For women’s history month, now’s the perfect time to read books about women to your kiddos — strong women, smart women!
Last year I shared some of our favorite books about women for Women’s History Month, but there are just too many fabulous books to get them all in one list. You can find these children’s books about powerful women at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.
More Children’s Books about Women
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark: Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer: Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.
A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Picture Books): Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred. The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.
Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle: Life in the Ocean is one of The Washington Post‘s Best Kids Books of 2012! Sylvia Earle first lost her heart to the ocean as a young girl when she discovered the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico in her backyard. As an adult, she dives even deeper. Whether she’s designing submersibles, swimming with the whales, or taking deep-water walks, Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls “the blue heart of the planet.” With stunningly detailed pictures of the wonders of the sea, Life in the Ocean tells the story of Sylvia’s growing passion and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. This picture book biography also includes an informative author’s note that will motivate young environmentalists.
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian: In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings. This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.
Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World: In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, here is a biography of the pioneering environmentalist. “Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it,” wrote Rachel Carson, the pioneering environmentalist. She wrote Silent Spring, the book that woke people up to the harmful impact humans were having on our planet.
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor: Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Raúl Colón, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor. Marie Tharp was always fascinated by the ocean. Taught to think big by her father who was a mapmaker, Marie wanted to do something no one had ever done before: map the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Was it even possible? Not sure if she would succeed, Marie decided to give it a try.
Throughout history, others had tried and failed to measure the depths of the oceans. Sailors lowered weighted ropes to take measurements. Even today, scientists are trying to measure the depth by using echo sounder machines to track how long it would take a sound wave sent from a ship to the sea floor to come back. But for Marie, it was like piecing together an immense jigsaw puzzle.
Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth: After a childhood bout of polio left her with a limp, all Dorothea Lange wanted to do was disappear. But this desire not to be seen helped her learn how to blend into the background and observe others acutely. With a passion for the artistic life, and in spite of her family’s disapproval, Dorothea pursued her dream to become a photographer and focused her lens on the previously unseen victims of the Great Depression. This poetic biography tells the emotional story of Lange’s evolution as one of the founders of documentary photography. It includes a gallery of Lange’s photographs, and an author’s note, timeline, and bibliography.
Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois: Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) was a world-renowned modern artist noted for her sculptures made of wood, steel, stone, and cast rubber. Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high. Just as spiders spin and repair their webs, Louise’s own mother was a weaver of tapestries. Louise spent her childhood in France as an apprentice to her mother before she became a tapestry artist herself. She worked with fabric throughout her career, and this biographical picture book shows how Bourgeois’s childhood experiences weaving with her loving, nurturing mother provided the inspiration for her most famous works. With a beautifully nuanced and poetic story, this book stunningly captures the relationship between mother and daughter and illuminates how memories are woven into us all.
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist: Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference. Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.
So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909: When Clara arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast. But that didn’t stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.
Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen. From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words: The inspiring, true story of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who stands up and speaks out for every child’s right to education. Though she and two of her schoolmates were targeted by a Taliban gunman, a life-threatening injury only strengthened her resolve. Malala spoke at the U.N. on her 16th birthday in 2013, nine months after she was shot. Malala’s story is more than a biography of a brave and outspoken teenager. It is a testament to the power of education to change the world for boys and girls everywhere. “Winner of the California Reading Association’s 2015 EUREKA! Honor Award”
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / La juez que crecio en el Bronx (Spanish and English Edition): The inspiring and timely story of Sonia Sotomayor, who rose up from a childhood of poverty and prejudice to become the first Latino to be nominated to the US Supreme Court. Before Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her seat in our nation’s highest court, she was just a little girl in the South Bronx. Justice Sotomayor didn’t have a lot growing up, but she had what she needed — her mother’s love, a will to learn, and her own determination. With bravery she became the person she wanted to be. With hard work she succeeded. With little sunlight and only a modest plot from which to grow, Justice Sotomayor bloomed for the whole world to see.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead: In the 1950s, it was a man’s world. Girls weren’t supposed to act smart, tough, or ambitious. Even though, deep inside, they may have felt that way. And then along came Hillary. Brave, brilliant, and unstoppable, she was out to change the world. They said a woman couldn’t be a mother and a lawyer. Hillary was both. They said a woman shouldn’t be too strong or too smart. Hillary was fearlessly herself. It didn’t matter what people said—she was born to lead. With illustrations packed full of historical figures and details, this gorgeous and informative picture book biography is perfect for every budding leader. Includes a timeline, artist’s note, and bibliography.
Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote: When Alice Paul was a child, she saw her father go off to vote while her mother had to stay home. But why should that be? So Alice studied the Constitution and knew that the laws needed to change. But who would change them? She would! In her signature purple hat, Alice organized parades and wrote letters and protested outside the White House. She even met with President Woodrow Wilson, who told her there were more important issues to worry about than women voting. But nothing was more important to Alice. So she kept at it, and soon President Wilson was persuaded.
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music: Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World: A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times best seller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
If you like this list of picture books about women, you can find more inspiring books lists on The Jenny Evolution!
Be sure to join my fellow bloggers on Multicultural Kid Blogs who are also highlighting amazing women with kid-focused activities throughout the month.