Women's History Unit Study Resources: Books, Activities, and Free Notebooking Pages

Although Women’s History Month is officially celebrated in March, you can do a Women’s History unit study with your kids any time of the year. As you take a look at women in history, you can use the books, activities, and notebooking pages here to create a unit study.

Women's history unit study
Disclosure: I received free books and compensation for this post. All opinions are always my own.

I’m super excited to feature books from one of our favorite children’s books resources- Candlewick Press. Here are some of their books, as well as activities that you can use for a Women in History unit study. Don’t forget to pick up the free unit study planner and printable notebooking pages that you can use along with this study. You’ll find them at the end of the post. There’s also a great giveaway from Candlewick Press that you can enter at the end of this post.

Children’s Books About Women in History

The Radical Element: Women's historyThe Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls (High School) This book of short stories is all about girls who have taken a stand for themselves and others like them in their families and communities. The stories are each written by a female, young adult author. Some of the characters in the stories are based on real life people. And some have fictional characters but are set in actual historical time periods. We read and reviewed another book from the same editor in another post about excellent Candlewick Press books.

In The Radical Element you can read stories about women who strove to make education and economic opportunities available for Jewish women; female spies during the Civil War; girls who were a part of circus life with its non-traditional mores; people who challenged Hollywood’s culture in the 1920s when it was difficult for people of other races, people who had a disability or people of different gender identities, and sexualities to get parts in films; a fictional girl who was encouraged by real life woman comedian Lucille Ball, and more.

For my Christian readers…The stories throughout this book don’t necessarily come from a Christian perspective or have biblical values. But I think it’s still valuable to read with your older kids so that you can discuss what fits your value system as well as to see the perspective of what doesn’t.

House of Dreams: Women's history studyHouse of Dreams (High School) This is an excellent biography of L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables books. For many years not very much was known about the private life of this author, called Maud during her lifetime. This biography uses the private journals that Maud kept throughout her life to reveal more of her life than has been previously known.

Although the Anne books are known for lightness and beauty, Maud’s life wasn’t. Her childhood was spent with grandparents who were strict and undemonstrative. She struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her life. The book explores her difficult married life as well as her death and the events surrounding it.

Although this is a darker biography, I think it’s such a good thing to be able to look at the whole life of a person. We, as people, are complicated characters. And this biography does a good job of exploring some of the complicated parts of this author. It’s a great one for one of my daughters who did a whole year’s unit study on Anne of Green Gables last year!

Zora and Me: Women's history studyZora and Me(Middle Grade/High School) This book is set in the American hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston. It’s a fictionalized coming of age story about Zora and two friends who set out to solve a mystery. Zora has been telling stories about a shape-shifting gator man who’s lurking in the marshes and waiting to steal human souls. But when a man is actually found murdered by the railroad tracks, Zora and her friends, as well as the whole town, have to come to terms with the power of pretending.

This book also includes a bibliography of the books by Zora Neale Hurston, as well as a timeline of her life, and a short biography. It would be a great addition to any study of the author’s life or just as an enjoyable, mysterious, coming of age story.

Almost Astronauts: Women's history studyAlmost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream(Middle Grades) This is the true story of the “Mercury 13.” Beginning in 1959, a group of thirteen women were given physical and psychological tests to see if they were as able as men to go to space. The first of these, Jerrie Cobb, had passed several rounds of tests and the other women had passed some of the first tests when it was decided that the women wouldn’t go to space.

There were a number of decisions along the way that led to this ultimate decision. Their way to space was blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the decision of one of the most powerful men in Washington at the time. But even though they didn’t make it to space, these thirteen women continued to fight for opportunities for women to pilot jets and to command space craft. Their work led the way for women to be involved in NASA and, ultimately, to make it to space.

This book lays out the history of women in space clearly. And it includes some great photographs of the Mercury 13, including some of the tests they took part in. There are also photographs of some of the women astronauts whose way was paved by the efforts of the Mercury 13.

Suffragette: The Battle for the Vote- Women's history studySuffragette: The Battle for Equality (Upper Elementary/Middle Grades) This nonfiction book lays out the history of the effort to get women the vote. It follows the trajectory of the suffragette efforts in the UK, but American women who are prominent in the fight for the vote are featured as well. The book’s forward offers a brief comparison of the fight for women’s voting rights in the two countries.

Readers can follow the timeline of the efforts to give women the right to vote. And interspersed with this timeline, there are sections that focus on specific people involved in the movement or elements of the movement such as pins and badges worn by the suffragettes, different means that suffragettes used to get their point across, including weapons they used.

As a timeline fanatic, I especially love how the book is breaking down what’s happening at different points in history. I think it really emphasizes how long this fight for the right to vote went on. The book also has great colorful illustrations that help to break up the text, making this book easier to read. It would also make a great read aloud!

Leading the Way: Women in Power- Women's history studyLeading the Way: Women in Power(Elementary/Middle Grades) This is a book of mini biographies of fifty women leaders. The women featured in the book are first ladies, leaders in federal, state, or local government, Civil Rights leaders. Some are current. Others are women leaders from history.

At the beginning of the book, the authors introduce eight power symbols. Each of these stands for personal qualities that could help women leaders achieve their goals: integrity, community, resourcefulness, diligence, courage, persistence, empathy, and communication. As readers are introduced to the women in the book, they can find these power symbols showing some of these specific characteristics that woman had that helped her to achieve her goals.

I love the way that this book is arranged with the mini biographies. Each is enough to give some brief information in a short reading. And it’s enough to peak the interest of a reader to want to know more about each of these women leaders.

Women’s History Unit Study Activities

As you read through some of the great books above, here are some activities that you can add to your study of women’s history.

~ Create a timeline where you can add some of the people you’re reading about. I like to use a large poster board for a timeline, but you can also just print a timeline like this to fill out.
~ Have kids pick one of the women you’ve read about to research in more depth. They can record information on the free notebooking pages or as a more formal research paper.
~ Use a world map to see where in the world some of the women and events you read about are from. As you read about some of these, mark your map with a brief note about who is from there or what happened there.
~ Talk about character traits and values. As you read about the various women in these books take time to discuss the character traits that helped them to be successful and any negative traits you come across as well. This can also be a good time to talk about women who held different values than your family has.
~ Have your student write a creative story about a woman in history. Have them base their story on either an actual woman in history or on an actual historical time period. But the story can have fictional elements as well.

Women's history unit study

Women’s History Notebooking Pages

Don’t forget to download the free Women’s History Notebooking Pages here. How can you use these pages?

~ Have kids record facts as you read a nonfiction book or a section of the book aloud. Example: Read one of the short biographies in Leading the Way: Women in Power and have kids record five facts from what you’ve read.
~ Use them for kids to produce a written narration when you’ve read aloud or when they’ve read independently. A narration is a retelling of what’s been read.
~ Kids can use these notebooking pages to record information about a woman in history they’ve chosen to research and learn more about.
~ Use them for kids to write their own creative story.

********** Get the free notebooking pages here. **********

Women's History Notebooking Pages

Candlewick Press Giveaway

You can visit Candlewick Press to find more great books. (It’s always so hard for me to pick!) Candlewick Press also has a podcast that features storytellers behind some great kids’ books.

Candlewick is offering readers a giveaway as well. They are giving away a copy of the book My Green Day: 10 Green Things I Can Do Today. You can enter the giveaway below.

Children's literature giveaway

Post a Comment

As We Walk Along the Road © . Design by Berenica Designs.