Great books

Plucky picture-book heroine defies discrimination

In The Bag! by Monica Kulling/David Parkins“In The Bag!” by Monica Kulling, illustrated by David Parkins

Here is a lovely, empowering book you should read with your kid for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a terrific book, a good story with wonderful illustrations. Second, it’s empowering for girls. It teaches a young generation—that sometimes can’t believe that women were ever discriminated against in North America—about women’s struggle for equality. Third, it’s a biography–a great way to introduce the genre.

In The Bag! tells the real-life story of American Margaret Knight who, in the mid-1800s, became an inventor.

Kids will enjoy reading about how she invented something we all take for granted: a flat-bottomed paper bag. (Before that, we learn, “bags” were simply scrunched-up cones of paper.) While Knight starts out simply trying to solve a problem, kids will be amazed when she comes up against the “how can a woman be an inventor?!” mindset of the day.

It’s a book that can open up a really interesting dialogue with your kid. Or, at the very least, get him thinking about paper bags a little differently.


  1. Lisa Dalrymple

    I love the other two in the series as well. “It’s A Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph” and “All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine.”
    Thanks for sharing, Joyce!

  2. Thank you for this lovely review, Joyce. In particular, I love how you write at the end, “Or, at the very least, get HIM thinking about paper bags a little differently.” Right on!

    • Lol – that’s exactly what I was thinking as I wrote that, Monica. That boys need to get this message every bit as much as girls. So important.

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