Shaking Things Up

A variety of sources were consulted to write this book, including websites, books, lectures, newspapers, and videos. Susan Hood also had conversations with museum and library experts and interviewed some of the subjects. You can find many of the women in the book profiled here:


Encyclopedia Britannica:

MAKERS, the largest video collection of women’s stories:

National Women’s Hall of Fame:

National Women’s History Museum:


Molly Williams kindled a radical idea—that women were strong and brave enough
to fight fires.

Note: I used primary sources were used to correct the many errors circulating on the internet about Molly. For example, some say the famous snowstorm was the Blizzard of 1818, but Molly would have
been seventy-one by then; the actual date is probably in the early 1780s.

Sources are conflicted about whether Molly was an indentured servant or a slave. New York City Fire Museum records show she arrived in New York City as an indentured servant, where she married a slave. Many assume that would affect her status, but according to Dr. Leslie Harris, co-editor of Slavery in New York, there was no NY law enslaving spouses through marriage in the 1780s.

Sources: “As good a fire laddie as many of the boys who . . . bragged at being such.”:
Dennis Smith’s History of Firefighting in America (Doubleday, 1980)

Given the time period, most of what we know about Molly comes from researching her
husband, Peter Williams Sr., who formed the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1796.

Protest and Progress: New York’s First Black Episcopal Church Fights Racism
(Studies in African American History and Culture)
by John Hewitt (Routledge, 2000)

Further Resources
Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter
by Dianne Ochiltree, illustrated by Kathleen Kemly (Calkins Creek, 2012); ages 6 and up

“Heroes of Ground Zero,”

About the illustrator:
Shadra Strickland has won the Ezra Jacks Keats Award and was the recipient of the
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. She teaches illustration at Maryland
Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the illustrator of 
 and Loving vs. 

More Books
Spot art
Molly Williams Badge

Mary Anning dug up irrefutable evidence of evolution and extinction, shaking up the commonly accepted story of creation from the Bible.

Notes: Sources debate the dates of the ichthyosaur find and Mary’s age at the time. Mary’s brother found the skull in 1811, according to his son, but Mary found the entire skeleton in 1812. The Western Flying Post (a newspaper of the time) reported that the final excavation occurred in November 1812. Mary, born in May 1799, would have been thirteen years old.

The 1908 tongue twister “She sells seashells by the seashore,” by Terry Sullivan, was inspired by Anning.

Sources: “The greatest fossilist the world ever knew.”: Hugh Torrens, “Presidential Address:
Mary Anning (1799–1847) of Lyme; ‘The Greatest Fossilist the World Ever Knew’,” The British Journal for the History of Science,

The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World
by Shelley Emling (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Further Resources
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins (Atheneum, 2016);
ages 10-12

Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon by Jeannine Atkins, illustrated by Michael Dooling
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999); ages 5-10

Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning by Laurence Anholt, illustrated by Sheila Moxley (Orchard, 1998); ages 6-9

BBC site for kids:

“Mary Anning, an Amazing Fossil Hunter” by Sarah Zielinski, Smithsonian blog, January 5, 2010,

Lyme Regis Museum: “Mary Anning,”

“The Greatest Fossil Hunter Ever Known,” Tom Feilden, August 29, 2009,

“Mary Anning,” Famous Scientists,

About the illustrator:
Hadley Hooper is an illustrator and fine artist who lives in Denver, Colorado. She has illustrated The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse and Another Way to
Climb a Tree


Nelly Bly upended the nineteenth-century notion that a woman’s place was in the home
and helped blaze a path for a new style of newspaper reporting—investigative journalism.

Sources: “If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”:
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings by Nellie Bly (Penguin, 2014)

Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly by Sue Macy (National Geographic, 2009);
ages 10 and up

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World
by Matthew Goodman (Ballantine, 2013)

Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter,
Nellie Bly
by Deborah Noyes (Viking, 2016); ages 10 and up

Further Resources
The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter by Bonnie Christensen (Knopf, 2003); ages 5-8

Download Nellie’s newspaper articles and her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days
and Other Writings
online here:

“Nellie Bly’s Record-Breaking Trip Around the World Was, to Her Surprise, a Race,” by Marissa Fessenden, January 25, 2016,

“American Experience: Around the World in 72 Days,”

About the illustrator:
Lisa Brown is a New York Times bestselling illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. Some of her illustrated books for young people include How to Be, Picture the Dead, Emily’s Blue Period, Mummy Cat, and Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket, to whom she is allegedly married.
Her book The Airport Book was awarded the 2017 California Book Award. She lives in
San Francisco and teaches illustration at the California College of the Arts.

Nellie Bly Spot Art

Annette Kellerman championed athleticism for women’s health and
self-confidence and popularized a new kind of swimsuit, freeing women from the
confines of corsets and pantaloons.

Note: Sources disagree about Annette’s birth date and the date of her arrest. According to
author Shana Corey, her birth certificate says July 6, 1886, and many other primary sources
place her at Revere Beach in July 1908.

Sources:“I want to swim. And I can’t swim wearing more stuff than you hang on a clothesline.”:

“A Historic Bathing Suit: Changing Modesty and the Functionality of Swimwear in the United States” by Emily Carpenter, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Australian Dictionary of Biography entry by G. P. Walsh,

Further Resources
Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic, 2009);
ages 4-8

News article about Annette’s arrest with photos showing the evolution of bathing suits from
1830 to 1928, “This Woman’s One-Piece Bathing Suit Got Her Arrested in 1907” by Kristin Toussaint,, July 2, 2015,

Film: A film about Kellerman, starring Esther Williams, Million Dollar Mermaid,
directed by Mervyn LeRoy, 1952

About the illustrator:
Emily Winfield Martin is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book The Wonderful Things You Will Be. She lives amongst the fir trees in Portland, Oregon, and works in a studio of treasures and old wind-up toys.

Annette Kellerman

Pura Belpré translated “English-only” libraries into multicultural centers that reflected the growing Spanish-speaking population in New York City. Her work validated the Hispanic experience and opened windows to the world for all.

Note: There is some discrepancy about Belpré’s birth date. It’s been reported as
February 2,1899, December 2, 1901, and February 2, 1903; the earliest date is the
most accepted.

Sources“I wished to be like Johnny Appleseed . . . to plant my story seeds across the land.”:
The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré, the Legendary
Storyteller, Children’s Author, and New York Public Librarian
, edited by Lisa Sánchez González
(Centro Press, 2013)

Guide to the Pura Belpré Papers,

Further Resources
The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre
(Lee & Low, 2008); ages 5-8

Pura Belpré Award,

Centro Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Featured Galleries; Pura Belpré,

“Pura Belpré, in Her Own Words: NYPL Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month”
by Jean Harripersaud, New York Public Library, September 13, 2013,

Pura Belpré Documentary and Teaching Guide,

About the illustrator:
Sara Palacios earned her BFA and MFA in illustration at the Academy of Art University in
San Francisco. The recipient of the 2012 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor Award, her previous picture book illustrations include Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match and Agnes and Clarabelle.
She lives in San Francisco, California.


Frida Kahlo illustrated that disability doesn’t have to destroy dreams.

Sources: “I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”; “I am the subject I know best.”; “I paint my own reality.”: “Mexican Autobiography,” Time Magazine (April 27, 1953)

“Frailty, thy name is woman” from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera (Harper, 1983)

Further Resources
Frida by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Ana Juan (Arthur A. Levine, 2002); ages 4-8

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Their Lives and Ideas by Carol Sabbeth (Chicago Review, 2005); ages 9 and up

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra (NorthSouth, 2017); ages 4-8

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, photography by Tim O’Meara (Roaring Brook, 2014); ages 4-8

Wonderful photos of Frida at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art exhibit,

Frida Kahlo and Contemporary Thoughts,

Parents’ Guide to The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo, a film by Amy Stechler,

About the illustrator:
Erin K. Robinson is a fashion designer by trade and a trained fine artist from Parsons
School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art. She has had her illustrations featured in
the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Village Voice, among other publications.
She is currently working on her first illustrated book, a period piece focused on the civil
rights movement.

Paint Brushes
Pura Belpre
Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne

Frances Moore Lappé stirred the pot, changing forever the way Americans
eat in an effort to solve world hunger and preserve the planet.

Sources: “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.”: interview with Frances Moore Lappé

Diet for a Small Planet, 20th anniversary edition, by Frances Moore Lappé (Ballantine, 2011)

Further Resources
Frances Moore Lappé biography, Small Planet Institute,

“Why Are We Creating a World That No One Wants?” Frances Moore Lappé’s TED Talk,

“If You Think Eating Is a Political Act, Say Thanks to Frances Moore Lappé” by Allison Aubrey, NPR, September 22, 2016,

“Interview Transcript: Frances Moore Lappé on Why She’s Reinventing Herself,” interview
with Kathy Kiely of Bill Moyers, November 11, 2016,

About the illustrator:
Melissa Sweet is the illustrator of more than one hundred books, including Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women and Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. Her most recent book, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, was a
New York Times bestseller.

Frances Moore Lappé
Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges schooled Jim Crow America by making the Supreme Court’s
landmark decision to end segregation a reality.

Sources: “Kids know nothing about racism. It’s adults [who] pass it on to kids.”
“Ruby Bridges Shares the Key to Overcoming Racism,”

“Don’t look back.” Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (Scholastic, 1999); ages 8–12

“never missed a day. “Ruby Bridges: The Story,”

Further Resources
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by
E. B. Lewis (Bloomsbury, 2016); ages 6-9

Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story by Ruby Bridges (Scholastic, 2009); ages 4-8

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles, illustrated by George Ford (Scholastic, 2010);
ages 4-8

“Q&A with Ruby Bridges,” Junior Scholastic,

“Ruby Bridges: A Simple Act of Courage,”

“Civil Rights Pioneer on First-Grade Teacher: ‘She Showed Me Her Heart’,”

“Ruby Bridges, Rockwell Muse, Goes Back to School,”

“My Story: Mrs. Lucille Bridges,” interview with Ruby’s mother,

About the illustrator:
Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration.
She’s the author and illustrator of the forthcoming picture book
Thank You, Omu! She enjoys
creating warm stories that celebrate people coming together. She lives in Providence,
Rhode Island.


Mae Jemison launched African American women into space and now advocates for
minorities in math and science.

Sources: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”: “Mae Jemison: The First
African American Woman in Space and First Real Astronaut on Star Trek” by Jolene Creighton,
December 21, 2015,

“Don’t you mean a nurse?”; “scaredy cat”: Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life
by Mae Jemison (Scholastic, 2001); ages 12 and up

“I remember being . . . irritated that there were no women astronauts.”

Further Resources
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington (HarperCollins, 2018);
ages 4-8

Facts about Endeavour and Jemison’s flight:

Mae Jemison’s website,

The Earth We Share, Mae Jemison’s international science camp,

About the illustrator:
Isabel Roxas was born in the Philippines and now lives in New York, where she writes and
illustrates stories, designs books, and works on ceramics. She’s the illustrator for Let Me Finish!
and Day at the Market. Her latest picture book is The Littlest

Mae Jemison
Maya Lin

Maya Lin broke new ground with her modern vision in architecture.

Sources: “To fly we have to have resistance.”: And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of
Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker, revised edition
Ashton Applewhite, William R. Evans III, and Andrew Frothingham (Thomas Dunne, 2003)

“I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth.”: “Making the Memorial” by Maya Lin,
New York Review of Books, November 2, 2000,

Maya Lin: Architect and Artist by Mary Malone (Enslow, 1995); ages 9 and up

Further Resources
Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Henry Holt, 2017); ages 4-8

Video tour of the memorial, “Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial,”

See more about the memorial and Maya’s other work from the National Endowment for the Arts, “Maya Lin,”

Watch the Academy Award–winning documentary “Maya Lin: A Clear Strong Vision,” 1995,

About the illustrator:
Julie Morstad is an award-winning illustrator and artist who lives in Vancouver, British
Columbia, with her family. Her picture books include Today, How To, and Bloom

Angela Zhang

Angela Zhang gave American medicine a shot in the arm, creating a possible cure 
for cancer.

Sources: “Failure is just an opportunity in disguise. You learn so much more from your
‘failures’ than anything else.”
: interview with Angela Zhang

Further Resources
“Breaking Down the Unknown,” Angela Zhang at TEDxTeen,

“Teen Creates Cancer-Fighting Technique,” CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly,

“Cancer-Fighting Harvard Student Looks to a Future in STEM” by Mary Cirincione,
U.S. News & World Report, May 12, 2015,

About the illustrator:
LeUyen Pham
is an author-illustrator whose work includes All the Things I Love About You and Big Sister, Little Sister. Her illustration work also includes Grace for President and Princess in Black. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.


Malala Yousafzai risked death to teach the world to invest in education for girls.

Note: In 2017, the Malala Fund estimated that more than thirty-two million girls do not 
attend primary school and ninety-eight million are missing out on a secondary education.

Sources: “There’s a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.”
He Named Me Malala, directed by Davis Guggenheim, 2015

“They are misusing the name of Islam”: “Malala: We Must Talk to the Taliban to Get Peace,” 
BBC News, October 7, 2013,

“first word of the Holy Quran is . . . read”; “I am those sixty-six million girls who are deprived
of education”
: Malala Yousafzai—Nobel Lecture,

“Strength, power, and courage were born.” “Malala at Youth Takeover Event,” July 12, 2013,

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Little, Brown, 2013). Note: There are two young readers’ editions, in English and Spanish. (Little, Brown Books for Your Readers, 2014); ages 11-17

Further Resources
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George, illustrated by Janna Bock (Capstone Press, 2016); ages 8-11

Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala by Lina Maslo (Balzer + Bray, 2018); ages 4-8

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoët (Little, Brown, 2017);
ages 5–8

Read Malala’s diary for the BBC, “Moving Moments from Malala’s BBC Diary,”
October 10, 2014,

Find out more about the Malala Fund,

Watch Malala’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize:

About the illustrator:
Selina Alko is an author-illustrator living in Brooklyn, New York, who enjoys reading, collaging in her sketchbook, and dance-walking in Prospect Park. She frequently collaborates with her husband, author-illustrator Sean Qualls, for picture books such as The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage and Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt.

Malala Yousafzai
Poetry Notes

The poems in this book Shaking Things Up use a variety of simple poetry forms—alphabet poems, concrete poems, limericks—chosen to inspire young readers to compose their own poetry. Here’s more about each form:

“The Storyteller” about Pura Belpré uses words with initial letters from A to Z. A similar type of poem is an acrostic, in which the first letter of each line spells out the subject of the poem when read from top to bottom. 

“Buried Treasure” about Mary Anning is a concrete poem or a shape poem. Its words are arranged to form a picture of an object or person in the poem. It can rhyme or not.


“Woman of the World” about Nellie Bly uses both rhyming quatrains (four-line stanzas) and couplets (two-line stanzas).


“Full Circle” about Frances Moore Lappé is an abbreviated version of a cumulative poem in the spirit of “This Is the House That Jack Built.” Cumulative poems use repetition and refrains and usually go full circle, ending with a repetition of the first line.

An elegy like “A New Vision” about Maya Lin is used to praise or mourn the dead, so it often has a sad or somber tone, but no set form.


Many of the poems (“Books, Not Bullets” about Malala Yousafzai, “Broken” about Frida Kahlo,
“Lift-off” about Mae Jemison, and “Secret Agent Sisters” about Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne) are told in free verse, which does not rhyme and has no set meter. “Secret Agent Sisters” is a nod to poet E. E. Cummings’s experiments with lowercase letters, parentheses, and spaces. Cummings himself was accused of being a spy in France and was imprisoned during World War I.


“Turning the Tide” about Annette Kellerman is a limerick. It has five-line stanzas with a rhyme scheme of aabba. It usually has a humorous theme.


“Break It Down” about Angela Zhang is both a persona poem, written from the point of view of the subject, and a poem of address, in which the writer speaks to a person or object. In this poem, Angela addresses Science.

“Taking the Heat” about Molly Williams uses quatrains—one or more four-line stanzas. Some rhyme; some don’t. This one’s rhyme scheme is abcb.

“A New School” about Ruby Bridges is a question poem, in which a series of questions build to dramatic effect.

The stack of books in the art of “The Storyteller” about Pura Belpré, illustrates a spine poem—a collection of book titles arranged to form a poem.

Copyright © 2018 HarperCollins Publishers.  All rights reserved.
195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne are testaments to the courage of young
women who resisted the horrors of Nazism in World War II.

Source: “One of the best we have had.”; “It was a life in the shadows, but . . . I was suited for it.
After the war, I missed it.”
: A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies
in Occupied France
by Susan Ottaway (Little, Brown, 2013)

1947 British docudrama film all about SOE agents set in France after the Liberation, starring Jacqueline Nearne herself! School for Danger,

Further Reading
“Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89” obituary by John F. Burns, New York Times
September 21, 2010,

“Files Reveal Bravery of WWII Spy Eileen Nearne” by Laura Joint, BBC, September 21, 2010,

“Sister Secret Agents in World War II Fought Alongside Men” by Simon Worrall, National Geographic interview with the author of A Cool and Lonely Courage, November 21, 2014,

“My Aunts, the Unlikely Spies” by Joanna Moorhead, Guardian, March 30, 2013, niece’s
account of discovering her aunts’ mysterious past,

About the illustrator:
Sophie Blackall is a Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator from Australia and the granddaughter of a spy, who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She’s illustrated more than thirty picture books, including A Voyage in the Clouds and Finding Winnie.