Give into your childhood urge to write on walls! The rolling whiteboards in the 2M and 3M study rooms have been replaced with fancy, new whiteboard walls. Great for group work, mind maps, brainstorming, or doodling. Stop by the Service Desk to check out dry erase markers and get started “write” away! Too cheesy?
The upcoming release of the second Hunger Games movie adaptation of the book, Catching Fire, has got me thinking about all strong female heroines that I had admired and still admire in the children’s and YA literature I had read when I was growing up. I have a list of about 20+, but listed some of my favorites from my childhood and teenage years.
1. Princess Eilonwy from The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. I first read about her in fourth grade. It was perhaps the first time I had encountered a princess who doesn’t act like how I had imagined a princess to act like. She is stubborn, hot-tempered, energetic, funny, and she says all sorts of things that sound very smart, reasonable, and flippant all at the same time. In addition to those qualities, she is also a very caring person. She has adventures and fights alongside the male characters of the story.
2. Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a genius, teaching herself to read by age three, and has extraordinary powers, which she uses to punish the sneering adults for their misdeeds and unfair demands. A bookloving nerd with her own style of personal justice – what is there not to love! In the end, she uses her powers to save the only adult who cares about her, Miss Honey, from the evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.
3. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo is passionate, creative (she is an aspiring writer), independent, and irrepressibly stubborn. Though she chafes at the feminine requirements of domesticity, she also happens to be the glue of the March family. At an early point in the book, she cuts off and sells her own hair (supposedly her one true beauty) to pay for a train ticket for her mother to visit her injured father. I remember finding it shocking, heroic, and a quite sad and it endeared me to her forever.
4. Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles series by Patricia Wrede. She is another unconventional princess. Annoyed that no one was willing to teach her all the stuff that were considered unprincesslike to learn and even more annoyed that her parents were going to arrange her marriage with some neighboring prince, Cimorene decided to run away and work for a dragon. She goes on to have adventures, foiling evil plots, saving her dragon boss from bad wizards, and recovering stolen swords.
5. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Who can forget Anne Shirley with her red hair, hot temper, chatterbox ways, and overly romantic imagination? She frustrates the grown-ups around her with her antics and mistakes (like getting her friend drunk on currant wine by accident). Nevertheless, her openness and kindness captures their hearts. We get to see her grow up in the book (and throughout the series) and witness her transformation from tempestuous preteen (at one point, she cracks a slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head. He deserves it.) to stabilizing influence in the community and in the classroom (she becomes a teacher).
6. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. No explanation needed. Voldemort would have taken over the wizarding world early on in the series if she weren’t there to help Harry save the day!
7. Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Karana is a Nicoleño Indian girl girl, whose tribe ends up being devastated by a war with the Aleut people. When her brother, Ramo, misses the ship to bring their entire tribe to the mainland, Karana jumps off the ship and swims back to the island (pretty badass!). When he is killed by wild dogs, she is left all alone on the island. She becomes completely self-sufficient and survives by hunting and fishing for her own food, building her own weapons, setting up her own shelter, and fighting her own battles. She eventually makes peace with one of the dogs who attacked her brother and befriends an Aleutian girl who later arrives on the island.
Others include Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Harry Crewe from Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sophie Hatter from Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle, Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, Sadako from Eleanor Coerr’s Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, and Princess Elizabeth from Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess.
Who were your favorite childhood heroes and heroines from children’s literature?
Job title: Learning & Research Services Librarian, and Liaison to the School of Arts & Sciences
Location in Library: Floor 2
Tell us what you do in 50 words or less: Think of me as your personal research consultant! I can help you to figure out how to get started with a research project, and what to do when you’re facing a fork in the road. I can help you to uncover what information you need to meet your goals, and coach you on how to find it.
Choose one service that your department provides that you most want the Wheelock community to be aware of: We offer drop-in research help every day from noon until close. Just stop by the front desk and you’ll be on your way. We also offer consultation services to faculty who are developing syllabi, choosing readings and videos, and creating research assignments. Maric and I can link you to books, articles, and videos that are available through the library and support the curriculum you are teaching. We are also happy to help consider ways to structure assignments that involve library and internet research, and to provide research instruction to students in the form of class visits, library workshops, video tutorials, one-on-one appointments, and more. Get in touch and let us know how we can help you to meet your teaching goals!
What is a typical work day like for you? My typical work day involves helping library users at the front desk and via email, planning and teaching library research workshops, and conducting one-on-one research consultations. There’s usually some behind-the-scenes administrative work to be done too.
What is your favorite website? The Biodiversity Heritage Library is such a rich source of historic literature in the biological sciences. The BHL digitizes books from the world’s top natural history libraries (think Smithsonian, Harvard, etc.) and makes them freely available online. Many of these books have beautiful illustrations that are online and in the public domain.
What is your favorite book in the Wheelock Library collection? I am not typically a reader of fantasy, but Graceling by Kristin Cashore is such a fun and imaginative book. I like to imagine what my grace might be…probably sleeping.
When I’m not at work, you can find me…birding at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, indulging in a chocolate croissant at Tatte, or hiking a mountain somewhere.
Last updated 7/28/2015