Women Who Broke the Rules: Sacajawea, Judy Blume, Sonia Sotomayor, and Dolley Madison by Kathleen Krull



Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

women who broke the rules

Women Who Broke the Rules series
Sacajawea: Lewis and Clark Would Be Lost without Me
Judy Blume: Are You There, Reader? It’s Me, Judy!
Sonia Sotomayor: I’ll Be the Judge of That!
Dolley Madison: Parties Can Be Patriotic
Author: Kathleen Krull
Illustrators: Various
Published 2015 by Bloomsbury

Publisher’s Summary: Many awe-inspiring women have changed the course of history. From fighting for social justice and women’s rights to discovering and shaping our amazing country, women have left an indelible mark on our past, present, and future. But it’s not easy to affect change, and these women didn’t always play by the rules to make a difference! Kathleen Krull blends history and humor in this accessible young biography series.

My Review:  I was first introduced to this series at Kid Lit Frenzy in June when Alyson shared these four biographies with us (along with an informative Q&A and a fun quiz), and as soon as I read her posts, I knew I had to get my hands on them. I am a huge fan of well-done biographies because I think they are an essential part of spreading history into a new generation’s memory. I am an even bigger fan of well-done biographies of strong women. While there has been a good chunk of biographical picture books lately about women, I am very happy to see that students will have longer biographies to explore strong women from history. I also really like that Krull’s series has a mix of contemporary and historical figures and is filled with diversity. Next Krull will be sharing Coretta Scott King and Mary Todd Lincoln’s life.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: There are so many ways these books will be used and loved in the classroom. First, add them to your classroom libraries! Krull’s biographies will be a wonderful rung above picture book biographies and below the “big head biographies” on a reading ladder. Also, they would a perfect addition to a unit on women in history and could definitely be used in inquiry lit circles where each group became an expert of a different female leader to share with the class.

Discussion Questions: In what way did ____ play a part in history?; Why was ____ included in the Women Who Broke the Rules series? What rules did she break? How did it change her part in history?

We Flagged: “Like most little kids, Judy Blume had a lot of questions. Okay, maybe more than most kids. What she didn’t have were answers. She grew up in a stifling time, when the rules stopped people from being honest and real.” (p. 7, Judy Blume)

“Was Sacajawea skittish about traveling into the unknown with an infant strapped to her back on a cradle board? Was she scared to be the only woman in a large group of men? We don’t know. The men seemed to treat her with respect, calling her ‘a good creature, of a mild and gentle disposition.'” (p. 13, Sacajawea)

“A girl grows up in a tough neighborhood. Her poor immigrant parents don’t speak English and don’t get along. She tackles a serious illness. . . and rises, rises, rises to become one of the country’s guiding lights.” (p. 7, Sonia Sotomayor)

“Dolley Payne was born with extra zip. And she was going to need as much energy as she could muster.” (p. 7, Dolley Madison)

Check out Kid Lit Frenzy’s post for interior artwork.

Read These If You Loved: Biographies

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Linette at Bloomsbury for providing copies for review!**

9 thoughts on “Women Who Broke the Rules: Sacajawea, Judy Blume, Sonia Sotomayor, and Dolley Madison by Kathleen Krull”

  1. The series really sounds wonderful, Kellee, especially as a way for younger students to read about people earlier. There are few biographies appropriate for them. Glad to see these four, too.

  2. Ooooh I want to get my hands on these books! I LOVE biographies, especially trailblazing women. I’m actually really curious to read the Judy Blume book – I loved her as a kid. Thanks for sharing!!


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