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Growing Up in Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz writes a monthly column of book recommendations for young readers in Growing Up in Santa Cruz--a publication for families in Santa Cruz County.

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan

This fictionalized story of real-life heroine Charley Parkhurst inspired me as a little girl. Parkhurst was a woman who, disguised as a man, became one of the most daring stagecoach drivers ever and was the first woman to legally vote. As a lover of horses and a tomboy, this book made me believe I could do anything. Plus, it boasts ink illustrations by none other than Brian Selznick.  --Molly

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Riding Freedom Cover Image
ISBN: 9780439087964
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - September 1st, 1999

Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

This is another series that I’ve read so many times that the covers are falling off. Beginning with Alanna, it follows Alanna of Trebond, a young girl who disguises herself as her twin brother in order to become a knight. Full of friends and enemies, swordplay and sorcery, talking animals and adventures, this quartet is not only awesome in it’s own right, it launches a whole new world with other books and stories. For me, Alanna is the ultimate heroine.  --Flannery

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Song of the Lioness Quartet: Alanna; In the Hand of the Goddess; The Woman Who Rides Like a Man; Lioness Rampant Cover Image
By Tamora Pierce, Nekro (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481416498
Availability: Backordered
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - October 21st, 2014

First Mothers Written by Beverly Gherman, Illustrated by Julie Downing

You might know all of the presidents, but do you know all of their mothers? I sure didn’t, until I picked up this picture book. First Mothers gives added depth to the story of each president by telling the stories of their mothers. I love this book.  –Flannery

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First Mothers Cover Image
By Beverly Gherman, Julie Downing (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544668393
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - April 5th, 2016

Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane Evans

This is a beautiful, moving book that chronicles the long fight for African-Americans’ right to vote. Told through the point of view of Lillian, a “very old lady” (to quote the book), walking up a very steep hill on her way to vote. As she climbs, she walks through the history of African-Americans in the United States, watching the ghosts of the past. Highly recommended.  –Flannery


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Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Cover Image
By Jonah Winter, Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780385390286
Availability: Backordered
Published: Schwartz & Wade - July 14th, 2015

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by The National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance

This is a really interesting book. Mixing primary sources, such as speeches and letters written by the presidents, with historical pieces written by a wide variety of children’s authors, it tells our nation’s history from the point of view of the White House and its residents. Filled with illustrations by some of the best children’s illustrators, this is a unique way of looking at American history, and a beautiful book in general.  –Flannery

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Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out Cover Image
By N.C.B.L.A., David McCullough (Introduction by), Various, Various (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9780763646097
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Candlewick - September 14th, 2010

A Woman in the House (and Senate) by Ilene Cooper

It took women a long time to win the right to vote, and an even longer time to hold positions in the government. This great middle-grade book tells the story behind the fight for voting rights, the journey into Congress, and the history of all the women who blazed the way for others. It introduced me to amazing women I’d never heard of, and will give any girl new heroines to look up to.  –Flannery

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A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country Cover Image
By Ilene Cooper, Elizabeth Baddeley (Illustrator), Olympia Snow (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9781419710360
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 11th, 2014

The U.S. Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey

The U.S. Constitution is undeniably an incredible document, but it can be a little tricky to read if you aren’t used to English from that era. That’s why this graphic adaptation if so great—it makes reading the Constitution much easier, and explains what every part means. For any kid who wants to better understand our nation, this is a fantastic way to get a grasp on the details of our Constitution.  –Flannery

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The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780809094707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hill and Wang - October 14th, 2008

Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is one of the best books on U.S. history ever written. It tells our history in the most thorough way possible—by critically examining it, and by telling the stories of those ignored by other history books. This young adult edition is a great way to get kids interested in the many aspects of American history. It’s fascinating, and will teach them all about the people overlooked and suppressed in history. Perfect for middle school or early high school kids.  –Flannery

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A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror (For Young People Series) Cover Image
By Howard Zinn, Rebecca Stefoff (Contributions by)
ISBN: 9781583228692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Triangle Square - June 2nd, 2009

Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World by Penny Colman

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were the best of friends. They were also two of the women who did the most for the women’s suffrage movement, and their strong will changed the country. This book chronicles not only their fight for women’s right to vote, but also their friendship. Upon her death, Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked that Susan B. Anthony’s photo be placed on her coffin. Isn’t that the kind of friendship we should all aspire to?  –Flannery

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250073730
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Square Fish - February 9th, 2016

It’s Your World by Chelsea Clinton

Anyone who’s been paying close attention to the presidential primary might feel anxious about our world’s future (I know I do). A lot of teens feel like they can’t possibly change anything. If you have a teen or middle schooler who could use some encouragement, this is a good book about the challenges we face in the world today, how kids can participate in solutions, and what kids have done to help.  –Flannery

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It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399176128
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Philomel Books - September 15th, 2015


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