One Book, Many Stories: Celebrate Women’s History with these 14 Diverse Children’s Books

Illustration by Vashti Harrison from her book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

History is a subject children often feel disconnected from, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Books are an easy way to get children interested in learning history. When children can see history makers as “regular” people, they build a connection with those stories and become more motivated to learn.

To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, (March 8th), we’ve curated a list of children’s books that highlight history making women.

What’s special about this list is that these children’s books each feature multiple history making women for readers to celebrate. Being able to pick up one book to learn about several women is convenient, educational, and fun!

The women in these books come from various backgrounds, allowing some children to learn about someone who is just like them, while exposing others to a world outside of their own. Learning about these women, who all made their mark in different ways, can be the spark that inspires a child to one day make a difference too.

From Shaking Things Up, which lists 14 extraordinary women to Little Leaders, which features 40 history making women, these books are all great choices for Women’s History Month and Beyond.

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Daniel Roode: Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training!

Paving the way
to a future that’s bright.
Helping the world
with their skills, smarts, and might.

Little trailblazers cause great big changes.

In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations. (Ages 3–5)

Little Feminist Board Book Set:by Emily Kleinman and Galison, Illustrated by Lydia Ortiz: Mudpuppy’s Little Feminist Board Book Set is comprised of colorful illustrated portraits of real women who have made historical impact on the world. Illustrations by Lydia Ortiz and words by Emily Kleinman introduce children to these important people in history with images that are fun for youngsters and also realistic. The Board Book Set includes 4 mini board books (Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, and Activists.)
- Size: 4 x 4 x 4"
- Includes Artists: Maya Angelou, Lucille Ball, Frida Kahlo and Ella Fitzgerald
- Includes Leaders: Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Indira Gandhi and Hillary Clinton
- Includes Activists: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem and Malala Yousafza
- Includes Pioneers: Marie Curie, Sally Ride, Amelia Earhart and Billie Jean King (Ages 2–5)

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by 14 Extraordinary Women: Fresh, accessible, and inspiring, Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women — each paired with a noteworthy female artist — to the next generation of activists, trail-blazers, and rabble-rousers.

From the award-winning author of Ada’s Violin, Susan Hood, this is a poetic and visual celebration of persistent women throughout history.

In this book, you will find Mary Anning, who was just thirteen when she unearthed a prehistoric fossil. You’ll meet Ruby Bridges, the brave six year old who helped end segregation in the South. And Maya Lin, who at twenty-one won a competition to create a war memorial, and then had to appear before Congress to defend her right to create.

And those are just a few of the young women included in this book. Readers will also hear about Molly Williams, Annette Kellerman, Nellie Bly, Pura Belprè, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, Frances Moore Lappé, Mae Jemison, Angela Zhang, and Malala Yousafzai — all whose stories will enthrall and inspire. This book was written, illustrated, edited, and designed by women and includes an author’s note, a timeline, and additional resources.

With artwork by notable artists including Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet. (Ages 4–8)

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 BEDTIME STORIES about the life of 100 EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 FEMALE ARTISTS from all over the world. Each woman’s story is written in the style of a fairy tale. Each story has a full page, full color portrait that captures the spirit of the portrayed hero. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is also the MOST CROWDFUNDED ORIGINAL BOOK IN HISTORY. Hardcover, with an extra smooth matte scuff-free lamination, 100lbs beautiful paper, a double satin bookmark and an extraordinary print quality, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a beautiful object, it’s printed with soy and vegetable based inks and it’s FSC certified.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2: by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo: Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2 is the sequel to the sensational New York Times bestseller, and the most crowdfunded book of all times. The authors, Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, will take you and your kids on an empowering journey through 100 new bedtime stories, featuring the adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyoncé. The unique narrative style of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” transforms each biography into a fairy-tale, filling the readers with wonder and with a burning curiosity to know more about each hero. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 boasts a brand new graphic design, a glossary and 100 incredible new portraits created by the best female artists of our time.

Amelia to Zora: 26 Women Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin Lee, Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy: Twenty-six amazing women; twenty-six amazing stories. From writers to scientists, sports figures to politicians, this diverse collection highlights women who changed the world. Celebrating twenty-six unique voices, visions, and victories, Amelia to Zora, introduces children to the scope of both the struggles and the achievements of women historically and globally. Beautiful and intricate collages bring these women’s stories and message to life in this collection that will bring young readers inspiration in each turn of the page. (Ages 8–12)

Women In Science by Rachel Ignotofsky: 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.

Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more.

Women In Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky: A richly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Sports highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable women athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports. The athletes featured include well-known figures like tennis player Billie Jean King and gymnast Simone Biles, as well as lesser-known champions like Toni Stone, the first woman to play baseball in a professional men’s league, and skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. The book also contains infographics on topics that sporty women want to know about such as muscle anatomy, a timeline ofwomen’s participation in sports, pay and media statistics for female athletes, and influential women’s teams. Women in Sports celebrates the success of the tough, bold, and fearless women who paved the way for today’s athletes.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison: Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.

Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things — bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them.

The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come. (Ages 8–11) Note: Little Leaders is being released as a board book, Dream Big, Little Leaders is due out in October 2018.

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger: Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor — and one special cameo. (Ages 4–8)

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger: The companion to Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger’s #1 New York Times bestseller, She Persisted. Perfect for tiny activists, mini feminists and little kids who are ready to take on the world.

Women around the world have long dreamed big, even when they’ve been told their dreams didn’t matter. They’ve spoken out, risen up and fought for what’s right, even when they’ve been told to be quiet. Whether in science, the arts, sports or activism, women and girls throughout history have been determined to break barriers and change the status quo. They haven’t let anyone get in their way and have helped us better understand our world and what’s possible. In this companion book to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe.

She Persisted Around the World is a book for everyone who has ever aimed high and been told to step down, for everyone who has ever raised their voice and been told to quiet down, and for everyone who has ever felt small, unimportant or unworthy.

Alexandra Boiger’s vibrant artwork accompanies this inspiring text that shows readers of all ages that, no matter what obstacles come their way, they have the power to persist and succeed.

This book features: Marie Curie, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Viola Desmond, Sissi Lima do Amor, Leymah Gbowee, Caroline Herschel, Wangari Maathai, Aisha Rateb, J.K. Rowling, Kate Sheppard, Yuan Yuan Tan, Mary Verghese and Malala Yousafzai.(Ages 4–8)

Rad Women A-Z by Kate Schatz, Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl: Like all A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet — but instead of “A is for Apple”, A is for Angela — as in Angela Davis, the iconic political activist. B is for Billie Jean King, who shattered the glass ceiling of sports; C is for Carol Burnett, who defied assumptions about women in comedy; D is for Dolores Huerta, who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

And the list of great women continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse individuals. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.

The book includes an introduction that discusses what it means to be “rad” and “radical,” an afterword with 26 suggestions for how you can be “rad,” and a Resource Guide with ideas for further learning and reading.

American history was made by countless rad — and often radical — women. By offering a fresh and diverse array of female role models, we can remind readers that there are many places to find inspiration, and that being smart and strong and brave is rad. (Grades 3–8)

Rad Women World Wide by Kate Schatz, Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl: Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and amazing tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well-researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. The book features an array of diverse figures from 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica). An additional 250 names of international rad women are also included as a reference for readers to continue their own research.

This progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history and belongs on the shelf of every school, library, and home. Together, these stories show the immense range of what women have done and can do. May we all have the courage to be rad! (Grades 6–8)

100 Women Who Made History: Remarkable Women Who Shaped Our World by DK Publishing: Celebrate centuries of brave and brilliant women with this visual guide that takes kids on a tour of the past and uncovers the stories of the women and girls who have shaped the modern world.

From super scientists like Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin to clued-up creatives like Emily Dickinson and J.K. Rowling to leading ladies like Joan of Arc and Eleanor Roosevelt, profiles explore the lives of each woman in detail, and photography and quirky “bobble-head” illustrations present history in a new and fun way. Kids can put each woman’s story into context with “what came before…” and “what came after…” panels showing the things that influenced and were influenced by each woman. Special features highlight contemporaneous women and women in similar fields to paint a more complete picture for young readers.

A wonderful inspiration for young girls and a great learning tool for all children that approaches human rights and gender equality from an age-appropriate angle, 100 Women Who Made History proves that this isn’t just a man’s world. (Ages 8–12)

The International Women’s Day Youtube page features this wonderful video featuring Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison. The book and video highlight women who championed a #PressforProgress. Watch it below:

Helping Kids Rise is on a mission to improve the lives of children and the people who love them through literacy, education, and social justice awareness. We do this by highlighting diverse and inclusive children’s books and resources that promote education, literacy, and social justice awareness. We also partner with schools, families, and children’s advocacy organizations to promote access to children’s books for under-served and underrepresented communities. To learn more or to partner with us, connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and our website: www.helpingkidsrise.org.

Diverse childrens books recommendations to encourage growth, inclusiveness, and understanding

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