Marching Womens History: Profiles in Fashion

Before I start today’s feature, please let me mention two ways to help Japan that my interest you. If you visit PaperTigers blog, you can find out a couple of very creative sites that are raising money for Japan via artwork, books donate by authors and author thoughtful initiatives.





Profiles in Fashion: Vera Wang by Lisa Petrillo 

Morgan Reynolds Publishing, 2011


Like many young adult biographies, Vera Wang is part of a series. While the cover is meant to give the illusion of satin from one of Wang’s design, it appears as a flat, white sheet. This may distract readers who are not already familiar with Wang’s work from wanting to read this book. I’ve read several biographies about women where I learned more about the events that surrounded the subject so, consequently I approach books in non-fiction series with caution. This book truly focuses on Wang’s life beginning with the early travels of her family that introduced her to elegance to the important role her father played in her career. Vera’s story is clearly told. It’s easy to look at someone who is so successful and not realize they had to work their way to the top, as Wang humbly did. I do wish the book would give us a better idea of what it was like for an Asian American woman to rise in a sea of European men. I think seeing how she overcame such obstacles would prepare young girls of color in industries that remain male dominated. The book is printed on very poor quality paper that distracts from really nice photography work.  Until I can afford a Vera Wang creation of my own, this book will have to do!

The book is well documented with source and bibliographic information.


Marching Womens History: Speak!!!!

Speak so you can speak again: The life of Zora Neale Hurston by Lucy Ann Hurston and the Zora Neale Hurston Estate; 2004 Doubleday

“That hour began my wanderings. Not so much in geography, but in time. Then not so much in time as in spirit.”

This biography of Zora Neale Hurston was written by her niece, Lucy Anne Hurston. Zora’s life is documented through an interactive collection of photographs, poetry, articles, cards, handwritten notes and a CD with never before published poems.  As appealing as the book becomes with these life-like additions, this is not picture book! Hurston tells a rich story of her aunt who lived and worked in the early twentieth century as an anthropologist, journalist, essayist, playwright and novelist.

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”



Color Online (written by Karen L. Simpson)

“Mama exhorted her children to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”

Marching Womens History: Birthdays

Happy 12 March birthday to Virginia Hamilton and Naomi Shihab Nye

I really needed a smile today. It’s beginning to feel like this world is falling apart and I just wanted a feel good kind of thought. So, I found some really nice things by these wonderful ladies. I hope they make you feel good, too.

Naomi Shihab Nye was born in 1952 to a Palestinian father and American mother. She is a poet most know for her published collections of poems and anthologies.

Virginia Hamilton was a distinguished writer of children’s books. She lived from 1934-2008.

Marching Womens History: Headwraps

Georgia Scott, Art Director, NY Times

In, 2000, Georgia Scott became fascinated with the fad in the US Black community of wearing headwraps. Her passions overtook her, she re-arranged her life and parted for a year-long voyage to discover why women in various parts of the globe cover their heads, who wears headwraps and what they have in common. She seemed to have found more variations than commonalities. Head coverings can be made of silk, muslin, gauze, wool or other fabrics that are tied, wrapped, folded or twisted.

In many countries, such as India, Jamaica, Kenya, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates, they are worn mainly for religious reasons. The way a headscarf is worn in the United Arab Emirates, for example, not only indicates a woman’s country of origin, but also hints at her interpretation of the Qu’ran and its edicts on feminine modesty. In other regions, headwraps reinforce social differences, distinguishing the wealthy from the poor, men from women and clans from other clans. Or they mark major events. In some ethnic communities in rural China, for example, a headwrap indicates a woman’s coming-of-age: the embroidery work on the turban of a young Yao woman in the mountains of Thailand indicates that she is able to make clothes for the family and is therefore ready for marriage. In some countries headwraps are an integral part of daily life. In Morocco, Mali and Niger, for example, harsh climate conditions make headwraps a daily necessity, while in other countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, traditional headwarps are reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and official state functions.

Headwraps are worn in atleast 44 countries in the worlds. In her travels, Scott traveled to 32. While she includes men’s head coverings in her writing, she admits what they wear pales by comparison to the women’s attire. The use of headwraps in these countries is changing through the effects of globalization. Scott has been able to document important cultural images and offer interesting insights to the nuances of what is worn on heads around the globe.

The bright, attractive photos will attract reluctant readers while students who are interested in history, geography, cultural and women’s issues will naturally gravitate to this book.