Nevertheless, She Persisted: Learning More About History’s Bad-Ass Heroines

Lorelei is such a curious kid. She wants to know the hows, whys, whats, and wheres of everything. To an annoying degree. I don’t know why keys are shaped like that or how balloons are made. No, I cannot tell you the exact details of everything we are doing, going to do, or have done. I am not sure what year Obama was born.

Thank geebus for the internet. I have no idea how parents answered these questions before Wikipedia and Google. As a kid, I remember pouring over Childcraft books at my grandparents’ house, which was super for general knowledge but not so useful for finding out specific details.

I realize that, to a certain extent, I can shape her interests. She is her own person – oh lord is she ever her own person – but for this period of her life, I can point her in certain directions. Basically, I’m throwing intellectual spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

nat geo

This is all why I applied for the National Geographic Kids insider program, in the first place. I loved the books I already had and was really interested in seeing what else they had to offer. Like I said in a previous post, I have not been disappointed.


I think my new favorite is the Nat Geo Kids Book of Heroines

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There’s a Book of Heroes as well, which is also great, but the Book of Heroines is just really fantastic. I find myself wanting to flip through it even when Lorelei isn’t around. It’s such a fascinating mix of ancient and contemporary bad-ass women. It also includes some fictional women and some animals.

harriet tubman

As we were flipping through tonight Lorelei landed on a page with a cat. “I know that cat!” It turned out it was Scarlett, the cat who saved her kittens from a fire and was badly burned in the process. She used to watch that episode of Reading Rainbow over and over (Lorelei, not Scarlette. I guess. I don’t really know what Scarlett liked to watch.) Lorelei was very distraught to find out that Scarlett is dead now because she really wanted to meet her.


Our kids need strong role models

We read both books in the series but the Heroines book is the one I want her to spend the most time with. Knowing that a ton of ass-kicking women refused to step back into the shadows of men is paramount. Seeing the vast array of contributions made by women throughout history is a stepping stone for our daughters and an indispensable learning opportunity for our sons. We can draw connections to the women of today, in many cases reading about them in this very book. I can point out why Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to back down is so poignant in today’s political climate. We can learn why some favorite celebrities are so much more. It draws a thread through history.

I have also found that these books spark more questions (again, thank goodness for the internet!). She saw a photo of Malala in her Hijab. Not knowing what it was, but knowing she must have done something important, she asked, “did that girl invent towels?” Umm… So many learning opportunities. We could spend weeks just going down rabbit holes produced by this one book.

I love this book in conjunction with the Famous Fails book. With that combination (the two together cost under $25) you get one book about all the things a woman can do and another book to remind you that even if you think you have failed, you may find you have actually done something quite extraordinary.


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