LEXINGTON, Ky. — A children’s book set to be released next month highlights the contributions of Kentucky women. “Bluegrass Bold: Stories of Kentucky Women” is co-authored by two Kentucky educators who saw a lack of women’s history being taught in textbooks and classrooms.

What You Need To Know

  • Children's book slated to be released in April highlights Kentucky women

  • The book is authored by two Kentucky educators

  • Over 30 Kentucky women are included in the book, some well-known and some lesser known figures

  • The book comes with online resources for students, teachers

Cover of "Bluegrass Bold." // COURTESY CARLY MUETTERTIES

Authors Carly Muetterties and Maddie Shepard, both former social studies teachers, said the history they’d been teaching felt incomplete. Recalling her time as a student and as a high school teacher, Muetterties said she wasn’t able to identify a lot of women who she could look up to. They also realized teachers had a lack of resources and instructional materials bringing diverse voices inside the classroom.

“The experience that I had as a student and Carly had as a student, and most learners have is that, whenever we learn about a person of color or a female voice, it’s kind of a footnote on the page. It’s a little box on the side…usually not as much page space or attention is given to those voices,” Shepard explained. “We wanted to position the voices and perspectives of women and Kentuckians of color as more than just a first or last but to share a much richer story within the context of Kentucky’s story.”

“Bluegrass Bold” is the quintessential “girl power” response to years of hidden women’s history, amplifying the voices of more than 30 Kentucky women. Their captivating stories, which range from scientists to butchers, are paired with colorful illustrations by female Kentucky artists, both professional and student artists.

The book includes well-known figures like Georgia Davis Powers, Ashley Judd, and Martha Lane Collins. It’s the lesser-known figures, however, that truly set this book apart from its predecessors. Marshall County High School students Hailey Case, Jordan Harrell, and Lily Dunn are among the modern-day “she-roes” included in the text. After the shooting at their school, the young women began advocating on behalf of gun legislation.

Marshall County High School students Hailey Case, Jordan Harrell, and Lily Dunn. // COURTESY CARLY MUETTERTIES

Muetterties even included a former student in the book. Mizari Suárez, a former Dreamer whom Muetterties taught at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, is recognized for being a modern-day activist and advocating on behalf of the Latinx community and immigration issues.

“I really wanted to include her as way to allow students and readers to see themselves in the stories,” Muetterties said. “Oftentimes, for myself and my former students, if you are only focusing on the big names, the famous people, it can sometimes feel unattainable.”

"Bluegrass Bold" aims to educate, empower, and inspire readers to get out and do something — to be bold.

“The big result we want is that young people, old people see part of themselves in these stories and feel emboldened to do something about their passions — to engage with their communities,” said Muetterties.

The book, set to be released in April 2021, comes with online resources for teachers and students. The authors are donating four classroom sets to Kentucky classrooms, following a successful crowdsourcing campaign. They’re encouraging people to nominate a deserving teacher or classroom on the book’s website