The Amelia Bloomer Project was started in 2002 to serve two purposes: 1) to alert young readers to society’s opposition toward women’s equality and 2) to highlight the progress that has been made toward this goal. Books are chosen for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers. Subjects include women’s history, female trail-blazers and the identification of problems that women (and girls) face today, along with possible solutions. For 2010 the Project members selected 54 books for children from pre-school/beginning readers through young adult (Grades 7-12).
Children today are certainly more sophisticated than they were when I was a child. For example, one of the books on the list, which is recommended for grades 2-4, is Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter. This is about a secret school in war-torn Afghanistan where girls seek to gain an education that is forbidden to them by the Taliban government.
Another title, this one recommended for grades 9-12, is Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas. This novel is about a family terrorized into silence by their father’s sexual and emotional abuses and one daughter’s struggle to find the courage to reveal her family’s secrets.