Celebrating Women's History Month in Literature
An Opinion Piece by Natalie Torres, Award Winning Author of Financially Savvy in 20 minutes
March is International Women’s History Month, which celebrates the accomplishments, the struggles, and the women who have sacrificed so much to create a better world. As little girls, we begin to seek out trailblazers, heroes, and people that represent our communities.
This past midterm election was a perfect example of the change we wish to see in the world. I felt this most in the field of bilingual literacy-we want more women we can look up to that tell our stories, share our different cultures, and help us learn other languages. I never sought out to be an author; but I did believe I would be a voice for women. I was tired and disappointed as a child that most books represented women as the victim or the princess that needed to be saved. I wanted to see more women as the hero in the story. We are encouraged by our teachers and our families to be great citizens, to be role models for our community. Therefore, it’s even more important for children, not just girls, to see the power women have to create real change.
This month, we should encourage our libraries and schools to highlight women in literature, by providing students with books such as Lil Libros featuring Frida Kahlo and Selena for kids under the age of 5. The creation of Lil Libros came out from the need that there weren’t any bilingual books that really represented the Latino culture while teaching students English and Spanish, an important component in implementing authentic biliteracy development.
Ideally as educators, we want more stories of inclusion and representation of strong girls and women (like Girls Think of Everything; Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, and DeLees World book series) who truly share the importance of learning another language.
We can always have more equality and diversity in the world. Women still have trouble seeing themselves in leadership roles with very few highlighted in the news, media, movies, and male dominated industries. With a large percentage of school teachers being female, we need to encourage them to tell their stories.
Angelica Mercado at Waite Middle School is an incredible 7th grade teacher with over 15 years as an educator and became the first in her family to graduate college as the second eldest of ten. As an English teacher, she encourages students to write their own stories and to read fun books that help students see themselves as the hero in the story.
Let’s celebrate empowering women in our lives by creating learning environments that showcase diversity, inclusion and the beauty of what makes us different. Let’s encourage and promote more biliteracy in our everyday teachings as we continue to highlight wonderful women all year round.