In March I started reading biographies about famous women in history to my second graders. We are working toward doing some research on a famous person later this year, and I have been sharing information with them about biographies in general as well as reading some to them.
Before we even began, I asked if they knew of any famous women in history. The responses were about what I expected - they could name a few African American women - such as Harriet Tubman and Ruby Bridges, but not much beyond that.
Today I read Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough and am anxious to see my second grade students again. This biography is a great addition to our work, and it doesn't hurt that it is about a woman who helped create libraries for children, something I can't imagine living without.
Anne Carroll Moore is not a household name. In fact, I had never heard of her until I read Miss Moore Thought Otherwise. Now that I know more about her, I am surprised that I have worked in the library field and in a position where my main focus is getting children to read and have access to library books without knowing her name.
Moore was the youngest and only girl in a house with seven brothers. She loved being read to but didn't understand why children weren't even allowed inside of libraries. Apparently adults thought children were not responsible enough to take care of their books or return them on time. Despite the expectation to marry and have children, Moore's life took a different turn with the death of her parent and sister-in-law. Eventually she attended library school and took her first job in a New York City library.
While Moore wasn't the only person instrumental in allowing children to access libraries, her story is still remarkable. At book's end, historical notes containing information about other important dates and people in the development of children's libraries are available to readers wanting a broader perspective.
I've already ordered a copy for my own collection, happy to add a biography about someone so important to my childhood and to that of my own daughters.'