truth: courage and brilliance know no race, age, or gender.

FAN. TASTIC. The poems are brief, use clear language for little readers, but do a phenomenal job of encapsulating each woman’s obstacles, her accomplishments, and her spirit (the Ruby Bridges entry caused me to openly weep). The art is a treasure trove, with each artist bringing their own style to their individual subject, their passion for which explodes from the page. And while these collections often neglect feminist icons of color, this one does not, including role models of Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latina, and African-American descent. It might be a little long to cover in one sitting with smaller bookworms, but could easily be put down and continued another time. And needless to say, JJ and I loved it. This is a powerful book that would be welcome on any little one’s bookshelf. Baby Bookworm approved!

Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb And The Boston Marathon (Annette Bay Pimentel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb And The Boston Marathon, written by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Micha Archer, the inspiring story of the first woman to compete in the famous race.

Bobbi loves to run. The second her school bell rings, she’s off. Running is when she feels happy and free, and brings her joy like nothing else. Every year, the famous Boston Marathon passes by her town, and Bobbi watches the runners as they pass, itching to join. When she is old enough, she spends a year training for the Marathon, traveling across the country and running on all kinds of terrain. And when it comes time to sign up for the 1966 Boston Marathon, Bobbi sends in her application, and is cruelly rejected. Women are not “physiologically able” to run 26.2 miles, her rejection letter states, “and it’s against the rules besides.” Bobbi is crushed, but she makes a decision: she will race, whether they will have her or not. When the day comes, she sneaks into the race as it starts, and soon learns that to change the rules, sometimes you have to break them.

An amazing story, beautifully told. Bobbi’s story is certainly inspirational, and the text does a great job of laying out the plot in an exciting yet informative way. It draws the reader into Bobbi’s world, from her inability to find running shoes for women, her drive to finish the race for her female spectators, even a great scene where the male runners show her support and solidarity when they realize she is female (a great message for young male readers in a decidedly girl-power book). The art is also an immersion, using paint and collage to create spreads filled with depth and passion, so visceral that the reader can feel the wind in their hair. The length is fine for even smaller bookworms, and JJ loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

I Am Enough (Grace Byers)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the wonderfully empowering I Am Enough, written by Grace Byers and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, a girl-power celebration for all shapes, sizes, and skin tones.

“Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” the rhyming text begins, and each page that follows offers an affirmation of all the strength, talent, and promise that young girls have within them. While praising their inherent strengths and virtues, the text also encourages girls to show kindness, to be fighters, and to accept their fellow female for who she is, and embrace all the unique qualities that make her that way. And no matter what, to know that no matter what the world expects of her or tells her she must be, she needs only to remind herself of the truth: “I am enough.”

Oh, but we do love a great girl-power book, and this one is PHENOMENAL. The text does a great job of encouraging girls to embrace who they are, both physically and personally; to support other women; to not be afraid of their strength or their empathy. The illustrations then bring the message to another level; there are girls of every color, every build, every ability, girls with hijabs, girls in wheelchairs – an absolute rainbow of young women working together, showing each other as friends and supporters. The one thing often missing from female-empowerment kidlit is diversity, but not here, and there IS a girl that looks like your little bookworm in this book. The length was great, and JJ adored it. This is one that should be on every girl’s shelf, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!