As far as we’re concerned, you can never have too many children’s books. But while the count may be limitless there are some essential books that belong in every child’s library. We’ve curated a list of 10 must-have children’s books about strong women and girls that we think all kids should own.
From books inspired by current events to historical fiction, these 10 books reflect the strength and power of women and girls. They may uniquely empower girls, but are required reading for all kids – boys and girls alike.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel. This biography tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Frida by Jonah Winter. “Frida Kahlo turned the challenges of her life into art.” This beautiful book tells the inspiring story of one of our most influential artists.
Good Night Story for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favelli. Illustrated by 60 female artists from around the world, Good Night Stories includes 100 bedtime stories, told in the style of fairy tales, about 100 amazing women we should all know.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy. “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!” This book tells the story of the Notorious RBG through the fights she’s waged in her storied career.
She Persisted: 13 Americans Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton. This book “introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.” The title and theme is obviously inspired by Elizabeth Warren’s encounter in the Senate and celebrates women who carried on despite being told to stop.
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks by Cynthia Levinson. At 9 years old, Audrey Faye Hendricks became the youngest known person arrested during the Civil Rights movement.
Historical & Inspiring Fiction
A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson. This powerful book tells the story of the unnamed children who joined the fight for civil rights. Two young sister sneak out of their house to join a march for justice and listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. Grace is a dramatic girl with a wild imagination. When she learns her class is doing a production of Peter Pan, she knows she wants to take the lead. Her classmates object because she’s a girl and her skin is black, but with a little persuasion from her grandmother she fights for the role she wants.
Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio. When studying American history, Grace is surprised to learn no woman has ever served in the highest office and decides she will be the first! During her first run in the school mock election, we learn about the US electoral college. In addition to being inspired by Grace, the book is a good tool for teaching about how US presidential elections work.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. Rosie is a young inventor who tinkers and creates. Inspired by her great aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter), she aims to tackle one last goal: to fly. The book is a work of fiction but relies on the trusty “We Can Do It!” rally cry to encourage young girls to dream big. You can only fail, Rose says, if you quit. This is only one in a series of picture books by the author in which girls explore traditionally male-dominated careers.