In time for Women’s History Month, FIRST LADIES

What’s The Big Deal About First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, ill. by Matt Faulkner

What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies

by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Just in time for Women’s History Month, I wanted to point out this great new book from Penguin that celebrates the many achievements of America’s First Ladies. What role have they played in shaping American politics and society? What do they do all day? What are the fun parts of being a first lady and what are the hard parts? What are the requirements and how did the role change over time?


As ambassadors, activists, hostesses, educators, historians and role-models, America’s First Ladies have changed the face of our nation. They have influenced their husbands (or, in the case of first ladies who were daughters or nieces or something else, their uncles and fathers) and changed policies. Mary Todd Lincoln was passionate about ending slavery, while Nancy Reagan fought against the problems of drug addiction. Edith Wilson helped decode secret messages from American’s partners or allies during World War I and Pat Nixon, in shaking hands with a patient with leprosy, showed the world that we shouldn’t be afraid to people suffering from illness and we should always be kind.

The most heart-warming part of this book for me, personally, was seeing what First Ladies have done to fight for women’s rights. Lou Hoover, a geologist, encouraged girls to pursue their dreams through the Girl Scouts, while Carrie Harrison fought for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to accept as many female applicants as possible.

This is an important book not just for Women’s History Month, but for any month and any day.


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