Five Feisty Females – The Arts

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen, 2017

It’s Nonfiction Wednesday! It’s been a little while since I’ve participated in this linkup, so I’m thrilled to be back! Each week, Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy invites teachers, librarians, readers and book lovers to celebrate the incredible world of children’s nonfiction. There are so many incredible informational texts available, so be sure to check out the other participants in this week’s linkup to discover more amazing books!

In honour of Women’s History Month, I’m taking a look at five fantastic picture book biographies celebrating feisty female pioneers in the arts. Though they pursued very different careers, these incredible women owned their respective fields, expressed themselves with passion and creativity, and left indelible marks on the world.

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova rose from a childhood marred with poverty to achieve international fame and acclaim as a dancer of unparalleled elegance and grace. Her achievements were hard-earned, and Pavlova dedicated herself fully to her art. Though her life was tragically cut short, Pavlova will always be remembered not only as an exceptional dancer, but as a passionate, hardworking, brave and generous woman who inspired generations of young women to dance.

 Different Like Coco

Coco Chanel. Her name is synonymous with glamour and style, but her rags-to-riches life story is even more fascinating. Once a desperately poor, skinny orphan, Coco used her creativity, imagination, skills and  personal grit to challenge social norms around women’s fashion, and in so doing turned herself into a fashion icon whose signature style would captivate women for generations.

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat : Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, one of jazz’s most celebrated and beloved vocalists, used her incredible voice to escape the grinding, desperate poverty of her orphaned childhood. Hardworking, talented and determined, Ella used music to not only achieve a better life, but to connect and share her passionate spirit with listeners around the world, and across generations.

My Name is Georgia

Georgia O’keeffe lived life her own way. From her earliest years she dressed as she wanted, she lived where she wanted, and she painted what she wanted, and by following her own unconventional heart she would one day become of America’s most distinct and beloved artists.

A Dance like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream

In the 1950s, poor black girls from Harlem didn’t grow up to become prima ballerinas. But Janet Collins was a little girl with big dreams, and the determination to see her dreams come true. Hardworking, committed and passionate, Collins battled through poverty and racism to become the first African American prima ballerina, becoming an inspiration for countless young women with big dreams.

Share these brilliant, beautiful stories of fabulous, feisty females with the young dreamers in your life, whatever their gender – all children can benefit from stories of determination, perseverance, passion and self-belief. Happy Women’s History Month!

12 thoughts on “Five Feisty Females – The Arts

    1. Isn’t Swan just wonderful? It’s amazing how many fantastic picture book biographies there are now that celebrate strong, talented women – narrowing this list down to just five titles was actually quite a challenge! 🙂

    1. Isn’t it wonderful? I’m loving the incredible nonfiction that has been released in the last few years.

    1. There are a few great O’Keefe picture books available, which is fascinating, since I didn’t actually discover her work until I was an adult. Which we’d had picture books like this available when I was a child!

  1. oh I love this post! I’m such a feminist 🙂 I love ALL of them but especially Coco and Swan! My daughter is a dancer and wants to be a fashion designer. I bet she’ll love those tow. All the covers are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Me too! I’m so thrilled to see all these great biographies coming out, there’s so much inspiration for young dreamers. 🙂

    1. She has such an incredible rags-to-riches stories, one of those stories you wouldn’t believe if it was fiction, it just seems too incredible to be true!

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