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Telling Her Story:
60 New Books for Women's History Month

Posted on March 6, 2017 by Katherine

A Mighty Girl's top picks of the best new biographies for children and teens about incredible women from around the world.

womens-history-roundup-blog-webIf you flip through a typical history book, you might think, as historian Gerda Lerner once wrote, that "ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist." Far too often, women's contributions have been neglected in history books and school curriculums — fortunately, there are growing numbers of wonderful books being published for young readers about girls and women who made their mark on history. And, there's no better time to share these stories and make sure that the next generation — girls and boys alike — appreciates the important and diverse roles that women have played in history than during Women's History Month!

With that in mind, in this blog post, we've collected the best biographies on remarkable women that have been published in the past 12 months, since the last Women's History Month. These books for children and teens feature girls and women who excelled in science, politics, the arts, athletics, and other fields. And, they serve as an excellent reminder that women's stories deserve to be told, not just during Women's History Month, but all year long.

For more books of inspiring girls and women from around the world, check out the hundreds of biographies and works of historical fiction in A Mighty Girl's History & Biography Collection.

Biographies of Mighty Women

I Am Jane Goodall

This captivating picture book tells the story of Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee scientist who turned her love of nature and science into a career that not only revolutionized our understanding of what it means to be human, but also opened the door for generations of female scientists after her. From her childhood escapades to her decades of research in Africa, this book shows how Goodall turned her natural talents into a career that changed the world. Filled with colorful illustrations, this new addition to the Ordinary People Change The World Collection strikes a wonderful balance between information and inspiration. For more books for all ages about this pioneering scientist, visit our Jane Goodall Collection.

Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark

From the moment she saw a shark swimming in an aquarium as a girl, Eugenie Clark was fascinated — but as far as the world was concerned, sharks were mindless and dangerous eating machines. As the Japanese-American girl grew, she became a scientist — a surprising choice for a young woman in the 1940s — and made groundbreaking discoveries about the beautiful, mysterious ocean creatures that she loved. This beautiful picture book biography of the "Shark Lady" is a celebration of the wonder of nature and of a daring woman who changed the way the world saw the ocean.

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe

As soon as she could walk, Ann Cole Lowe learned how to sew. She worked alongside her mother in her dress shop, sewing party dresses for glamorous, wealthy women. After her mother died, Lowe decided to go to design school and set up her own shop. She ended up becoming "society's best kept secret" and sewed exquisite creations, including Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress and Olivia de Havilland's dress at the Oscars when she won for Best Actress. This picture book biography of an influential yet little-known fashion designer celebrates art, vision, and those who create beautiful things.

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still

When Nadia Comaneci was a girl, she was constantly in motion: from climbing trees to roller skating, she was busy and fearless! Finally, her mother signed her up for gymnastics lessons, where it turned out that she was a natural. But even a natural talent has to work hard to become the best in the world. However, Nadia persisted, and at the 1976 Olympic Games, she made history with a record-smashing seven perfect scores. The text and pictures of this book are as energetic as its subject, and an afterword includes details about Comaneci's later life.

On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children's Rights

Dedicated labor reformer Mother Jones thought that kids should be allowed to be kids, and given the opportunity to go to school — but how could they when they were expected to work? At strikes for cotton mill workers, she met children as young as eight who were already working twelve hours a day, six days a week. To draw attention to the need to end child labor, Mother Jones organized a march — a march of children, straight to President Theodore Roosevelt's summer home in Oyster Bay. This picture book celebrates the woman who was once called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her work to encourage workers to rise up for justice.

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression

Dorothea Lange had an eye for photography and a gift of compassion for those less fortunate: after a childhood case of polio, she knew what it was like to struggle. So when the Great Depression hit, and all around her were hard-working people who found themselves in desperate need, she knew that she had to share their stories with the world. Lange's photographs of the faces behind the statistics of the Great Depression remain deeply affecting today, and this new picture book biography will help kids understand why this influential photographer dedicated her life to this important work. For other books about Lange, check out Dorothea's Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth for ages 6 to 10 and Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange for ages 10 and up.

Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic

Some girls are perfectly happy never doing anything out of the ordinary, but not Addie! At a time when a young lady appearing onstage was considered most unusual, Addie defied convention and became a dancer — and when she married the world-famous magician Herrmann the Great, she became part of his show, even agreeing to be shot out of a cannon. But when Herrmann the Great died, Addie couldn't disappoint her loyal fans; she decided she would perform the show all by herself! This true story of one of the first female conjurers in show business includes extensive back matter, including instructions for performing one of Addie's original tricks.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

The first children's picture book about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg proves that disagreeing doesn't make you disagreeable! I Dissent tells the story of Ginsburg's many disagreements: arguments against the inequality, discrimination, and unfairness that she saw all around her. Equally importantly, though, Ginsburg's life and friendship show that you can oppose someone's opinion vocally, even ferociously, while still being friends. This fun and appealing biography will encourage every child to stand up for what's right with their own dissents!

Miss Colfax's Light

In 1861, Harriet Colfax took a job as a lighthouse keeper at Michigan City — a bold choice, since there were few female lighthouse keepers anywhere in the county. She was 37 years old when she took the post, and for 43 years, she would keep the light burning, even through violent storms, freezing winters, and changes in technology. This little-known true story of a woman whose determination allowed her to live life on her own terms, and will also intrigue kids with its description of Colfax's challenging but critical job.

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer

The daughter of the poet Lord Byron and his mathematician wife, Annabella, Ada Lovelace had elements of them both: the creativity of her father allowed her to connect ideas in original ways, while the mathematical gifts of her mother gave her a passion for science. So when Charles Babbage showed her a proposal for a thinking machine, it was Lovelace who envisioned a remarkable future: one where humans could program such machines to do whatever they needed. This charming picture book tells the fascinating story of the woman who wrote the first computer algorithm and became the world's first computer programmer in a fun and engaging way. For other picture books about Ada Lovelace, we also recommend Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine for ages 5 to 9, and Ada's Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer for ages 6 to 9.

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten, and 10,000 Miles

Nell Richardson and Alice Burke wanted to convince America to support equal voting rights for women... so in April 1916, they set out from New York City to tell people in person! In a little yellow car, carrying key supplies like a typewriter, a sewing machine, and a little black kitten, they toured the country over 10,000 miles of bumpy, muddy terrain. In honor of the 100th anniversary of their whirlwind tour, author Mara Rockliff and illustrator Hadley Hooper have created a charming and lively picture book that beautifully captures their spirit of adventure and their determination to spread the message about equal voting rights.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist

Audrey was only 9 years old, but she listened when the grown-ups talked about wiping out Birmingham's segregation laws. So when she heard them say that they were going to fill the jails with protesters, she stepped right up and said, "I'll do it!" Audrey would face unpalatable food, angry white interrogators, and even solitary confinement over her week-long sentence, but when she was released, she knew she had done her part to earn a better future. This inspiring book biography of the youngest person to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham proves that there's no such thing as being too young to make a difference.

You Should Meet: Women Who Launched The Computer Age

In 1946, six brilliant young women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC, part of a secret World War II project. They learned to program without any programming languages or tools, and by the time they were finished, the ENIAC could run a complicated calculus equation in seconds. But when the ENIAC was presented to the press and public, the women were never introduced or given credit for their work. Learn all about what these pioneering women accomplished and how their invention still matters today in level 3 Ready-to-Read book from the You Should Meet series.

You Should Meet: Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison dreamed of becoming an astronaut from childhood. She went to medical school and joined the Peace Corps, but she never forgot that dream — so in 1985, she applied to NASA, and in 1992, Jemison became the first African-American woman to go into space! In this Level 3 Ready-To-Read book from the You Should Meet non-fiction series, newly independent readers can learn all about Jemison's fascinating life and career. Additional material at the end includes information about math and history, and even a timeline with fun facts about space!

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

As the child of a wealthy family in Victorian London, Beatrix Potter had few human friends — so she made plenty of animal ones! From rabbits to snakes to hedgehogs, Potter studied them all, and painted them in incredible lifelike detail. When she wrote and illustrated a story about four little rabbits in her 30s for a friend's son, she decided to try to publish it... and today, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Potter's other works are classics of children's literature. This Penguin Young Readers level 4 early chapter book celebrates Potter as both a naturalist and an author.

You Should Meet: Misty Copeland

Before Misty Copeland was the first African-American woman to be a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater, she was a kid facing a lot of challenges. In this book from the early reader series You Should Meet, kids learn about Misty's childhood, her introduction to dance, and the struggles she faced as she made her way to becoming one of the most famous ballerinas in the world. Additional information at the back provides interesting facts about dance, but what really shines is Copeland's determination and drive. For another early chapter book about Misty Copeland, we also recommend When I Grow Up: Misty Copeland for ages 6 to 8. Older fans of Copeland can check out Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina - Young Reader's Edition, in which Copeland tells her own story for readers ages 9 to 13. Copeland is also the author of an inspiring picture book that references her ballet career, Firebird for ages 4 to 8.

Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot

In 1700s France, "balloonomania" was everywhere! Everyone was fascinated by the great hot air balloons that could achieve previously unheard heights... but all of the first aeronauts were men. Sophie Blanchard was a shy girl from a seaside village, but she became captivated by the dream of flight.  Blanchard went on to become the first woman to pilot her own aircraft and became such a leader in the field that she was even named Chief Air Minister of Ballooning by Napoleon himself! Author Matthew Clark Smith celebrates Blanchard's courage and determination to follow her heart, up into the air in a beautiful balloon.

Malala: Activist for Girls' Education

When Malala was born, her father Ziauddin defied local traditions and celebrated her birth as he would the birth of a boy. With the support of her parents, she grew into a fiercely intelligent and ferociously determined young woman, who defied the rule of the Taliban by arguing for the right of girls to go to school. And even when a Taliban assassin nearly killed her, she refused to give up her fight to ensure that every girl in the world had access to education, eventually becoming the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This beautifully illustrated picture book biography provides an excellent introduction to the life of this young activist. For more books for all ages about Malala, visit our Malala Yousafzai Collection.

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

Young Anna Comstock adored being outside: she spent her days enjoying nature and observing everything she could, from ants on the move to the constellations in the sky. And even though many people thought science was only for men, she went to university and continued to study. She became famous as a nature expert and artist, creating many stunning books about nature. As a leader of the nature study movement, Comstock also believed it was important to foster children's appreciation for nature and created one of the earliest school curriculum focused on studying nature outdoors. This charming biography not only celebrates a pioneer for women in science, but also celebrates the joy of studying the great outdoors.

Willa: The Story of Willa Cather, an American Writer

Willa Cather grew up bold and determined, which served her well when her family moved from Virginia to Nebraska — but even though girls were considered capable of the hard physical work and emotional upheaval of pioneer life, people still put restrictions on what women were supposed to do. Cather dreamed of being a writer, and she knew she had many ideas to share. She defied those who didn't think she could follow her own path, and became one of the greatest American writers in history. Captivating and inspiring, this picture book biography of Cather pays tribute to one of the country's great authors.

She Stood For Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

By the time she was 19, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland had already been arrested and participated in dozens of sit-ins and protests against segregation. She joined the Freedom Riders — and was sent to the notorious Parchman Penitentiary for month. Mulholland was the first white person to join the famous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi. Later,  she joined Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington and Selma voting rights marches. This picture book biography provides a captivating introduction to a dedicated civil rights activist. Older readers can learn her story in She Stood For Freedom (Middle Grade Edition), for ages 8 to 12, and the excellent documentary An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland for ages 13 and up.

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation

In this fascinating follow-up to Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies, author Cokie Roberts pay homage to ten women who shaped the history of the United States between 1776 and 1824. From African American poet Lucy Terry Prince to Native American explorer and guide Sacagawea to First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams, these women were intimately involved in the direction their newborn nation would take. A rich timeline, dynamic biographies, and an author's note provide plenty of fascinating detail for young historians! This books is an adaptation of Roberts' adult book about these inspiring women.

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song

The first time that Billie Holiday performed "Strange Fruit," the audience was silent — but the song would help pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement. In this in-depth picture book, author Gary Golio explores a challenging topic — a protest song against lynching, sung by a complex artist — and teaches young readers the power of the arts to transform the world around us. Golio follows Holiday's own experiences with discrimination, as well as Jewish songwriter Abel Meeropol's motivations for writing the song. Powerful and poignant, this thoughtful book provides a unique look at an influential artist and an unforgettable song.

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert are as different as they could be: Chrissie is an all-American girl who plays with careful poise, while Martina is from communist Czechoslovakia and lets her emotions drive her to greater heights. The two things they share in common are a love of tennis and a determination to be the best in the game. It was inevitable that they would be rivals on the court, but what surprised everyone was that they became friends off of it. In this conversational dual biography of two tennis greats, kids learn about two phenomenal athletes with the greatest rivalry in the history of sports whose friendship broke all the rules.

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne

By the age of 2, Lena Horne was already a member of the NAACP, following her activist family. Inspired by her mother's dream, Lena became an actress — the first black actress to receive a studio contract. As her fame grew, she dared to decline the stereotypical roles that she was offered all too often and she refused to use segregated entrances. Her powerful voice became an rallying cry to many as she joined civil rights rallies and urged people to remember, "You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way." While written as a picture book, this biography of Horne's challenging themes and advanced vocabulary make it an intriguing and inspiring pick for older children.

The Brontës: Children of the Moors

On the wild moors near his home, a little boy meets a woman in a Victorian dress — a woman with amazing stories about three sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. Alongside their brother, Branwell, these three sisters grew and explored their world... and eventually became three great authors, whose works caused a sensation when people realized they were written by women. This detailed picture book explores how the Brontë sisters were inspired to become writers and even presents comic-strip versions of each of the sisters' greatest novels.

Who Was Jacqueline Kennedy?

The private and bookish Jacqueline Kennedy found herself the focus of the world's attention when her husband, John F. Kennedy, won the American presidency. In the White House, the young and glamorous First Lady dedicated herself to restoring the neglected rooms of the historic building, and her style and charm made her an icon who is still recognized today. This book from the popular Who Was? biography series celebrates a woman whose public and private lives have fascinated the world for generations.

Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition

Before people could orbit the Earth or fly to the moon, there was a group of "human computers": dedicated female mathematician who used pencil and slide rule to calculate how to launch rockets. Four African-American women, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, were critical to the story of space flight — and yet their story was largely untold. In this young readers edition of the adult book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, tweens will learn how these women, so little appreciated in their time, changed both NASA and America for the better.

Who Is Sonia Sotomayor?

When Sonia Sotomayor was growing up in the Bronx, a Latina girl couldn't expect to be a judge, could she? But after being inspired by an episode of Perry Mason on TV, nothing would stop her — not even a diagnosis of diabetes that required her to give herself daily insulin shots. Optimistic and determined, Sotomayor went to law school, became a judge, and, in 2009, became the third woman and first Hispanic justice appointed to the US Supreme Court. This title from the Who Was? biography series celebrates a woman determined to get the most out of life. Younger readers can learn about her in Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / la juez que creció en el Bronx for ages 4 to 8 and Sonia Sotomayor: I'll Be The Judge of That! for ages 7 to 10.

I Got This: To Gold And Beyond

Laurie Hernandez got the chance of a lifetime when she was selected for the 2016 US Olympic gymnastic team. The 16-year-old Latina from New Jersey won gold as part of the Final Five, then followed it up with an individual silver medal on the balance beam. Then, she won the world's heart again competing on Dancing With The Stars, where she became the youngest-ever winner of the Mirrorball Trophy. In this memoir, she talks about her life growing up with a dream to reach the Olympic podium, sharing stories of rigorous training, difficult sacrifices, amazing triumphs, and the loving family support it took to get there.

Who Was Lucille Ball?

In the 1950s, all of America really did love Lucy! Lucille Ball was a natural performer who had been appearing on stage and in bit parts in movies for years when she created her hilarious sitcom — which is still a beloved favorite for many 60 years after it aired. But Ball also broke new ground as the first woman to run a major television studio, where her forward-thinking mindset encouraged her executives to develop original and creative series, including Star Trek and The Untouchables. This book celebrates the funny, savvy, and determined Ball and her many contributions to American culture.

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman's Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights

When Fannie Sellins was born, business owners like the Carnegies and the Morgans lived lives of luxury, while their employees barely had enough to feed themselves and their families. So she became a union activist, first helping to create a chapter of the United Garment Workers of America in St. Louis, then traveling the nation speaking out on behalf of workers' rights. She would give her life for her cause, but her influence lives on today in the laws and unions that protect workers from abuse. This engaging and well-researched book includes plenty of additional information for those curious about Sellins and the labor movement.

Spy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring

In the midst of the Civil War, the Confederate leadership was duped by an "illiterate" young black woman who managed to infiltrate at the highest level and smuggle their secrets back to the Union side. Mary Bowser had a photographic memory that allowed her to "copy" documents at a glance, and a knack for evading detection that helped her remain active despite her previous spying efforts. As they read this title, tweens will also use spycraft tools provided in the book, allowing them to determine the answer to the ultimate mystery: where did Mary hide her secret diary? This innovative interactive history book is sure to fascinate young would-be spies and detectives.

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science

This novel in verse celebrates three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists. Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past. Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell longed to discover a new comet and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did. Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World

This charmingly illustrated and educational book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection profiles 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. It 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!

Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments

Marie Curie defied many expectations and naysayers in order to become one of the most famous scientists in the world. She created the field of atomic physics, invented the word "radioactivity", and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win the Nobel Prize in two different disciplines. In this fascinating interactive book, kids learn about her life and scientific career with an intriguing biography accented with photos, quotes, and informative sidebars. Then, kids can gain a deeper understanding of Curie's work from 21 featured activities and experiments, from examining World War I X-rays to making a model of the carbon element. You can find more books about this trailblazer for all ages in our Marie Curie Collection.

Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World

Virginia Apgar. Sally Ride. Rachel Carson. These names are etched in history and included here as part of this awe-inspiring collection of profiles of some of the world's most influential women in science. Author Rachel Swaby delves into the minds of thirty-three such women, whose vision, creativity, passion and dedication have helped make important strides in the world of science -- who have in fact changed the world. Middle grade kids will be fascinated by these snapshot profiles of 33 of history's most important female scientists. This volume for middle readers is an adaptation of the author's best-selling book for teens and adults, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science -- And The World.

The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World

Jerrie Mock's love of aviation began in childhood, and she even attended aeronautical engineering in university, but she then settled into domestic life as a woman of her time was expected to do. However, when her husband jokingly suggested a round-the-world flight, her interest was rekindled, and she started planning a trip that could make her the first woman to fly solo around the world. What began as a lark turned into a race that thrilled people around the world — but then her story was overshadowed by the Vietnam War and largely forgotten. This thrilling telling of Mock's record-setting flight will fascinate young aviation fans.

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story

It's difficult enough to imagine surviving an atomic bomb blast, but for survivors like Sachiko, that was only the beginning. 6 years old when the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, Sachiko lost many loved ones to radiation sickness, and then faced years of being ostracized by those who believed that the radiation might be contagious. This powerful, award-winning account of Sachiko Yasui's life as hibakusha — a bomb survivor — is accompanied by historical notes that provide context on her struggles and her triumphs.

The Distance Between Us Young Readers Edition

Reyna's parents have made the dangerous (and illegal) trip across the US-Mexican border in hopes of a better life for the whole family. Meanwhile, she and her siblings are forced to live with their strict grandmother — until plans have to change and Reyna has to make the journey, alone, with a long-absent father she barely knows on the other side. Then, she struggles with identity and a desperate desire to succeed, as well as dealing with poverty, domestic violence, and life as an undocumented immigrant. Based on Reyna Grande's adult memoir of the same name, this book sheds light on the child that became the award-winning author.

All Heart: My Dedication and Determination to Become One of Soccer's Best

Before Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick in the final game of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, she almost quit her beloved sport forever. In 2003, she lacked the mental toughness necessary to become one of the best players in the world, even if she had the raw talent to do so. With the help of trainer James Galanis, Lloyd learned how to practice both the physical and emotional skills necessary to achieve her true potential. In this book, she talks about how she got from there to the top of the world's soccer stage. Young readers will be amazed to learn that even greats like Lloyd have their struggles. Adult readers can check out the original version of this memoir, When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World.

Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage - Young Readers Edition

In her powerful biography for adult readers, Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto, Tilar J. Mazzeo told Irena Sendler's incredible story of smuggling 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto to hide with foster families in order to keep them safe during the Holocaust. This young readers edition makes that story accessible tween readers who will be amazed  to read about the many ways Sendler helped children escape — from hiding them under her overcoat to slipping them through secret passages — and about her incredible determination not to reveal their names and locations, even at risk of losing her life.

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History

The authors of the best-selling book Rad American Women A-Z set their sights on the world with this inspiring collection of 40 biographical profiles! Well researched and intriguing biographies are paired with expressive cut-paper portraits that capture the power and strength of their subjects. This book features figures as diverse as Hatshepsut, the Egyptian pharaoh who ruled for two decades; Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls' rights activist;  and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, the first women to cross Antarctica. Every page provides a new dose of inspiration with a profile on another rad woman from around the world!

Alice Paul and the Fight for Women's Rights

Alice Paul not only helped win the battle for women's suffrage in the US, she remained active as a women's rights activist during the "second wave" of feminism as women fought for full equality with men across society. At the beginning of the 20th century, Paul reignited the Women's Suffrage Movement with dramatic new protests, finally bringing sufficient pressure on elected officials that the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. Then, she set her sights on other laws that discriminated against women. Her proposed Equal Rights Amendment may not have been passed — yet — but her continued fight for equality for women has inspired the generations after her to take up the banner. This compelling biography provides an excellent introduction for tweens and teens to the life and work of one of the greatest champions of women's right in U.S. history.

Forward: My Story — Young Readers Edition

Abby Wambach has always pushed the boundaries, achieving great feats — like the record for the most international goals scored in the history of soccer by either a man or a woman — and capturing the heart of a country as she helped lead the 2015 Women's National Team to victory in the FIFA Women's World Cup. But behind the professional successes were many struggles that fans didn't see, including a fight against addiction and fear about coming out as a lesbian. These struggles, though, have driven her to achieve as a professional athlete and as an advocate for equality and women's rights. This young readers edition of Wambach's book Forward: A Memoir is sure to delight young soccer fans.

Krysia: A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II

In the midst of the German invasion of Poland, Krystyna Mihulka fought to understand what was going on: the chaos around her made no sense to a child caught up in the beginning of World War II. As time went on, her father was forced into hiding, her home was taken over by a Soviet soldier's family, and finally Krystyna, her mother, and her brother were forcibly deported to a Soviet work camp. At the same time as she describes the grim, desperate conditions, she also remembers moments of joy and peace, including the sense of community that grew among the deportees. This powerful book will help tweens imagine the lives of children living through the same experience in war-torn countries today.

Ya Sama!: Moments From My Life

Paralympian Tatyana McFadden was born with spina bifida and received little medical care for the first three years of her life in a Russian orphanage; her American adoptive parents were told she wouldn't live for long. With proper care, however, McFadden was soon thriving — and even began breaking athletic records in wheelchair racing! Today, McFadden is a ten-time summer Paralympic medalist (plus one additional medal from the winter Paralympic games!) and an activist who is working to raise awareness of the inequity between able-bodied and para-athletic sports. Kids will come away from this book with a powerful can-do spirit that can lead them to their own goals.

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Mind in Balance

Simone Biles is best known for her nineteen medals — fourteen gold — and her Olympic successes, but getting there required immense perseverance and resiliency that many people didn't see. In her memoir, Biles talks about the challenges that faced her long before she had her sights set on the podium, from an early childhood in foster care to her adoption by her grandparents, who she now calls Mom and Dad. Their love and support helped her keep balanced as she rose through the ranks of gymnastics competition, ensuring that she always found joy in the sport in which she excelled. Young readers will love this optimistic and inspiring memoir.

Courageous Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Spies, Medics, and More

When the Civil War broke out, women on both sides dared to defy social conventions to take an active role in the conflict. These women crossed enemy lines to gather intelligence, followed soldiers onto the battlefield to provide critical medical care, and even disguised themselves as men so that they could fight themselves. The book begins with historical background that explains the context of the events that led up to the war, then dives into capsule biographies of sixteen women whose names have been recorded in history. This fascinating title from the Women of Action series reminds readers that women have always played an active part in wartime.

A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

From a childhood in poverty in rural Maine, the rebellious, creative Edna — known as Vincent — became an acclaimed poet and the embodiment of the liberated Jazz Age woman. By young adulthood, she was bewitching audiences with her performances and dreaming of life beyond her small community. Despite the challenges of a life in the public eye in both New York and Paris, she still wrote bestselling volumes of poetry, plays, translations, and even antiwar propaganda and an opera. This fascinating biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, packed with photos, poems, letter and diary excerpts, a time line, and bibliographic notes, perfectly captures this remarkable, Pulitzer Prize-winning author's dedication, creativity, and passion.

Being Jazz: My Life As A (Transgender) Teen

Unlike many transgender kids, Jazz Jennings started presenting as female at the age of five — and even more unusually, she and her parents shared her story with the world. At a time when the public was much less accepting of the transgender community, Jazz became a critical voice and a role model to kids everywhere. But today, she's facing a whole new challenge: her teen years. In this fascinating memoir, Jazz reflects on her very visible life as an advocate for transgender kids and teens, the support she's received from her family, and the additional challenges that come with navigating the physical, emotional, and social upheavals of adolescence as a transgender teen.

Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis

Few things are known for certain about Edmonia Lewis, whose sculptures of historical figures captivated the world. The daughter of an Ojibwe woman and an African-Haitian man, Lewis had the had the rare opportunity to study at Oberlin, but was forced to leave after being accused of poisoning and theft. She eventually moved to Italy, where her career finally took off. In this novel in verse, author Jeannine Atkins creates a fictionalized story of Lewis' life that fills in the spaces between events of historical record, imagining the emotional life of an artist whose determination to create beauty required her to force her way through many obstacles.

A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, and Other Badass Girls

Fifteen stars of young adult literature share the stories of fifteen little-known girls from American history who dared to set their own paths. From bold bank robbers to debutantes who refuse to just look pretty, from those to dove headfirst into adventure to those who found themselves dragged into it, these stories capture a diverse group of girls and young women who may not appear in history books, but whose lives celebrate individuality, courage, and freedom. This unique collection will appeal to anyone who, like editor Jessica Spotswood, finds girls and women's stories missing from traditional histories.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

Richard and Mildred Loving met as teenagers and quickly fell in love — but in Virginia, it was illegal for a black woman and a white man to marry. They married anyway, traveling out of state to Washington, DC where it was legal for them to marry. But, when they returned home, they were arrested and forced to leave home again. Eventually, the Lovings took their case all the way to the Supreme Court where it became one of the most important civil rights court cases in U.S. history. This novel is told in free verse, alternating between Richard and Mildred's perspectives, and includes news clippings, maps, and archival photos, as well as "visual journalism" style illustrations, all of which create a sense of immediacy to the story. Younger readers can learn about Lovings' story in the excellent picture book The Case for Loving: The Fight For Interracial Marriage, for ages 5 to 9.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History

Teens will be intrigued by this complex portrait of the first woman nominated for US president by a major political party. Karen Blumenthal captures Clinton's remarkable accomplishments, but still provides an objective look at the complexity and the controversies of her career. With information drawn from a wide array of sources, this book also includes black and white photographs, reproductions of political cartoons, and more. For more books about this trailblazer for women in politics, check out Hillary for ages 4 to 8; Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead for ages 4 to 8;  Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight for ages 5 to 9; Who Is Hillary Clinton? for ages 8 to 12; and Hillary Clinton: American Woman of the World for ages 9 to 12.

Women Heroes of World War II — The Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

Building on her previous book Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue, author Kathryn J. Atwood turns her sights towards the Pacific Theater, an aspect of World War II history that is less often discussed than the European fronts. These suspense-filled stories from China, Japan, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines celebrate women who served in dangerous roles, many of whom ended up suffering brutal conditions as prisoners of war. This valuable addition to the Women of Action series provides a reminder that, around the world, women played a critical part on all fronts during World War II.

Additional Recommended Resources


This post was posted in Front Page, Women's History, A Mighty Girl Top Pick, Mighty Girls & Women, A Mighty Girl Spotlight and was tagged with women's history, women's history month, biographies, picture books