My brilliant mother taught 2nd grade for 40 years. For as long as I can remember, she has been relaying the events of “heroes’ week.” Heroes Week is when all the kids pick a biography to read during the week and then on Friday, they come to school dressed in their character’s costume, ready to report. For years I listened as my mom beamed about the cute and smart, mostly white, mostly male, heroes that checked in for the day. When I finally asked (it took me a while to even realize this was odd) why the girls were dressing as men rather than accomplished women, my mom replied that the books simply aren’t there. What?! We gotta fix that! Our children’s perspective on powerful and successful people should never be limited y the books or literature available to them. Here are some stellar books and some EASY book report costumes.
All you need to put this Frida Kahlo costume together is a shawl, a crown of flowers, an eye pencil for that infamous unibrow, and a painters palette. I also threw in some turquoise jewelry. Now, study this book and get your kid ready to tell all their friends how this she-roe never let propriety limit her perspective or aesthetic.
You might think CoCo Chanel’s impact begins and ends with tweed and quilted leather – wrong! When she came on the scene, women were still corseted. Corseted! She blew all that apart, touching not just fashion but women’s rights, international politics, and the expectations of females in business – BIG business! Put this Coco Chanel costume together with a collared shirt under a simple black dress. Throw on more pearls than you think are appropriate (they are), add some classic dark rouge for the lips, and your kid is ready to have the classiest book report costume this year.
She started out in the cotton fields of Arkansas, had a spout of trauma-induced mutism, and rose to find a voice that would change the nation. Her activism, poetry, prose, and presence has left an indelible mark on international culture, literature, and civil rights. All you need for this easy book report costume is a colorful head warp (to be worn turban style), impressive gold hoop earrings, a pencil & pad, and a copy of her book. It wouldn’t hurt to memorize these few lines from her poem “I Still Rise” – an embodiment of the important choice to celebrate Maya:
You may write me down in history // With your bitter twisted lies // You may trod me in the very dirt // But still, like dust, I rise.
The first woman to do all sorts of wonderful aviation things, and a champion for inclusivity, Amelia Earhart is definitely worth celebrating. The costume is easy. I found this cute little aviation hat and goggle set on Amazon. Add a scarf and bomber jacket (you can figure out how to rig you’re own, and there you have it. I drew a little 99’s patch to be pinned on the chest. The 99’s is the all women’s aviation club that Amelia founded…and do you know that some of the charter members are still living? Field research for their book report? I feel a good interview in your future.