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Books about Women in Politics for Elementary Age
Books about Women in Politics for Elementary Age
There are so many good choices for elementary age books about women in politics. There is still not have an equal ratio in government, but Pew Research Group reports that as of the beginning of the 118th Congress, female politicians officially made up 28% of the House of Representatives.
Electing women in government positions is important to national stability, per a report from the UN: “women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and political solutions is essential for effective peacekeeping.”
Check out these books about women in politics to inspire every child to break through barriers and follow their dreams, and be sure to pin this post to reference during Women’s History Month (March)!
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
There are many beautiful and inspiring children’s books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, late Supreme Court Justice, but I Dissent is my personal favorite. This book opens with a description of her early years, growing up among immigrants in New York City. As a Jewish girl in the 1940s, she experienced antisemitism firsthand, and it was her mother, Celia Bader, who encouraged Ruth to pursue her education and make a difference.
Once she married Marty Ginsburg, Ruth continued to break barriers by attending law school. She recognized that women lawyers – and many other careers – were often overlooked for opportunities, supported by decisions from the Supreme Court. After becoming well known for arguing cases before the Supreme Court, she was sworn in as a Justice herself in 1993.
While she was not the first woman on the Supreme Court (that honor belongs to Sandra Day O’Connor, nominated in 1981), she was the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
This book covers both the antisemitism and misogyny that she experienced, and also her tenacity to fight for equality for all.
Turning Pages: My Life Story
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. This book is authored by Justice Sotomayor herself, and her focus of this book is, well, her love of books.
As a child, she describes that she found books as her friends. As a daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, her first language was Spanish, so she learned how to read in both Spanish and English. She used books both for learning and as a way to cope with the big things in her life.
She took her love of reading books and found a career that would allow her to continue reading and learning – law. She worked mostly in intellectual property rights, and gained attention with her decision as District Court Judge for ending the 1995 strike in Major League Baseball. She was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama in 2009.
As the mother of a voracious reader myself, I loved reading this story to my kids to show them that you can truly make a career out of what you love in a way that helps others. Check out the full review here.
Mama in Congress: Rashida Tlaib’s Journey to Washington
Ever wondered what it’s like being in Congress? What about what it’s like for the kids of Congress people? Current sitting Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, representative from Michigan, wrote a book with her son Adam to answer those questions!
The daughter of Palestinian immigrants and the oldest of 14 children, Rashida’s childhood was one defined by hard work and learning how to stand up for herself. Getting elected to Congress meant working hard for what she believes in, and never giving up when people doubted her.
Adam describes what he has learned about the election process from his mom’s political campaign, and his obvious pride in his trailblazing Mama in Congress.
I loved how this book was co-authored by both Congresswoman Tlaib and her son Adam. As a mom of two boys myself, I hope that I can set a good example for them of passionate work and standing up for others. I love that this book shows how a mother can set a positive example for her children while making a difference in her community.
Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress
Shirley Chisolm was born in New York and spent her childhood with her grandmother in Barbados. Unlike many of the other women in politics, Shirley Chisolm’s career did not start off in law school.
Instead, she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education, eventually becoming the director of day care centers. It was during this time that she became involved in local politics. It was the time of the Civil Rights Movement, and Shirley Chisolm dared to break barriers. In 1968, she became the first Black woman ever to be elected to Congress.
Once in Congress, she remembered her start in day care centers and the needs of those in her care. She advocated for these constituents by helping to create the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
In 1972, she dared to break barriers again, becoming the first Black woman to seek any majority’s party nomination for President. She lost the nomination to Nixon (which means that she and Barbara C. Jordan served in Congress at the same time), and retired from Congress in 1977.
This book is a great one to use as an example of having challenges stacked against you and following your dreams anyway. Shirley Chisolm Dared, and so can your reader.
A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights
Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg, before Shirley Chisolm, before Sonia Sotomayor, there was Belva Lockwood. You might not have heard of Belva Lockwood, the first woman ever to run for President of the United States. But she was much more than the answer to that trivia question.
Belva Lockwood started challenging gender inequality as a teenager, when her paycheck for teaching school was significantly less than male teachers. She challenged her father’s belief that college was only for men, and earned her degree.
She partnered with suffragette Susan B. Anthony to advocate for equal education opportunities, including public speaking classes and physical education.
To create more opportunities to make a difference, she became one of the first women in the United States to graduate from law school. The book tells how her school denied her a diploma, and she only received it after she appealed to President Grant for assistance. He signed her diploma himself.
Lockwood used her degree to advocate for the needy, and argued her cases in front of the Supreme Court, becoming the first woman to do so.
In 1882, she broke through even more barriers when she became the first woman to run for President, nominated by the National Equal Rights Party. That election went to Grover Cleveland, but Lockwood kept working. In 1906, she went to the Supreme Court to advocate for the Cherokee survivors of the Trail of Tears. She won the case, and it was settled for $5 million (worth over $17 billion today, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator).