As you may be aware, March 8th is International Women’s Day. A couple of years ago, I shared about the books by women that I have on my shelves. (That list could use a bit of an update, to be honest, but there are still lots of great women writers there.) Today I thought I’d focus on some of the women authors whose books have more recently come into my home. Also known as, women who write kids books.
As you might imagine, Pearl is not a child who lacks in the book department. Here’s one of her little shelves in her room.
Some of the women on that shelf:
Janet Ahlberg – Ahlberg partners with her husband Alan to create such classics as Peek-a-Boo, Each Peach Pear Plum, and The Jolly Postman. The stories are simple yet imaginative and the illustrations are very sweet.
Sandra Boynton – These are probably some of my favourite books to read to Pearl. They’re goofy, colourful, and full of song. I think we’ll both only grow to appreciate Boynton’s stories as Pearl gets older.
Margaret Wise Brown – A definite classic. We have Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny as well as a couple of collections of poems/songs by Brown that I wasn’t familiar with previously.
Virginia Lee Burton – I’m not familiar with Burton’s other work but we have a board book copy of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and it’s lots of fun to read. Old-fashioned in that way that it probably won’t make sense to Pearl when she’s older (heck, I’m not really sure how a steam shovel works) but a nice little classic with a happy ending.
Barbara Reid – Reid is famous for her plasticine illustrations and Pearl loves them. We have Read Me a Book and Two by Two and Pearl loves turning the pages and looking at the pictures. I wish that Two by Two was actually accurate to the story of Noah but you can’t have everything.
Nancy Tillman – I’ll admit, I find Tillman’s writing a little bit sappy. But sometimes sappy is what you want when you’re reading to your baby. And her illustrations are definitely beautiful.
And some women that have been on my shelves for years and I’m looking forward to introducing to Pearl:
Louisa May Alcott – I’ve already read the Little Women books aloud to Pearl. I talked a little bit here about the problems with Little Women but they’re still soft, sweet books that I hope Pearl reads herself one day. Especially if she ends up having sisters of her own.
Carol Kendall – Another one I read aloud to Pearl over the summer. (Check it out here.) A fun adventure with some word puns and a few good lessons along the way.
Madeleine L’Engle – I read a lot of Madeleine L’Engle’s books as a kid but A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels remain her best. Meg Murry remains a terrific, very human protagonist. (There’s now a graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time that’s very good.)
Lucy Maud Montgomery – Probably my favourite author as a kid. I’ve read every single book Montgomery’s written and most of them more than twice. The Emily series was always my favourite. I hope Pearl one day enjoys them too.
Beatrix Potter – I’ve been collecting this series since Pearl was born, snapping them up at book sales and thrift stores. It’s been a fun search. Reading them now, some of them are kind of weird little stories. But they’re fun and the animal characters are a strange and delightful mix of human and creature. And, of course, the pictures are lovely.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – I think it’s really awesome that The Little House books remain so popular. Ingalls Wilder’s writing really captures something in our imaginations. Everything I know about slaughtering a pig or making candles is from these books. I can remember my dad reading them aloud to me when I was about six and I hope to do the same with Pearl in a few years.
What are your favourite kids books by women? Any recommendations for women currently writing fantastic books for children?