In an effort to share stories about notable women in history, a 16-year-old student has recently published her first book. Aptly titled, “How to Make HERSTORY,” the book is divided into different portions acknowledging different types of female leadership throughout history.

Author Anne Chen, a junior at the Newport Coast-based Sage Hill School, spoke with Irvine Weekly to share the inspiration behind her recent accomplishment. 

Chen said she had the intention of sharing the importance of not only female leaders throughout history, but also championed female activists as well. 

“I wanted to do a play on the word history, and make it ‘her story’,” Chen explained. “The term has been around for a while now, and it’s been used constantly as a way of looking at women’s history through a feminist lens and looking at women’s stories because oftentimes they are overlooked.”

In describing the literary landscape of HTMH, Chen said she chose women that inspire her along with the women she admires. 

“There are three sections – there’s leaders and activists, trailblazers and storytellers. These are women that I’ve profiled – I would say they’re stories, or more like mini biographies. The top two for me are Juliette Gordon Low, who is the founder of the Girl Scouts of America and Ruth Bader Ginsberg – but I also wanted to focus on some women who aren’t very prominent,” she said. “But aside from that I decided to include Florence Nightingale which is dedicated to my sister, and for my mom I included Anna May Wong and Mya Lin because those are two people that she is really inspired by.”

Alternatively, Chen added that she hopes to spark creative inspiration in her readers with different guided activities, which are found throughout the book. 

“There’s a lot of activity – Anna May Wong is an actress and one of the activities that goes along with that is, making your own movie poster about your life and casting actors or actresses who you would want to play the people in your life,” she explained. “Fun things like that, that relate to these female figures.”

As an Ambassador Scout in the Girl Scouts of America, Chen added that she wants to lead by example. In addition to publishing the book, Chen held a workshop at GEMFest on March 25, to inspire her peers to step outside of their comfort zone when it comes to following their dreams.  

“As a girl scout, one of the biggest things is to be a changemaker. I want to teach other girls how to do that as well, so that’s how I came up with the ‘How To’ Part,” Chen said.

Chen spent nearly three years formulating ideas around the project.  

“I started writing the book last summer,” she said. “But even before I started writing, some of the challenges I faced were just thinking about how I wanted to approach the project, and ultimately I decided to go with writing the book and leading the workshop.”  

While Chen does not have a specific university in mind at this point, she says that history and gender studies could be potential areas of focus once she graduates from Sage Hill School.

How to Make HERSTORY can be found on Amazon.

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