A Mighty Girl's top books about bike-loving girls and women for preschoolers through adults!
Do you remember the joy you felt when you rode a bike for the first time? The exhilaration of the wind in your face, the whir of the spinning wheels... The freedom that a bicycle offers has changed millions of lives, allowing kids to pedal to their local park or travel quickly and safely to school — and it even has a little-known connection to the Women's Suffrage Movement! In this blog post, we've featured ten of our favorite books about girls and women and the joy brought to them by their beloved bikes. These fun tales are sure to have your Mighty Girl (and you) raring to get back in the (bike) saddle again!
Books About Mighty Girls And Women And Their Bikes
Sally Jean’s bicycle, Flash, is her favorite thing in the world. Together, they try all sorts of daring things: pedaling backwards, wheelies, even jumps. But one day, Sally Jean realizes that Flash is too small and her parents don’t have the money to get her a new bike. Fortunately, a next-door neighbor with a yard full of what seems like junk is able to help inspire Sally Jean with the perfect solution — she'll build a new bike! And Flash? Well, there are always little boys and girls who dream of their very own bicycle… This uplifting and energetic story celebrates ingenuity and the tremendous sense of freedom that a bike can give a Mighty Girl.
In a shop window, a girl spots the bike of her dreams, but it costs far more than she has saved. Her quest to find ways to earn money leads to a friendly neighbor, who offers her work in the garden. Together, the woman and the girl work side by side until she finally has saved enough — but when she returns to the shop, the bike is gone. Fortunately, after she uses her savings to do a good deed for her brother, the girl discovers that she’s not the only generous person on her street! This sweet wordless story is a celebration of hard work, cross-generational friendships, and the joy that comes from generosity.
In 1896, Louise Belinda wonders why her brother gets to ride a bicycle and she doesn't. When she asks why, Joe tells her that girls who ride bikes will develop "bicycle face," a horrible distorted face that lasts forever. Fortunately, Louise Belinda is skeptical, and when she finally gets on a bike, she discovers her bicycle face is really an enormous smile! And it's not long before her example inspires other girls and women to try out their own set of wheels. Set against the backdrop of the Women's Suffrage Movement, and with an afterword about the important connection between bicycles and the fight for women's rights, this picture book shows young readers the power of challenging the status quo and celebrates the freedom of riding a bike.
When New Year's Eve firecrackers scare a little stray cat in Beijing, she jumps into little Angel's courtyard, and the two become fast friends. On Angel's bicycle, the pair explore the city — but on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, Kitty leaps at a dragon kite and gets carried off into the sky! Hopping on her bike, Angel searches all their favorite places, hoping desperately to find her friend again, and finds Kitty in a most unexpected place.... This charming tribute to the sights of Beijing incorporates a sweet tale about friendship.
Tillie Anderson came to America in hopes of finding a dream. She got a job at a tailor's shop and earned her keep... until a man sped by the shop on a bicycle, and she knew in a flash what she wanted to do. But Tillie didn't want to do the elegant, synchronized riding deemed acceptable for ladies: she wanted to race! She trained with weights; she sewed herself a shocking costume with pants instead of a skirt; and even when she was nicknamed the "Terrible Swede," she kept chasing records. This exuberant picture book biography of a bicycle pioneer includes a selection of Anderson's victories and record breaking performances.
At the edge of the vast American prairie, a little girl is famous with her neighbors for riding her bike everywhere, wearing her red jacket with the hood pulled up — so they start calling her Little Red Riding Hood. When Little Red sets off to Grandma's house with some muffins and lemonade, naturally, she takes her bike. The wolf, of course, sniffs out the treats and has a plan to steal himself a snack... but it turns out that Red's sharp-eyes, tractor-driving Grandma has no patience for wolves! Kids will love this witty retelling of Little Red Riding Hood where the main character actually rides.
Big Red is a bicycle whose little boy, Leo, loves riding him around his North American city streets. But when Leo gets too big for Big Red, he decides to donate the bicycle to an organization that ships bikes to Africa. In Burkina Faso, Big Reg gets a new life, helping Alisetta get from her family's fields to the market quickly and safely — and when Alisetta passes Big Red on, the bike, now renamed Le Grand Rouge, helps Haridata deliver medications and get sick people to the hospital. This unique story shows how one ordinary bicycle — and a child's desire to make a difference — can change lives across the world.
In this quirky story, 12-year-old introvert Bicycle has been raised by Sister Wanda in the Mostly Silent Monastery since she was left there as a three-year-old. But Sister Wanda is worried that Bicycle doesn't have any friends, so she declares that she's going to sleepaway camp at the Friendship Factory (“Three Guaranteed Friendships or Your Money Back.”) Bicycle has other ideas, and sets off on her own bike for California, aiming to meet her hero, Polish cycling racer Zbig. Along the way, she encounters a good-natured ghost, a mysterious woman in black, and an unexpected number of new friends! Hilarious and charming, this adventure celebrates the call of the open road and the joy of friendship.
Eleven-year-old Wadjda wants the green bicycle she saw in a shop more than anything — but in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it's improper for a girl to ride a bike, and her parents refuse to get it for her. So the enterprising girl decides to save up for the bicycle herself, first by making bracelets, then by selling mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. When she's caught, she has to turn over a new leaf or risk expulsion, but that doesn't mean she'll give up on her dream! This novel, based on Haifaa Al Mansour's groundbreaking film Wadjda, captures the rapidly shifting attitudes and culture in the Middle East, all while exploring gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family.
What is now a childhood rite of passage — riding a bicycle — was once a revolutionary opportunity for women to gain freedom of movement and independence. Sue Macy uses vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and more to show how the ability to travel freely made definitive improvements in women's lives — something that's still happening in other countries of the world today. Most importantly, the ability to travel alone to gather with other women was a key element in the success of the Women's Suffrage Movement. This insightful book will gain new appreciation for the tremendous social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."
Shannon Galpin found confidence and courage on the seat of her bike — and now, her nonprofit Mountain2Mountain does the same for girls and women in Afghanistan! After becoming the first woman to ride a mountain bike in the wartorn country, she used that bike ride to raise social awareness — and encourage people to try out a bike themselves. As her influence grew, she worked with politicians and journalists, teachers and prison inmates. Her goal? To ensure that women in Afghanistan have the ability and confidence to raise their voices and seek justice, whatever form that takes. This memoir will inspire readers with the power of two wheels to drive social change.