Amelia to Zora<br><font size=2> Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World</font>

Amelia to Zora
Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World

  • 795

By: Cynthia Chin-Lee / Illustrated by: Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

Women who inspired and changed the world!

“You’ve got to loosen your girdle and really let her fly!”
Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1914–1956)

“We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place—or not to bother.”
Jane Goodall (1934– )

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”
Oprah Winfrey (1954– )

“The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.”
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900–1990)

History has always relied on the contributions of women. But these contributions have often gone unrecorded or unnoticed. In Amelia to Zora, 26 women and their unique voices, visions, and victories are registered. Young readers will find inspiration and motivation in each woman’s story and her powerful message.

From sports figures like Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Kristi Yamaguchi to scientists, such as Grace Hopper, and writers, such as Zora Neale Hurston, our world has been influenced by women and their hard work and zeal for the life they love.

Beautiful, intricate collages spotlight each woman and her special gift.

Read an excerpt!

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Cynthia Chin-Lee, author

Cynthia Chin-Lee was born and raised in Washington, D.C., in a family with four older siblings. Her father is a medical doctor and her mother an artist. Cynthia picked up a pen and began writing for fun when she was in the sixth grade. "I liked writing poetry and scribbling in my journal because I found it comforting and therapeutic. I still write for that reason and because I like playing with words." Cynthia has written several books for children and lives in California.

Read more about Cynthia.

Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, illustrators

Megan Halsey has illustrated more than two dozen books for children, including 3 Pandas Planting (Bradbury Press), which she also wrote, and Anne Rockwell’s One Bean (Walker Books). She lives in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.

Read more about Megan.

Sean Addy received his B.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. His graphic design work has appeared in many papers and magazines. Sean lives in Port Jervis, New York.

Read more about Sean.

Awards & Honors:


  • Book Sense Children's Picks List
  • ABC Best Books for Children
  • NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • Bookbuilders of Boston New England Book Show Winner
  • CCBC Choices
  • IRA/CBC Children's Choices
  • Amelia Bloomer Project
  • Legacy Book Award
  • Book Links Best New Books for the Classroom
  • 49th Annual New England Book Show Juvenile Book Award
  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year


Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

With spirited language and marvelous collages, an abecedarium of contemporary women takes flight. Chin-Lee doesn't attempt, in her single page of text, to do anything but evoke the lives of her subjects, but she does that powerfully. For each woman, she tells an anecdote or illuminates a single action rather than summarize an entire life. Each page also includes a quotation from her subject. By using their given names instead of their family names, she not only personalizes her approach, but also creates an intimacy between these women and their readers. D is for Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers; G is for Grace Hopper, who helped create COBOL and popularized the term "bug" for computer errors; O is for Oprah; U is fro Ursula Le Guin, writer and activist. The collages use everything from cloth, photographs, pen-and-ink drawings, found objects and dried flowers to make images that invite repeated examination. Many of these women are still alive and working; the earliest birth date is Helen Keller's in 1880. An inspiration and a delight.

Booklist, starred review

There are many books on women and the strides that they've made, but this one is very smart—in design, art, and choice of subject. Some choices are expected, but others, such as Pueblo painter Quah Ah and Egyptian doctor and activist Nawal El Sadaawi, are unusual. Chin-Lee uses her subjects' given names, as family names mostly relate to fathers or husbands. The illustrations are done in a remarkable mix of media. Against textured backgrounds, an image of each woman in signature moment takes center stage: Babe Didrikson, looking like a paper doll in a cutout photo, takes a swing. Inventor Grace Hopper is shown with calculations and sun-shaped pieces of metal bursting out of the top of her head. The text portions are short—only several paragraphs about each woman—but they are enticing. By choosing her subjects from every culture, the author introduces children to the scope of the struggles and achievements of women from many times and many places.

School Library Journal

A selection of women who took unusual paths over the past century, this roster mixes such familiar figures as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa with the less-well-known likes of Union activist Dolores Huerta, artist Quah Ah, and astronomer Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin. Each profile notes some childhood incident along with major accomplishments and is paired to a semi-abstract collage portrait. It's not the most detailed collective biography around, but it's one of the most diverse in terms of its subjects' cultural backgrounds and range of achievements.

Book Links

This collection of descriptions of 26 women who have made history includes both famous and lesser-known figures and features intriguing mixed-media artwork.

Bookselling This Week

"This has got to be the best biography/history book for young readers that I have read in some time. I loved both the concise bios and the wealth of information."
—Kelly Peroni, High Sierra Books, Portola, CA

CCBC Choices

In 26 brief biographical portraits, author Cynthia Chin-Lee offers children the opportunity to learn about accomplished women from nay nations in many fields, and to also consider the ways childhood experiences and interests can influence what children grow up to do. Each woman is initially identified by her first name (to correspond to a letter of the alphabet) and a few words summarizing her life's work. ("N is for Nawal, medical doctor, writer, and fighter for women's rights" begins the profile of Nawal Ed Sadaawi.) Each profile starts by touching on one or more aspects of the individual's childhood that can be seen as connecting in one way or another to the work she became known for as an adult. The text then summarizes each woman's accomplishments. In this diverse and dynamic mix, a few of the women chosen have been the subject of works for children (e.g., Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller), but the majority are fresh names and faces. All of them are presented with a lively, engaging blend of Chin-Lee's narrative and Megan Halsey and Sean Addy's fascinating visual interpretation of the women's lives, such as the portrait of architect Maya Lin that includes a rubbing of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial she designed.


From Amelia Earhart to Zora Neale Hurston, this eclectic survey introduces 26 notable women from a wide variety of fields and an amazing array of backgrounds. Organized alphabetically by given name rather than family name, each entry includes two paragraphs. One proves biographical tidbits, and the other summarizes the person's accomplishments. An inspirational quotation sis also attached to each entry. The mixed-media illustrations are imaginative and intriguing, each very well suited to the subject. As the actual information for each woman is minimal, this is better suited for browsing than for school reports. In an appended note, the author explains her intent to "Encourage further study of each woman."

Library Media Connection

This book provides brief biographical sketches about contemporary and historical women from various cultures and nations. Cynthia Chin-Lee includes both well-known figures, such as Oprah Winfrey and Eleanor Roosevelt, and figures who are more obscure, such as Nawal El Sadaawi and Quah Ah. Quotes from our about each woman extend the reader's understanding of the biographees, and compelling multimedia illustrations provide fitting accompaniment to each biographical sketch. Vocabulary and sentence structure are appropriate for intermediate and middle school readers who may be put off by the picture book format. Librarians may have problems placing this otherwise quality publication. This book remains a good jumping-off point for further reading.

Learning Magazine

This book features females who've made a difference. Meet 1932 Olympic gold medal winner Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Egyptian women' rights activist Nawal El Saadawi, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller, and 22 other outstanding women.

Christian Home & School

This book introduces readers to 26 women who made a difference. The book arranges entries alphabetically and includes a two-paragraph biography of each woman, a quote from the woman, and a mixed media illustrations. Reader meet some famous women, such as Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, and Mother Teresa, but there are also surprises, such as Egyptian doctor and activist Nawal El Sadaawi, Burmese freedom fighter Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and Chinese journalist Chen Xiefen.

The information is concise, just enough to whet the reader's interest. Although they represent varied fields, these women are alike in their strength, courage, determination, and inspiration.

Tempo Magazine

Twenty-six amazing women—twenty-six amazing stories. From Amelia Earhart, pilot and adventurer, to Zora Neal Hurston, writer and anthropologist, learn about the hardships and triumphs that inspired each woman to change her world and the world around her.

NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

This is a wonderful introduction to the range of contemporary women's struggles and accomplishments. An international woman is highlighted for each letter of the alphabet.



ISBN: 978-1-57091-523-9

ISBN: 978-1-60734-178-9 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 8+
Page count: 32
11 x 81/2

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