In a fairytale world where more and more little girls seem to be more interested in playing the “princess” than perusing the public library, we’re taking some time to honor women who, for some reason, haven’t managed to break through the doll and dress up aisle. Here we present a first, and hopefully not last, edition of the Lovely Ladies of Literature.
I must confess, this is my personal list of women writers who either inspired, frustrated or empowered me during my child and young adult-hood. I know the list of possible LLoL pageant contestants, those who are deserving of being included, is practically infinite. I encourage you all to create your OWN list by commenting below with a LLoL of your own. But, back to me-- why did I single out these women? It wasn’t because I wanted to dress like them, wear make up like them, talk, walk or curtsy like them; it was that I wanted to live in the worlds they created. Or, perhaps I wanted to ask them WHY? Why would you write what I just read? I closed a book wanting to call them and challenge them about their plots and characters and process, or yell at them for something I thought was unjust. I had comfort, as I grew older knowing that, even if I disagreed with them, I learned from them. I wanted to stand united with them knowing that they faced a tough road.
I wanted to travel that road myself - to create, challenge, or make another little girl think - to help a young lady understand that it isn’t a fashion magazine or a pink and purple sparkly dress that can define her femininity and spirit-- it is a mind, a pen and paper.
So, here are our Literacy Month Lovely Ladies of Literature:
Row 1: Judy Blume, Willa Cather, Jane Austen; Row 2: Ursula LeGuin, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott; Row 3: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeline L'Engle, Margaret Atwood; Row 4: J.K. Rowling, Shirley Jackson, the Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne)
Can you play dress up for the mind? If I could, I would want my mind to look like these.