We’ve come a long way but we’ve also got a long way to go. March is Women’s History Month and it is a time to look back and reflect with gratitude on those who have taken risks, stepped out of bounds, and made a difference in the future of women everywhere. However, it’s also a time to celebrate what’s happening now. I love reading books, blogs, and articles featuring women (both known and unknown) who are changing the world with their time and talents. Here are 5 phenomenal books to read this month – books written by women that I have found inspiring. Some you will know and some may be new to you. Either way, I hope you’ll want to check them out or even reread them again!
Michelle Obama: Becoming
So there are no surprises here. We all know her and the work she has done in her capacity of First Lady and beyond (she’s getting rave reviews for her newest project on Netflix ). Becoming takes us back to her childhood in Chicago where her tight-knit family life laid the foundation not only for her professional career but her personal and family life. I am sure some of you chose the audiobook and from friends who did, I hear the constant refrain of how it feels like Michelle is across the table from you with a cup of coffee in hand – more like a conversation with an old friend than a formal interview with the Former First Lady. This is one of those books to read that generates the same sort of feeling which leads you to being barely on time for preschool pick up. You will not be able to put it down! So, yes – the launch hype has passed, but the content is still relevant and even if it’s your second go-round this could be a good summer read.
It’s What I Do – Lynsey Addario
Lynsey is one of my favorite photojournalists. She has really excelled in the past year documenting the effects of Covid while based in the UK as well as many other social justice-themed photo projects. I can’t remember how I came across her book, but I have since become a follower of hers on Instagram and was fortunate enough to see her speak live two years ago at a launch for her most recent book ‘Of Love & War’, a photo journal showcasing her work around the globe and another one I highly recommend, especially if you love photojournalism. In her memoir, Lynsey details her backstory of how she developed from a young photojournalist, through to covering major conflicts for National Geographic and The New York Times. Her harrowing experience of being kidnapped in Libya and the effect it had on her afterward is eye-opening, especially from the perspective of a female photojournalist. I was so thrilled to randomly find two of her portraits outside Gare du Nord in Paris in 2019 as part of an exhibition. Lynsey is a photographer with an eye for humanity and her book is both inspiring and insightful.
Desert Rose – Waris Dirie
I’ve read this book twice and for good reason. Desert Flower is the true story of one of the first Sudanese fashion models – how she made her way from a rural upbringing to modeling in London and in many major fashion publications. While it might seem like a run-of-the-mill autobiography storyline, Desert Rose is anything but. Using her traumatic experience as a child, Waris draws our attention to the ongoing problem of female genital mutilation (FGM), that exists not only in Sudan but in many Western countries. The emotional and physical aftermath of this practice is something that cannot be watched and ignored from afar. Waris weaves her own journey into bringing this to the reader’s attention and it can be hard to put down. You can find out more about her work at https://www.desertflowerfoundation.org/en/home.html or on Instagram .
Is It Just Me? – Miranda Hart
Need something a little lighter? And it’s OK – we all need it, especially right now! I really love Miranda Hart’s first book, “Is It Just Me?”. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Miranda is a brilliant comic and her aptly named TV series, Miranda (currently available to stream on Amazon and Hulu ) is laugh-out-loud funny. This book is basically a how-to for your 18-year-old self, giving hilarious insight into the awkwardness of navigating adult life and the social dynamics that come with it (for example, her commentary on spa life and manicures, which are “basically someone holding your hand for 45 minutes while listening to Enya”). However, beyond that, Miranda has a passion for mental health and ‘to help free people to become the people they were made to be’ and this shines through not only in this book but on her website and especially her Instagram (she is currently on a social media break but definitely follows for updates). In these weird times, our mental health has become a very important theme and one that needs attending to frequently This book is great for a giggle but if you find yourself looking for more of Miranda with mental health resources, I highly recommend a scroll through her Instagram account.
The Other’s Gold – Elizabeth Ames
Full disclosure: the author of this debut novel is a good friend of mine, however when I find time to read I am almost exclusively a non-fiction girl and it takes a lot for me to get hooked on a novel, even if I happen to know the author. I used to see Elizabeth working at one of our neighborhood cafes when she was creating The Other’s Gold and it was so amazing to see her creativity come to life in something we could actually hold. Set on the fictional campus of Quincy-Hawthorne college (with overtones of an Ivy League atmosphere), the opening chapters detail the experience of four freshman roommates thrown together at the start of the school year and where their friendships grow through the challenges (and celebrations) of adulthood with many events both before they meet, during their college years impacting them individually and as a quartet. It’s hard not to get caught up in Elizabeth’s elegant yet relatable writing style which makes the storylines and the characters very real. You can see more of her work on her website and for her adventures in mixing prints and patterns, vegetarian cooking, and parenting her two young daughters ( and many – many!) undergraduates at Harvard University, as an on-campus advisor, check out her Instagram
All of our links for our recommended books to read are through bookshop. Please consider using this amazing website if you are interested in purchasing new books. It promotes small bookstores throughout the US and UK by finding the book you order through one of your local stores. Not only are you expanding your mind when you buy and read these books, but you are helping small businesses within your own community!
You may also like these recommended books to read for both children and adults on our Bébé Voyage website: