DDST: Mary Wears What She Wants

By Josh Carlson, Manager of Youth Services.

You’ll frequently read about my daughter in my blog posts and newsletter, so in the spirit of #WFH, I decided to start making videos with her. Throughout, we will engage with the text and each other, in a process known as Dialogic Reading, which is a super-fancy way of saying we have a conversation about the book we are reading as we read it. Dialogic Reading is an important and effective way of increasing your child’s pre-reading skills and early literacy. And, it’s fun. While you read, don’t just read to your child. Ask them questions. Discuss pictures. Have them guess what happens next. Don’t just read, engage.

My wife and I read a lot of books with positive messages for girls to our daughter – books that show girls and women accomplishing amazing things in every field; emphasizing self-determination; promoting equality (and showing the wrongness of inequality); body/image positivity; being heroes in real-life and fantasy; and using intelligence to realize their dreams and change the world. We also read many books that discuss how women were treated in history so that we can discuss how that treatment was unkind and unfair and not the way things should have been, or should be now. Our Daddy-Daughter Storytime for today is one of the latter types of books and incorporates many of those positive messages.


Mary Wears What She Wants by written and illustrated by Keith Negley, read with permission of Harper Collins Children’s Books, is the story of young Mary Edwards Walker, an early women’s rights advocate who *gasp* wanted to wear pants instead of dresses. My daughter loved this book so much we bought her own copy after borrowing it from the Library. It sparked so many questions about why Mary wasn’t supposed to wear pants and about the way the world has changed, and hasn’t changed, since Mary Walker’s time. I’m proud to say that my daughter is a little feminist and she’s just as happy to be wearing the frilliest dress as she is to be wearing muddy pants; just as happy to be playing princess as being a butt-kicking superhero; or just as happy to be digging for dinosaur bones as a paleontologist as she is deciding what hair style to have for the day. Like Mary Walker’s clothes, none of those activities are girl activities or boy activities, they are just her activities.

If your child wants to learn more about Mary Walker after watching this video, check out Mary Walker Wears the Pants on Hoopla. If you’d like some more titles about women who fought for women’s rights, challenged the social norms of their times, and were showed just how intelligent, amazing and powerful women are, check out:

  • She Persisted and She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton on Overdrive/Libby
  • Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating on Hoopla and on Overdrive/Libby
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy on Overdrive/Libby
  • Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty on Overdrive/Libby
  • Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten and 10000 Miles by Mara Rockliff on Hoopla
  • Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins on Overdrive/Libby
  • Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone on Hoopla
  • Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark on Overdrive/Libby
  • Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World by Rachel Swaby on Overdrive/Libby
  • Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker on Overdrive/Libby
  • Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson on Overdrive/Libby
  • The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter on Overdrive/Libby
  • Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris on Overdrive/Libby
  • Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor on Overdrive/Libby
  • Suffragette: The Battle for Equality by David Roberts on Overdrive/Libby

Look for another Daddy-Daughter Storytime next Tuesday!

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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