Perfect for Women’s History Month: a guest post from Shana Corey, author of Here Come the Girl Scouts!
By Guest Blogger on March 1st, 2012
It’s the first day of March, which means it’s also the start of Women’s History Month! We’ll be celebrating WHM by suggesting some great books you can enjoy about history’s most fascinating women as well as hearing from some great Scholastic authors. To kick things off, we have a very special blog post from acclaimed author Shana Corey. Corey’s newest picture book biography, Here Come the Girl Scouts, introduces readers to Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of The Girl Scouts of America. Read on for her post!
Happy Women’s History Month!
To me, kids’ books and women’s history have always gone hand in hand, because kids’ books are where women’s history first hooked me. I read Little House on the Prairie and learned about butter churning and washboards and covered wagons. I read The Childhoods of Famous Americans series and met Clara Barton and Annie Oakley.
When I went to college though, I realized that there were so many names in women’s history I didn’t know. And the more I learned, the more I wanted to tell those women’s stories to kids today.
My first book, You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! tells the story of Amelia Bloomer, the real life feminist and fashion rebel for whom bloomers are named. Players in Pigtails is a story inspired by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and a little known fact about the song Take Me Out to the ball game.
And my new book Here Come the Girl Scouts! The Amazing All-true Story of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure is the story of Girl Scouts founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low and the first Girl Scout troop formed in 1912.
This is a story I’m especially excited about because my mother is from Savannah, Georgia, the city where the Girl Scouts were founded. I grew up hearing her stories of being a Girl Scout there in the 1960s and knew how important the Girl Scouts were in her life.
When I learned that the Girl Scouts would be celebrating their 100th anniversary this spring, I began researching their history and was completely amazed by what I found. I had imagined parlors full of dainty little girls having tea and cakes, but the early Girl Scouts were out camping and hiking and playing basketball! From the start, they were all about encouraging girls to get outside and be active and appreciate nature—things that are as relevant and important for 21st century girls as they were for girls a hundred years ago.
The Girl Scouts were also inclusive. They recruited not just in private schools, but also in factories, orphanages, and synagogues. And within a few years of that first meeting in March 12, 1912, there were African American, Hispanic American, and Native American troops. The Girl Scouts also led the way in desegregation when they desegregated all troops in the 1950s.
Daisy Low believed kids could make history, that they could and should make a difference. She was passionate about doing that herself. And she succeeded. A century after she called the first meeting, there are over 3.2 million Girl Scouts making a difference in the world, including a remarkable number of activists, astronauts, politicians, athletes, and artists who are former Girl Scouts.
One of the highlights of working on this book for me came one morning when I turned on my computer and found an email from one of my personal heroes, Girl Scout alum and activist Gloria Steinem. She wrote, “We all have a place at the campfire. It was the Girl Scouts who taught me that first.”
I think that perfectly sums up what Girl Scouts are about, and I’m so excited to share their story—and the tenets Daisy Low believed in: fresh air, conservation, exercise, community service—with kids today.
Want to meet Shana Corey and learn more about her experiences as a writer?If you’re in New York, be sure to stop by The Scholastic Store this Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Shana will be here to sign books and answer questions. And yes, there will be complimentary Girl Scout cookies.
Shana Corey has the unique ability to make history accessible and fun, a talent that has been praised in all of her celebrated picture books, including Mermaid Queen, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!, illustrated by Chesley McLaren, which was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Title. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.