YA Lit & Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of the contributions of women throughout American history. From academics like Temple Grandin to athletes like Serena Williams, women have broken barriers and left their mark on our society today. 

This journey has not been easy. Racism and bias make the fight for gender equality more difficult for women of color. Consider the 19th Amendment which, in 1920, made it illegal to deny any citizen the right to vote based on their sex. However, there were no legal protections against discrimination by race. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, that women of color were guaranteed the right to vote. This was less than 60 years ago. 

Young adult literature is a powerful genre in helping teenagers navigate the challenges of our society. Racism, sexism, gender discrimination, gun violence, mental health crises, and poverty are just some of the very real struggles that weigh on the minds of young people. Research has shown that depression has become increasingly more common in teenagers, especially in teenage girls, who are three times more likely than teenage boys to experience depressive episodes. Recent reports from the CDC have also shown a significant increase of teenage girls that have experienced sexual violence or contemplated suicide.

These are troubling facts, but literature can serve as an avenue to explore and validate these experiences. From influential biographies to powerful nonfiction stories to transformational works of fiction, check out these YA books from the Yonkers Public Library by and about women for Women’s History Month.

If you have an even younger reader in your life, check out this great blog post about new children’s books for Women’s History Month. If you’re looking for less young and more adult books, peruse some of the books from this blog, or look at some of these staff recommendations.

Alison Robles is a part-time page at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for YA lit, history and science fiction. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations.