Remember when “like a girl” was meant to be a burn? Not anymore. The more the achievements, stories and lives of women, both past and present, are acknowledged and celebrated, the prouder we all become of living, loving, thinking and being like the incredible girls and women we are and are fortunate to know.
Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite books about the power, fearlessness, generosity and brilliance of women. These true stories will encourage kids of all genders to believe in their ideas, talent, creativity, ability to grow and learn, and, above all, to never give up on.
There are many powerful lessons within the story of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown. Frida Kahlo is a celebrated resilient female artist representing mexican and indigenous culture. The story highlights her spirited childlike creativity, empathetic nature towards animals and her ability to persevere through sickness, hardship and being different from the other young girls in town. Frida dealt with many stresses in her life but she was able to transform the pain into joy through art, creativity, imagination and playing with her diverse group of animal friends.
– Mary Patel
Also Great: Every Day Dress Up, The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever, Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine
Chelsea Clintons’ She Persisted encourages readers to ignore those who tell them their dreams aren’t possible simply because they’re a girl, and to not take no for an answer. Inspired by Senator Elizabeth Warren after she was silenced in 2017, this story explores thirteen women who persisted in the face of adversity and oppression, such as Harriet Tubman, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Sonia Sotomayor, and many other iconic, world-changing women.
– Liz Graham
Also Great: Mae Among the Stars, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx, This Little Dreamer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life story portrays the notorious RBG as a smart, stubborn girl who changed the game for everyone by refusing to play by the rules. Illustrator Elizabeth Baddley’s masterful renderings of facial expressions take the story to the next level, and the whole book can be used as a lens into our ever-evolving justice system. Empowering and engaging, I Dissent is sure to inspire.
– Anne Marie Feld Lowell
Also Great: My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?, Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life, Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence
Like a Girl empowers girls to stand up, prevail, create, soar, train, ask questions, and ultimately change the world. This gorgeous book features women and girls throughout histories of all ethnicities, abilities, and ages. A true celebration of diversity and the power of women throughout history, featuring women such as Rosa Parks, Simone Biles, Hellen Keller, Tammy Duckworth, Ruby Bridges, Maya Angelou, and so many more who have changed the world! This book reminds all girls that there is greatness inside of them, and they can achieve anything they want – like a girl.
– Liz Graham
Also Great: Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala , Muslim Girls Rise, Rad American Women A-Z, This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality
This series by Rachel Ignotofsky highlights women throughout history who changed the world through science, engineering, math, art, and sports. Aside from being beautifully illustrated, these books are full of inspirational stories and fascinating facts of how women overcame obstacles, innovated, and made a lasting impact on the world. Books in the series include Women in Science, Women in Art and Women in Sports, each of which is equally fierce in illuminating women’s incredible achievements in their fields.
– Liz Graham
Also Great: Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, The Skylarks’ War, Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights
This remarkable story shares the journey of Grace Banker and the “Hello Girls,” who were the first females allowed to participate in World War I. Chief Operator Grace, 25 at the time, was a strong leader who led 32 telephone operators in the mission to communicate top-secret messages between the American and French headquarters throughout the war. Due to her resilience, leadership, and bravery, she became the first and only woman operator to receive the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal award.
– Liz Graham
Also Great: Finish the Fight: the brave and revolutionary women who Fought for the Right to Vote, Women Who Dared, Elizabeth Started All the Trouble, Make Trouble, Becoming RGB: Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s Journey to Justice, 100 Women Who Made History
This adaptation of the Best Selling memoir by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, includes not only her remarkable life stories, but also a strong call to action for young people everywhere. Her story empowers readers to help themselves and others, no matter what adversity or circumstances they face. She inspires readers to embrace imperfections, and ask themselves along their journey of becoming, who they are, what they want to become, and reminds us that the journey of self-discovering is a continuous process.
– Liz Graham
Also Great: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Adapted for Young People, The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives, Take a Seat–Make a Stand: A Hero in the Family: The Story of Sarah Key Evans, a Civil Rights Hero Who Would Not Be Moved, Sarah K. Evans, Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice