February 28th, 1909 the first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States. Since then, Women’s Day has been internationally honored for over 108 years. In 1975, the United Nations established International Women’s Day on March 8th. By 1987, United States Congress declared the entire month of March as National Women’s History Month.
In honor of women across the globe, in our past and to our future, we are excited to share our March Women’s Literary History posters. Decorate your library with these posters and celebrate with young and old patrons the phenomenal history of women.
March Women's Literary History Posters
Download our Women's Literary History Posters and check out the biographies of each author featured.
Poet, Author, Civil Rights Activist (1928 - 2014)
Maya Angelou, known for her critically acclaimed memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, wrote a collection of autobiographies, poetry, and essays centered around racism, identity, family, and travel.
Born April 4th, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou faced a difficult childhood. Her parents split up when she was a young girl and experienced first hand the racial prejudices and discrimination in the southern United States. At the age of seven, Angelou was assaulted and abused. Traumatized by the experience, Angelou retreated within herself for many years after.
At age 16 Angelou became pregnant with her first child. In the 1950's Maya Angelou's career rose as a performer receiving nominations and awards for her roles. Her work also expanded into civil rights activism where she worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Introduce Maya Angelou to students through her poetry. Read the poem "Phenomenal Woman."For mature students, create a discussion about the imagery used by Angelou, her style, and emotion to portray the overall theme and message of the poem. Younger students can also listen to the poem. From there, prompt students to draw an amazing woman that is in their life and the traits that make her so great.
Journalist, Author (1882 - 1941)
Virginia Woolf, an English author, wrote modernist classics and was a pioneer in the feminist text. Born as Adeline Virginia Stephen on January 25, 1882, she was raised in a privileged English household. Woolf's parents were well connected in both social and artistic circles, with links to great thinkers like William Thackeray and George Henry Lewes.
Woolf's childhood was darkened by sexual abuse and the death of her mother and half-sister. Coping with these tragic experiences, Woolf continued to study and was introduced to the radical feminist and educational reforms of the early 1900s.
Since the beginning of her literary work, Virginia Woolf experimented with several literary tools like compelling and unusual narrative perspectives, dream-states, and free association prose. Most famously known for her Mrs. Dalloway novel and its themes of feminism, mental illness, and homosexuality in the first post-World War, Woolf suffered from mental health issues like depression and severe mood swings. She committed suicide in 1941.
Judy Blume was the second child to Ester and Rudolph Sussman in 1938. From a young age, Judy was given the chance to exercise her creative energies through many activities like piano, dance lessons, reading, and making up stories. After marrying and giving birth to two children, Blume enrolled in writing courses. Her first book to be published was a children's book, The One in The Middle is the Green Kangaroo. It wasn't until she published Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, that Judy Blume became firmly established as a young reader's author.
Regardless of the popularity Blume received for her stories, her books were the target for censorship. Five of her works made American Library Association's list of 100 most frequently challenged books.
Madeleine L'Engle told a journalist that she'd been a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. Best known for her novels like A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. L'Engle grew up as an only child and at the age of 12 moved to Europe with her parents. Madeleine married actor Hugh Franklin in 1946 and had two children together later adopting a third child. Madeleine won the National Humanities Medal in 2004 but due to health issues could not attend the award ceremony. She died on September 6th, 2007.
A Wrinkle in Time
The first audience for her best-known work was L'Engle's children. After countless rejections, she was able to find a publisher for her sci-fi fiction tale. L'Engle was inspired to write her book from sources such as Albert Einstien's theory of relativity and works of William Shakespeare. In 1963 Madeleine L'Engle won the prestigious Newbery medal for A Wrinkle in Time. However, regardless of the novel's success, it has been one of the most banned books for some believe it promotes anti-Christian or occultism.
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