Friday, July 17, 2009

Anniversary of the Women's Rights Convention - Sunday

A convention concerning the rights of women, called by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was held at Seneca Falls, NY. The convention was held at Seneca Falls, NY (just 20 minutes from me!) on July 19 and 20, 1848. The issues discussed included voting, property rights and divorce. The convention drafted a "Declaration of Sentiments" that paraphrased the Declaration of Independence, addressing man instead of King George, and called for women's "immediate admission to all of the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States." The convention was the beginning of an organzied women's rights movement in the US. The most controversial issue was Stanton's demand for women's right to vote.
-The Teacher's Calendar, 2008-2009
For today's review, I picked two books relating to the fight for Women's Rights... one addresses women's voting rights and the second addresses the differences between men and women in regards to their clothing expectations. Both are very much kid-friendly, which makes learning about a tender topic much more fun and understandable!

Karr, Kathleen.
Mama Went to Jail for the Vote.
Hyperion Books for Children.

Summary from Amazon:

A fictional account of the early-20th-century American Suffragist movement. Susan watches her mother parade and picket in front of the White House, absorbing the message that voting is preferred over violence as a means to change. When Mama is hauled away in handcuffs, Susan takes up the call, her sign demanding her mother's release from jail. President Wilson's attention achieves the young protagonist's goal, but it is still some time before Mama achieves hers. A historical note provides the language of the 19th Amendment and places some of the players and their actions in context. Alice Paul appears to be the inspiration for this story, which infuses an important chapter in history with humor, spunk, and drama. The color illustrations are adequate, but Laugesen's caricatures are not as strong as the landscapes and architectural details.

This book is perfect to use when teaching children about the Women's Rights Movement and when discussing the 19th Amendment. I could also see the book used in conjunction with a Presidential race, as it would allow perfect opportunity for children to see how voting has changed over time (those allowed to vote and the voting process) - especially with the push towards electronic voting machines after the Bush/Gore election of 2000. After taking a women's studies minor in college, I think I'd definitely recommend this for children, but keep in mind that a lengthy discussion will likely ensue.

Corey, Shana.
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!
Scholastic Press.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Amelia Bloomer, who does not behave the way nineteenth-century society tells her a proper lady should, introduces pantaloons to American women to save them from the discomfort of their heavy, tight dresses.

This book is perfect for sharing with children the ways in which women's roles have changed over time. Girls will feel a sense of relief upon learning they are no longer required to wear skirts 24/7 (thanks to no one other than Amelia Bloomer!) and boys will likely get a chuckle out of the ways that girls had to dress "back then." I would definitely include this book as part of a unit on the Women's Rights Movement!

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer Extension Activity

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to