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Relenting Females Lead By Example

Lee Littlewood on

Tales of strong women and girls should be required reading for children. These new books introduce innovative women of medicine, an activist pro-immigrant lady named Jane, a young teen who travels to Cuba in 1961 to teach reading, and soccer star Abby Wambach.

"My Brigadista Year" by Katherine Paterson; Candlewick Press; 208 pages; $15.99.

From Newbery Medal-winner Katherine Paterson is anticipated coming-of-age tale of a Cuban girl who volunteers for Fidel Castro's literacy campaign in 1961. Lora's parents are not happy she's going to work in a remote shack with no electricity, but she's determined to break out of the pre-Revolution idea that women and girls were meant to be protected and stay home. Many young teens volunteered for Castro's real program, and became strong kids who learned more than what they did in a classroom.

Motivational and clearly written with purpose and historical interest, Paterson's tale about the need for societal change and the positive impacts volunteering has for young people is important and intriguing. The future is, after all, in the hands of our children and "My Brigadista Year" will remind them they can be powerful agents for change.

"Bold Women of Medicine" by Susan M. Latta; Chicago Review Press; 256 pages; $19.99.

Professionally in history, women first made their indelible marks in the health field. From nurses who ripped up their nightgowns to treat soldiers in the 19th century to a woman delivering babies on horseback in the Appalachian Mountains, Susan M. Latta's subjects were medical heroines in this male-dominated field. This courageous, photograph-filled book includes sidebars, source notes and a bibliography, and is penned with exciting, pertinent language. Twenty-one daring, intelligent women are chronicled in this invaluable addition to any student's or aspiring doctor or nurse's bookshelf.

"Dangerous Jane" by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Alice Ratteree; Peachtree Publishing; 32 pages; $17.95.

Jane Addams, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, felt compassion and the need to help others even as a small child. As she grew older and traveled the world, Jane was affected by seeing starving people and hungry immigrants and eventually, those hurt by World War I. Jane was devoted to help those without a voice, and received hate mail when she helped people from other countries. But Jane persevered with her welcoming home for the homeless, called Hull House, and then led women's peace marches during the war.

During Jane's 74 years, she helped many, many people, while battling health issues of her own. Written clearly and with inspiration by Suzanne Slade, Jane's picture book story should encourage young girls today to also stand up for what they believe in. The world needs more Janes!

"Forward: My Story" by Abby Wambach; HarperCollins; 209 pages; $6.99.

A tween adaption of the adult version called "Forward," soccer star Abby Wambach's memoir proves she isn't only an Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion but also an equal opportunity fighter. A fearless female role model for young fans, Wambach writes with inspiration and passion and about the importance of always keeping the ball rolling forward.

Fans and readers ages eight to 12 will find "Forward: My Story" a rousing, worthy call to action memoir from an athlete worthy of praise.


To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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