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Today I bring to you a woman I admire—author Rachelle Burk. Among her many talents, she’s a former EMT, a professional clown, an RUCCL council member, an animal-lover, tea drinker, and all-around fantastic critique partner. Her newest book, WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD, was just released!

Cover background in yellow with title in purple lettering and four drawings of women on the cover---Jane Goodall, Frida Kahlo, Malala, and RBG.

Rachelle, there are so many women who changed the world! How did you narrow down the list of women to be featured?

The educational publisher, Rockridge Press (Callisto Media), provided me with a list of the women to be included in the book. It was important to present a group of women from around the world not only with diverse backgrounds, but also diverse accomplishments. The list of 14 women includes scientists, activists, artists, an Olympic athlete, a mathematician, a politician, and others. Rockridge Press has a chapter book biography series called THE STORY OF, which includes extraordinary men and women past and present. The women in this book were all featured in that series, but selected for what they accomplished specifically for women’s rights.

What sets this book apart from other PB biography collections of great women?

This book focuses on what these women did to further women’s rights and other feminist causes. For instance, people know that Harriet Tubman helped many enslaved people escape. But after the Emancipation, she became active in the fight for a woman’s right to vote! Amelia Earhart was not only the first woman to fly solo across the ocean, she also helped start a flying club just for women to encourage more of them to become pilots in this male-dominated pastime.

"Meet Harriet Tubman!"

"Meet Amelia Earhart!"

Which incredible woman in the book inspires you the most? 

That’s such a tough question. I admire them all. I suppose Malala stands out as someone who so valued education that, even as a child, she was willing to put her life on the line for her right to go to school, and paid the price. It really saddens me when I hear kids say that they hate school, not understanding what a privilege it is. They should all know about Malala.

"When Malala was growing up in Pakistan, girls were not allowed to go to school. Malala felt this wasn't fair. She loved school, so she broke the rules and went anyway."

Which incredible woman not in the book inspires you the most?

Even though my mother died when I was 10, she has never stopped inspiring me. She was a nurse, an active member of so many health and charitable organizations, and a volunteer in my elementary school (PTA president and Great Books leader). She loved animals and allowed me to collect a menagerie of pets. Even in the 60s she was advocating for (age appropriate) sex education in school. My mother, who loved to write and had a great sense of humor, was beloved by all.

A touching tribute—what a lovely woman she must have been, Rachelle. 

What do you hope young readers will take away after reading WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD?

Women have always accomplished big things, and this feminist book for little girls and boys is filled with the stories of strong women who used their unique gifts to make the world a better place.

Thank you for sharing your new book with us, Rachelle! WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD is available now from Rockridge Press!

Blog readers, post a comment telling us about a woman you admire and you’ll be entered to win a copy of WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD.

A random winner will be selected at the end of the month.

Good luck!

Rachelle Burk writes fiction and nonfiction for ages 2-12, including three other Rockridge Press titles. Her works include picture books, chapter books, and an award-winning science-adventure novel. She visits schools around the country with her dynamic Author Visit programs. New Orleans born and bred, she now lives in New Jersey. When she’s not writing, Rachelle loves adventure travel and scuba diving with her husband and daughters. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter @Rachelleburk.

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