Shaking Things Up – PPBF and Women’s History Month

Spread the love

I have the perfect picture book to kick of March’s Women’s History Month. See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share some my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month. 

Title: Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World

Written by: Susan Hood

Illustrated by: 13 extraordinary women

Publisher: Harper, 2018

Ages: 7-11

Genre: biographies, poetry

Themes: young women, world-changers, perseverance

Example Opening:

BROKEN- Frida Kahlo, Artist

Broken from polio at age six,
From a withered foot,
Childhood bullies shouting, Frida pata de palo—
Frida peg leg.

Broken again from a bus accident when she was eighteen—
Spine, collarbone,
Pelvis, ribs
Leg, and foot, smashed—
Confined to bed in a full-body cast.
With an easel on her lap and a mirror above her bed,
Frida painted self-portraits.


Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women—each paired with a noteworthy female artist—to the next generation of activists, trail-blazers, and rabble-rousers. this is a poetic and visual picture book that celebrates persistent women throughout history.

Among the powerful pairings: Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall takes on heroic World War II spies Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne; Selina Alko is matched with the brave Malala Yousafzai; New York Times bestselling illustrator Emily Winfield Martin is paired with the inventor of the controversial one-piece bathing suit, Annette Kellerman; and Shadra Strickland introduces America’s first known female firefighter, Molly Williams.

This picture book features the following artists: Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet.

Why I like this book:

Lyrical, masterful, inspirational poetry perfectly styled by Hood for the individual life she is portraying. She introduces us to one-page biographies of a diverse group of known and lesser-known young women of history. The editorial choice to use 13 illustrators instead of just one is inspired. Some of the powerful pairings include: Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall illustrating heroic World War II spies Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne; Selina Alko matched with the brave Malala Yousafzai; Emily Winfield Martin paired with the inventor of the controversial one-piece bathing suit, Annette Kellerman; and Shadra Strickland introducing America’s first known female firefighter, Molly Williams.

There were names in here I didn’t know- Frances Moore Lappé, Anti-Hunger Activist, and Mae Jemison, first female African American astronaut. And I was particularly thrilled to see Pura Belpré honored, a children’s author and the first Latina at the New York Public Library. Hood’s selection is smart and wonderful

How timely could a picture book be? Around the world, women face discrimination, have less representation in government and other fields, and struggle every day for their human rights. “Nevertheless she persisted” is one of the cries of this generation and this picture book will help inspire young women (and men) to persevere in the face of adversity. This book was written, illustrated, edited, and designed by women. Can I hear an “Amen”? The young women in these pages defied gender and age limitations just as we are seeing young teens across the US do today. it is an extraordinary celebration of female movers and shakers. Buy it. Read it to your boys and girls. Gift it to your kids’ classrooms and school libraries.

I also plan to try and interview those of these illustrators not already on my blog.


It includes a foreword by a prominent female activist, an author’s note, a timeline, and additional resources and websites. This is the perfect classroom text to launch Women’s History Month. I highly recommend it.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.


This entry was posted in Biography, Book recommendation, children's books, Children's literature, Perfect Picture Book Friday, resources & activities for elementary school teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Shaking Things Up – PPBF and Women’s History Month

  1. Such an inspiring book — perfect for Women’s History Month. I love the idea of different artists paired with this group of important women. I want to read this book. Like your challenge this month.

  2. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Great pick, Joanna! I only knew about Mae Jemison because my son wrote a report about her when he was in 4th grade. So it was interesting to visit the Kennedy Space Center and tour the Astronaut Hall of Fame in their Heroes and Legends exhibit and find no mention of Jemison there. They had included the first African American MALE astronaut, but not her. When I pointed this out to a docent, he said that he’d “look into it.” Not sure if she’s been added since then. The website says that the astronauts for the Hall of Fame are selected by special committee of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. So many women are overlooked….

  3. Great pick to get the month started!

  4. Oh Joanna, I can’t wait to get a hold of this book. Those opening lines are amazing. Thanks for introducing this one.

  5. Elaine Kaye says:

    I love that this book is illustrated by 13 amazing women, Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. I’m always on the lookout for books that highlight women, so I’m going to have to look for this book now! Thank you so much for the recommendation.

    I’m a new participant for #DiverseKidLit. 🙂

  6. Mia Wenjen says:

    This book sounds fantastic. I have seen the cover but I didn’t realize the format or that it highlighted notable women. I love the pairing up too of different illustrators. Thanks so much for sharing your review on the Diverse KidLit Blog Hop!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.