For those who think history is boring based on their own school experience with the subject, I always recommend living books. These kinds of books tell so much more than just dry facts and dates. They’re written by those who really experienced the events, or by those who feel passionately about them. They’re told as exciting stories to help us realize that history is fascinating and worth studying. We can learn so much from those who have gone before us.
Ten Girls from History is an example of a living book that draws the reader in and makes history come alive. It was written by Kate Dickinson Sweetser in 1917 and updated by Amy Puetz in 2011. There are 10 chapters with a total of 238 pages. It makes a perfect read aloud for the family or a resource for a study of women in history.
Women featured in this book include:
- Louisa May Alcott: Author of Little Women
- Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield
- Molly Pitcher: The Brave Gunner of the Battle of Monmouth
- Cofachiqui: An Indian Princess
- Madeleine De Vercheres: The Heroine of Castle Dangerous
- Dorothy Quincy: A Girl of the American Revolution
- Ida Lewis: The Heroine of Lime Rock Lighthouse
- Elizabeth Van Lew: The Girl who Risked all for the Union
- Virginia Reed: Midnight Heroine of the Plains
- Clara Morris: The Girl who Won Fame as an Actress
Each woman is an example of courage, faith, and inspiration. They are good role models for girls at a time when good role models are hard to find.
I like this quote from Kate Dickinson Sweetser in the introduction:
My first aim in bringing the lives of these ten girls from history to the attention of the girls of today has been to inspire them to like deeds of patriotism and courage. Second only to that purpose is a desire to make young Americans realize as they read these true stories of achievement along such widely varying lines of work, that history is more thrilling than fiction, and that if they will turn from these short sketches to the longer biographies from which the facts of these stories have been taken, they will find interesting and absorbing reading.
I want my daughters to enjoy learning about history. Even more than that, I want them to learn the character qualities and the motivation behind the women in history. These are the things that will make a difference in their own lives and serve a greater purpose in the long run.
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