Portion of the dictionary definition of History

For families looking for inspiring books for their children to read this summer or later in the year, consider these children’s books selected to receive Septima P. Clark Book Awards for 2023.

Since 2019, the National Council for the Social Studies has chosen nonfiction trade books for this award that accurately reflect women’s issues, perspectives, and stories and are thoroughly researched, well written, and indicate originality. 

Septima Clark, the educator and civil rights activist for whom this award is named, is credited with writing, “I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.” 

Elementary winner and honorees:

  • “Bessie the Motorcycle Queen” by Charles Smith, illustrated by Charlot Kristensen

  • “A Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth” by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Down Phumiruk

  • “Annette Feels Free” by Katie Mazeika

Middle/Intermediate winner:

  • “Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women” by Christine McDonnell, illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov

  • “Pauli Murray: The Life of a Pioneering Feminist & Civil Rights Activist” by Rosita Stevens-Holsey and Terry Catasús Jennings

  • “Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Women’s Case For Equality and Respect” by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford

“The authors of each winning title or honoree book highlight the experiences of those who, like (Septima) Clark, were impacted by their historical and geographic context while also being agents of change,” said Septima P. Clark Book Awards Committee member Jennifer L. Gallagher. “Importantly, this year’s awardees include ‘Pauli Murray: The Life of a Pioneering Feminist & Civil Rights Activist,’ a text that reminds readers and our social studies community that gender binaries stifle our understanding of history and the social world. Murray, who like Clark was both an educator and an activist, challenged gender and racial binaries and hierarchies at every turn.” For more information about Pauli Murray, visit www.paulimurraycenter.com.