Wonder Women: 25 Innovators -- Nonfiction Book Review

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed HistoryWonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
by Sam Maggs (Goodreads Author), Sophia Foster-Dimino (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Quirk Books
ISBN 1594749256 (ISBN13: 9781594749254)

I can’t get enough of books that showcase amazing ladies from history. So often, though, we get the same ten biographies. I adore Sally Ride and Eleanor Roosevelt, but I also want to know about women who have been more neglected by publishing until now. So when I heard that Sam Maggs was going to share the stories of another twenty-five history changing women, I knew I wanted to get my hands on that book.

Maggs splits the history-making ladies in her book into five chapters: Science, Medicine, Espionage, Innovation, and Adventure. We get substantial information on five women in each chapter, but we also get seven shorter biographies at the end of each chapter. As an added bonus, each chapter concludes with a Q&A with a woman currently working in the field. I was also impressed at the range of time periods, cultures, and orientations represented throughout the book. If you are looking for a more intersectional read than you’ll normally get, this is the right book for you! 

Not only do we learn about lots of less-known women, but we also get all that informational goodness in a humor filled, entertaining style that makes it entertaining as heck. I can't think of many times I've read biographies and smirked and chuckled so much along the way.

My favorite features: (Besides the pure joy of the history geek and the patriarchy punching…)

-- The Q&A at the end of each section. I said it above, but it bears repeating. Wonder Women did a great job of telling about women from the past and ALSO inspiring me with the lives of women currently making the world a better place.

-- The mini-biographies. If you get inspired by the stories of the women in the longer sections, this gives you more names you can research later!

-- The snarky humor. I love that nonfiction has gotten so much more fun to read, and Maggs does a wonderful job. I chuckled and smirked and groaned…. and enjoyed learning about these women’s lives even more because of it.

Teaching Opportunities:

Upper Elementary - I teach upper elementary, and I plan to use selected biographies with my students. Pre-read each entry to decide which ones are appropriate for your students. Several of them had enough detail about reproductive issues to knock them out of the running for use with this age group, but there were plenty that would make excellent short reads.

Upper Middle School and up - put it in your classroom libraries - stat!

How else to use it:

Gift Giving and Girls' Night Crafting: 

Since Crafting with Feminism by Bonnie Burton was just released (pub date 10/18), these two books would make the perfect gift for any wonder women in your life. She’ll have twenty-five new choices for her “Heroes of Feminism” finger puppets!

I'm gathering up my girl gang to set up a crafting night. We're all teachers, so this time of the year is a bit on the wild side, but I'm looking forward to making finger puppets of some of these

Even though I received an advance copy of the book, I made sure to pre-order another copy. This is absolutely the kind of book I want to see more of in the publishing world. I'm putting my money where my mouth is! 


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