Thank You, Sarah
Read: Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, by Laurie Halse Anderson. An entertaining, exuberant account of Sarah Hale’s campaign for our national holiday.
Then try: Talk together about Sarah Hale’s personal qualities. (The author calls Hale “bold, brave, stubborn, and smart.”) How did Hale show these qualities throughout her life and how did they serve her cause? Share this quote from Anderson: “Some people think that children have no power because they can’t vote. Wrong. Children have a great deal of influence. They can write…” Encourage students to write letters to the newspaper, a government representative, or a community leader to lobby for something they consider important.
Vinnie and Abraham
Read: Vinnie and Abraham, by Dawn Fitzgerald. At age 16, Vinnie Ream’s seven-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln made her the first woman (and youngest person) to receive an art commission from the United States government.
Then try: Vinnie had determination. Despite the fact that Vinnie was only sixteen, she was not intimidated by President Lincoln. Discuss how she managed to keep trying until she found success. What steps did she take to earn the commission? Invite students to write about their own dreams, and brainstorm
10 steps they’ll need to take to reach their goals.
The Librarian of Basra
Read: The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, by Jeanette Winter, the account of a librarian who risked her life to save 30,000 books from destruction during the bombing of Basra in 2003.
Then try: Share the July 2003 New York Times article by Shaila K. Dewan that sparked this book. Compare and contrast the article and book. Then have kids write their own illustrated stories based on heroic news accounts.
Lives of Extraordinary Women
Read: Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought), by Kathleen Krull. These pithy profiles offer the scoop on famous women from Cleopatra to Joan of Arc.
Then try: Read profiles aloud each day and then compare and contrast these amazing ladies. Discuss the value in probing for little known or intriguing facts when writing reports. Invite students to interview women in the community and write a profile, with an eye toward providing information that will compel the audience.