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Women's History Month at OCPL

Posted 03/09/23

Women's History Month at OCPL

Women's History Month is being celebrated this month at the Ohio County Public Library. A variety of programs for adults and children are being offered to celebrate the vital contributions that women have made to our community and society. Additionally, book displays are featured at the Ohio County Public Library that highlight some of the books from the OCPL collection regarding women's history.

OCPL Kids! Women's History Month Programs

Story Time & Toddler Time: Woman Author/Illustrator Spotlight - Each week we will focus on an woman author or illustrator.

Week of March 1 Vanessa Brantley Newton - 

Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement, and attended school in Newark, NJ. She was part of a diverse, tight-knit community and learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment at early age. 

Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, Vanessa includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.

​Vanessa celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz. Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art. 

The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.

March 1st - Story Time (Wednesday) The Queen of Kindergarten 

March 3rd - Toddler Time (Friday) Grandma's Purse

Week of March 6- Gaia Cornwall - JABARI JUMPS, Gaia's debut picture book from Candlewick Press, was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, and was featured in People Magazine, and The New York Times, among other accolades. Its companion book, JABARI TRIES, came out in 2020. All about being a Maker, persistence, teamwork and how-to-keep-your-cool-when-things-don’t-go-your-way (aka “Being A Human Is Hard”, Lesson #56) –and Jabari’s little sister gets a name!

In between, she illustrated THE UNICORN CAME TO DINNER, written by Lauren DeStefano, from Roaring Brook Press. Most recently, THE BEST BED FOR ME, from Candlewick Press, hit shelves in May 2022. Perfect for those kiddos who love animals and want bedtime stories to last all night long. At the moment, she's working on a picture book about walking in the woods and looking for ever elusive fairies. –Coming from Candlewick Press 2024.

March 6 & 10 - Toddler Time (Monday & Friday) - The Best Bed for Me

March 7 & 8 - Story Time (Tuesday & Wednesday) - The Unicorn Came to Dinner

Week of March 13- Thyra Heder - "Hello! I am an author and illustrator of picture books for children, and a storyboard and scenic artist for movies and TV, fashion and interior design, and currently an adjunct professor at Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. When I’m not drawing, I’m writing! In 2015 I was honored to be a Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and awarded the San Francisco Film Society Hearst Grant along with my friend, Brent Green.  My five picture books,  Fraidyzoo, The Bear Report, Alfie, How Do You Dance? and Sal Boat are published with Abrams Books for Young Readers and have received critical acclaim (phew!) and international translation (The Bear Report can be found in Korean, Chinese, and Russian!).  In 2018, Alfie was awarded an E.B. White Read Aloud Honor by the Association of Booksellers for Children.  I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA in a family of artists, and graduated from Brown University with a BA in Art Semiotics with a focus on film and video. (I will happily delve into the semiotic of anything over a beer or two.) I love to collaborate with artists of all kinds from my studio in Brooklyn, NY. I also love playing soccer, walking around New York City and drawing strangers." - Thyra Hefer

March 13 & 17 - Toddler Time (Monday & Friday) - How Do You Dan

March 14 & 15 - Story Time (Tuesday & Wednesday) - Fraidyzoo

Week of March 20 - Yuyi Morales - Yuyi Morales was born in Xalapa, Mexico in 1968. The influence of her Mexican birthright and culture is evident in all of her titles and helps to identify the power of heritage in the work of children’s picture books. Her family was made of avid storytellers, which laid a foundation of creative communication from the beginning of Yuyi’s life. She loved drawing from an early age, an interest that was encouraged growing up by her father. She studied physical education at university and spent several years as a swim coach because, at the time, illustration was not considered a “successful” career choice.

Yuyi immigrated to the United States as a new mother with her two-month-old son, Kelly, and his American father in 1994. During a difficult transition period, she was introduced by Kelly’s grandmother to a local public library. In the children’s book section, she found a gateway to her new life. Even if she did not know all of the words, she could determine the story through the pictures that communicated despite language barriers. In this way, she learned English alongside her son, Kelly. This initial introduction to a public library would lead her down a path to see her childhood dream of being an artist and storyteller come to fruition.

Yuyi is a six-time recipient of the prestigious Pura Belpré award, and the first Latina to receive a Caldecott honor for her book, Viva Frida, in 2015. Her books have been recognized with starred reviews in publications such as Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times and Booklist.

Yuyi’s stories are heavily influenced by her upbringing in Mexico and give poignant insight from an immigrant’s perspective. Dreamers, speaks to this experience and topic especially. However, pieces of her vibrant past make their way into her other titles as well. “As anyone who comes to a new country carries with her, with him, all those stories, I brought them with me, too, and I put them in my books all the time,” Morales has said.

March 20 & 24 - Toddler Time (Monday & Friday) - Bright Star

March 21 & 22 - Story Time (Tuesday & Wednesday) - Nino Wrestles the World

Week of March 27- Angela Dominguez - Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City and grew up in North Texas. She now resides on the east coast with her boyfriend, Kyle, and their petite dog, Petunia.

She is also the author and illustrator of several books for children and a two-time Pura Belpré Illustration Honoree. Her debut middle grade novel, Stella Díaz Has Something To Say, was a New York Public Library and a Chicago Public Library pick for Best Books for Kids, Sid Fleischman Award winner, and an ALA Notable. She recently illustrated the New York Times Bestseller, Just Help! How to Build a Better World, written by Sonia Sotomayor. When Angela is not in her studio or visiting schools, she teaches at the Academy of Art University, which honored her with their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

Angela is a proud member of SCBWI, PEN America, and represented by Wernick and Pratt Literary Agency. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. She’s delighted to still be doing both.

March 27 & 31 - Toddler Time (Monday & Friday) - Santiago Stays

March 28 & 29 - Story Time (Tuesday & Wednesday) - Let's Go Hugo

OCPL Kids! Special Women's History Month Programs

Monday, March 6th at 4:00pm - Read and Create - Frida Kahlo

We will read Frida by Jonah Winter and create a Wing Wall that will be displayed in the Children's Department for photos!

"Frida Kahlo, el nombre que impone un sello. La mujer que se convirtió en símbolo. La artista que trascendió los límites estrechos e imperfectos de su propia vida , para volverse gigante perdurando en el legado profundo y muchas veces impresionante de su obra pictórica. Todas las facetas más destacadas de su convulsionada vida están aquí; incluyendo los pasajes imperdibles de la tormentosa relación con otro de los grandes, Diego Rivera, el genio de los muralistas mexicanos. Mujer enigmática, sorprendente, implacable y genial. Convirtió su vida y la de todos los que la rodearon en una fiesta surrealista triste y contradictoriamente feliz. Aquí se habla de los antecedentes, el inicio y la posteridad. Se perfila la época que vivió la artista y se pormenorizan otros múltiples detalles que son trabajosamente juntados para terminar armando el puzzle de un relato biográfico impecable.

This long-awaited companion to Jonah Winter's acclaimed DIEGO features the paintings of young Spanish artist, Ana Juan. This stunning picture book is the perfect gift for art enthusiasts of all ages.

When her mother was worn out from caring for her five sisters, her father gave her lessons in brushwork and color. When polio kept her bedridden for nine months, drawing saved her from boredom. When a bus accident left her in unimaginable agony, her paintings expressed her pain and depression - and eventually, her joys and her loves. Over and over again, Frida Kahlo turned the challenges of her life into art. Now Jonah Winter and Ana Juan have drawn on both the art and the life to create a playful, insightful tribute to one of the twentieth century's most influential artists. Viva Frida!"


Monday, March 13th at 4pm - Read and Build- Bessie Coleman

We will read Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight by Karyn Parsons and build paper airplanes.

"Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane. Before she was performing death-defying flying shows, that would earn her fame as, 'Queen Bess.' Before she traveled the country speaking out against discrimination. Bessie was a little girl with a big imagination that took her to the sky, through the clouds, and past the birds.

Knocking down barriers, one by one, Bessie endured racism and grueling training to become the first female African-American pilot, and an inspiration to Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, and many more influential people of color for years to come."

Monday, March 20th at 4 pm - Read and Learn- Maria Merian 

We will read The Bug Girl by Sarah Glenn Marsh and learn about insects.

"The amazing story of a curious girl who became a pioneer in the field of entomology and scientific illustration.

Maria Sibylla Merian was fascinated with insects. But when Maria was a girl in the mid-1600s, superstitions about bugs prevented most people from taking a close look. People thought bugs were evil―and anyone interested in such creatures was surely evil too. That didn't stop Maria. Filled with curiosity, she began to study and paint them. She even witnessed silkworms form cocoons and transform into moths―discovering metamorphosis! Painting and drawing as she studied, Maria pushed the boundaries of what girls were expected to do, eventually gaining recognition as one of the first entomologists and scientific illustrators. This gorgeously illustrated biography celebrates a fascinating female pioneer who broke boundaries in both the arts and sciences."

Monday, March 27th at 4 pm - Read & Build -  Emily Roebling

We will read Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty and build a bridge using legos.

"On a warm spring day in 1883, a woman rode across the Brooklyn Bridge with a rooster on her lap.

It was the first trip across an engineering marvel that had taken nearly fourteen years to construct. The woman's husband was the chief engineer, and he knew all about the dangerous new technique involved. The woman insisted she learn as well.

When he fell ill mid-construction, her knowledge came in handy. She supervised every aspect of the project while he was bedridden, and she continued to learn about things only men were supposed to know:


Women weren't supposed to be engineers.

But this woman insisted she could do it all, and her hard work helped to create one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

This is the story of Emily Roebling, the secret engineer behind the Brooklyn Bridge, from author-illustrator Rachel Dougherty."

Lunch with Books Women's History Month Programs

March 07 - Noon - Trailblazing West Virginia Women

This land at the heart of Appalachia has a rich history of women who’ve been just fine being inconvenient, when it served their purpose. They’re women who’ve shown up in places they were expected to stay away from and spoken up when they were expected to be still. Women who’ve made people uncomfortable in defense of family, community, public health, equity, and common sense. Thanks to them, women today have their say in more dialogs than ever before. This Women’s History Month presentation honors some of the muckrakers, trailblazers, and glass ceiling–breakers whose mettle has amplified all of our voices.

West Virginia native Nikki Bowman Mills founded New South Media in 2008 and serves as president of the company, publisher, and editor-in-chief. Her mission was to create high-caliber publications that changed the perceptions of West Virginia by championing the state with positive stories. What started as a regional publishing company has exponentially grown into a national multimedia company. A consummate entrepreneur and founder of Turn This Town Around, Nikki champions small business development and entrepreneurship and has been honored with many tourism, small business, and media industry awards. She graduated from West Virginia University and received her master’s degree in writing from DePaul University in Chicago.

February 21 - Noon - WV History Alive! A Visit from Col. Ruby Bradley

When Colonel Ruby Bradley retired from the U.S. Army in 1963 she was the most decorated woman in American military history. A native of Spencer, West Virginia, Bradley was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1941 and was a POW until 1945. She continued her work as a nurse in the prison camp. She was named Chief Nurse for the Eighth Army in 1951 and supervised over 500 nurses in Korea. Bradley attained the rank of Colonel in 1958. Col. Bradley is portrayed by Becky Park of Charleston, courtesy the History Alive! program of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Digital Resources for Women's History Month

Explore eBooks, movies, music, eAudiobooks, comics and more hoopla Women's History Month Collection.

View the Collection

Learn More About the Wheeling Women History Legends Photographed

Ann Thomas

Betty Zane

Chickie Williams

Dr. Harriet B. Jones

Eileen Miller

Eleanor Steber

Harriette Shull “Hydie” Friend

Lucy Bagby

Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger

Margaret Brennan

Mollie O’Brien

Rebecca Harding Davis

Rosie Gacioch

Sister Mary Ignatius Farley, S.J.,

Susan Cox Hogan


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