Treasures on the Shelves: Stories that focus on womens’ achievements

Published 11:00 am Friday, March 17, 2023

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Treasures on the ShelvesMarch is Women’s History Month, a time to explore, understand and celebrate the contributions of women both now and across the centuries. There are many books that illuminate this topic and I’ve chosen four that I think contribute and expand upon women’s achievements.

The Foxfire books, originally a literary magazine begun in 1966, have been perennial favorites with timeless wisdom, practical skills, and a rich oral history of Appalachia. The newest edition to the series is “The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Women” edited by Kami Ahrens. This archival material covers a diverse population of White, Black and Cherokee women and provides insight into their lives as they tell their stories over the course of fifty years.

It has been just over a century since American women acquired the right to vote and while this brought a measure of equality into women’s lives, in many ways discrimination and lack of equal opportunity are still struggles being experienced today. “Formidable” by Elizabeth Griffith, explores the fight for justice and fairness that extended beyond the Nineteenth Amendment. This book is an inclusive look at what women – white, black, indigenous and Latina – wanted for themselves and their communities and how their achievements are reflected in today’s society.

Helen Keller was one of the most famous and celebrated women of her era. Almost everything that we know about her came from the famous incident in her childhood when, after a bout of scarlet fever left her deaf, blind and mute, she was taught to communicate by Annie Sullivan. “After the Miracle: The Political Crusades of Helen Keller” by Max Wallace examines her adult life and the extraordinary commitment she demonstrated for social justice and tolerance. She promoted rights for the disabled, supported civil right and anti-apartheid movements and was a steadfast opponent of fascism during the Second World War.

Ellen Craft was an enslaved woman determined to find freedom and the ingenious plan she created is the basis of “Master, Slave, Husband, Wife” by Ilyon Woo. Craft and her husband William left Macon, Georgia disguised as an elderly white man and his slave. The story of how they journeyed north and found their voices in the abolitionist movement is one of love, suspense, determination and sacrifice.

The titles and many others are available at your library as we pay tribute to all women during this important month.

Holly Howze is the branch manager for the Ripberger Public Library located in Kenbridge. She can be reached at