Laura Alary

Laura Alary

Writing stories that make us bigger on the inside

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Rise: A Feminist Booklist 2023 Honoree

January 19, 2023

Rise: A Feminist Book Project has been promoting quality feminist literature since 2002 as part of the Feminist Task Force and Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.

Every year, the project compiles a list of “well-written and well-illustrated” books which “celebrate girls and women as a vibrant, vital force in the world.” It is important to the committee that the books selected focus on protagonists who consciously call out and work to eliminate sexism and other systemic prejudices, empowering and striving for the rights of others.

I am thrilled that The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell (written by me, illustrated by Ellen Rooney, and published by Kids Can Press) has been selected for the 2023 list.

One of the things that drew me to Maria Mitchell was how her sharp wit and critical thinking skills were bound together with generosity of spirit and a keen social conscience. She sought not only her own advancement, but that of her students and others who faced unjust limits on their growth and freedom.

As a professor and advocate for the higher education of women, she pushed back and spoke out against unreasonable rules and restrictions imposed on women. But she also challenged women themselves to set their expectations higher, and helped her students realize they were capable of more than they sometimes allowed themselves to imagine.

I’m grateful to Rise for helping make her story—and this book—more widely known.

You can see the full list of 2023 honorees here.

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