Every year March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions to American history.
Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The movement spread nationwide as other communities initiated their Women’s History Week celebrations. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day.
In March 1987, Congress passed Public Law designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. And since 1995, each President has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
We celebrate this March by highlighting young adult books featuring strong female characters throughout young adult historical fiction.
The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah
Twin sisters Hassana and Husseina's home is in ruins after a brutal raid. But this is not the end but the beginning of their story, one that will take them to unfamiliar cities and cultures, where they will forge new families, ward off dangers and truly begin to know themselves.
As the twins pursue separate paths in Brazil and the Gold Coast of West Africa, they remain connected through shared dreams of water. But will their fates ever draw them back together?
One for All by Lillie Lainoff
Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.
Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.
With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.
Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi
Jerusalem, 1192. The Third Crusade rages on. Rahma al-Hud loyally followed her elder sister Zeena into the war over the Holy Land, but now that the Faranji invaders have gotten reinforcements from Richard the Lionheart, all she wants to do is get herself and her sister home alive.
But Zeena, a soldier of honor at heart, refuses to give up the fight while Jerusalem remains in danger of falling back into the hands of the false Queen Isabella. And so, Rahma has no choice but to take on one final mission with her sister.
On their journey to Jerusalem, Rahma and Zeena come across a motley collection of fellow travelers—including a kind-hearted Mongolian warrior, an eccentric Andalusian scientist, a frustratingly handsome spy with a connection to Rahma's childhood, and an unfortunate English chaplain abandoned behind enemy lines. The teens all find solace, purpose, and camaraderie—as well as a healthy bit of mischief—in each other's company.
But their travels soon bring them into the orbit of Queen Isabella herself, whose plans to re-seize power in Jerusalem would only guarantee further war and strife in the Holy Land for years to come. And so it falls to the merry band of misfits to use every scrap of cunning and wit (and not a small amount of thievery) to foil the usurper queen and perhaps finally restore peace to the land.
Sisters of the Wolf by Patricia Miller-Schroeder
The climate is changing, game is disappearing, and two peoples of the Ice Age compete for survival in a savage world. Keena, from a powerful band of Neanderthals, and Shinoni, daughter of a Cro-Magnon shaman, are torn from their families by Haken, a ruthless hunter. The girls dislike each other but soon discover they need each other to survive. Together they escape but are pursued by Haken across an Ice-Age landscape rumbling with advancing glaciers and teeming with mighty predators.
As Shinoni and Keena work to overcome disaster at every turn, they are joined by Tewa, a powerful she-wolf, who becomes their guardian and spirit guide. Can their growing friendship overcome cultural, racial, and even species differences? Will they ever be able to find their families? Only the spirits know.
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.
Blood Countess by Lana Popović
In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.