In response to the fact that 70% of children’s biographies are written about men, we developed the Amazing Women’s Edition program (AWE), the first national student book competition on local heroines. The AWE competition calls upon students to get to know women in their communities and to tell their rich and powerful stories. Book entries for the 2018 and 2019 contests ranged from women like Mayor Louise Carter-King, the first female mayor of Gillette, Wyoming, to a mom who delivers mail for the United States Post Office. The winning book was published and donated to low-income schools and public libraries in 10 states. Additionally, to promote the gender equity biographies and to develop the presentation literacy skills of the students, the winning writers made book presentations at local libraries via a community literacy tour.
Gender equality in books is important to me as a woman, as a mother of girls, and as someone working towards equality. I want people to know that this mission is dear to my heart and that I have put my heart into this work.
The initial TPP grant was the sole grant funding for the first year of the Amazing Women’s Edition program. Without the funding, this project might not have launched. One year after the grant award, we were able to attract additional funding support from Toyota and Heelys. Most recently, two new funders have reached out to support the initiative. TPP helped make all of this possible.
The increased grant funding will allow us to distribute books to more states and to reach more students to enter our contest. For each book entry that we receive, there are groups of students who have worked in teams to get to know women in their communities and to tell their stories. With this support, we will encourage more students to capture the power of the pen to write the narratives of gender equality that are important in their communities.