By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist
In our latest round-up of Mighty Girl new releases, we're showcasing our fifteen favorite new books for children and teens published in July and August. From stories of fatherly love to modern fairy tales, from fascinating biographies to suspenseful and page-turning fiction, there's sure to be a title to appeal to every lover of girl-empowering literature!
Of course, to discover more titles for children and teens, you can also browse our entire book collection of over 2,000 titles starring girls and women or mouse over 'Books' on our main menu to open our book directory.
Lucille Ball could famously make any situation funny and her comedic genius made the world laugh. But she was also a trailblazer in other ways -- her business acumen allowed her to break new ground as the first woman to run a television studio. This picture book biography, part of the Ordinary People Change The World series, will show your kids that anything -- even a great sense of humor -- can be the jumping off point for a career that changes the world.
When Kikko realizes that her father has forgotten the pie he intended to bring to Grandma’s house, she sets off to catch up with him on his walk through the woods. But on her way, she stumbles across a mysterious large house where she discovers all of the animals of the forest holding an elaborate tea party which she is invited to attend. When her journey is done, she -- and the reader -- are left wondering: was this Kikko’s flight of fancy? Or is there really magic to be found hidden in the woods? This modern fairy tale celebrates the power of the imagination and the importance of kindness.
As they go for a walk through their neighborhood, a patient father encourages his daughter to ask him all of the questions she is brimming with as they explore the world. This wise dad knows that there’s much beauty and love to share in this idle walk and rambling talk. And with each new sight prompting another train of thought comes something else: the confidence and joy that comes from knowing that your father is really listening. This poetic and gentle picture book is sure to prompt your own sessions of “ask me.”
A girl’s family is vacationing by the Pacific Ocean and she is not happy about it -- at first. Who said she wanted to leave her friends in the city for a boring, freezing ocean anyway? But as she slowly allows herself to be coaxed into exploring the seaside, she discovers that the ocean has its own rhythm, once that defies rushing and hurry and encourages her to pause and enjoy its beauty. And when she has to leave, she realizes that she can take that gentle ocean -- this specific ocean -- with her wherever she goes. This lyrical picture book by the author of Virginia Wolf also conveys an important message about the power of natural spaces.
It's election day and nothing will stop 100-year-old Lillian from walking up the steep hill to her polling place. As she makes her slow journey, she thinks about the many steps along her family's history: her great-grandfather, voting for the first time after the Fifteenth Amendment is passed; her parents, trying -- and failing -- to register to vote; and, finally, a younger version of herself, marching from Selma to Montgomery. This poignant story of the fight for voting rights will give young readers a new appreciation of the tremendous efforts that went into ensuring everyone's right to cast a ballot.
As a child growing up in Russia, Anna Pavlova was captivated by the ballet dancers her mother took her to see one winter’s night. But a child like her -- not only poor, but also small, thin, and frail -- surely couldn’t be a ballerina. Pavlova’s determination and love of dance changed the ballet world forever, and to her dying day, she lived and breathed the graceful, exquisite Swan. This astounding picture book biography of the woman who was determined to share the art of dance with the world will delight young readers, in particular, lovers of dance.
Most of the world knows her as the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other charming children’s books set in English gardens and countrysides, but Beatrix Potter was also a curious scientist and a dedicated conservationist! From her wealthy childhood in 1860s London, which allowed her the leisure to explore natural history, to her career as an author, to her determination to defend Britain’s green spaces from industrialization and logging, this accessible biography provides a vivid and nuanced picture of this beloved writer. This book is a new entry in the Who Was / Who Is biography series.
It’s 1899, and 12-year-old Serafina lives with her pa in the basement of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, where the most important rule has always been that no one can know she’s there since the rich owners don't know she lives in the basement with her father, the estate's maintenance man. But when children start disappearing, Serafina knows the culprit: the mysterious man in a black cloak she’s seen stalking the estate’s halls. With the help of the estate owners’ nephew, Serafina must find a way to reveal the man’s true identity before all the children are gone. In the process, Serafina will learn secrets about a legacy of magic and discover who she really is. This gripping, suspenseful tale is sure to be a page turner!
Many kids have heard the name of Malala Yousafzai, the daring education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; now they can read her story in this accessible biography for middle readers! This book follows Malala from her childhood in the Swat Valley to her blog-writing career to the infamous assassination attempt by the Taliban, and finishes with her Nobel Prize win shortly before she turned 18. This excellent addition to the Who Was / Who Is biography series is a great way to teach children about the courage and dedication of this remarkable young woman. Readers in this age group can also check out the youth edition of her memoir I Am Malala, which is suitable for ages 10 and up.
It's the summer of 1976, but rather than passing time with her friends in Pennsylvania, 10-year-old Sunny is living in the Pine Palms retirement community in Florida with her grandfather -- sent there by her parents as they struggle with her older brother's substance abuse problems. Although her life feels like it's been turned upside down, Sunny still manages to make a friend, have a few adventures, and perhaps most importantly, discover the comic book stories that will help her make sense of her topsy-turvy life. This funny and emotional graphic novel handles the difficult issue of addiction's effects on a family with sensitivity and compassion.
In San Francisco in 1900, 13-year-old Lizzie would love to follow her physician father on rounds all the time, but her aunt insists that she goes to a finishing school rather than pursuing her love of science. Observant Lizzie sees enough to realize that there's a dark side to the city, one full of poverty and hardship -- and possibly an epidemic in the making. And yet her father, the mayor, and the newspapers all deny that plague has reached the city, even as angry mobs threaten to burn Chinatown to the ground. With her friend Noah, the Chinese cook's son, Lizzie will have to defy all the restrictive social rules separating people by race and class if she hopes to save the city and the people she loves.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, it not only splits a country, it splits Gerta's family. She, her brother Fritz, and her mother are in Soviet-controlled East Berlin, where soldiers train their guns on their own citizens, while her father and middle brother are in the west, where they had gone looking for work. When Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform one day, she thinks he's sending her a message: she and Fritz should tunnel under the wall. But if they're caught, they'll be executed, and they can't trust anyone. This suspenseful story explores a part of history few of today's young readers know well, with thrilling results.
Callie Vee from the Newbery Honor-winning The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is back! With her brother Tate continually bringing home injured wild animals, Calpurnia has discovered an interest in veterinary medicine -- one which she can explore under the mentorship of Dr. Pritzker, the town’s veterinarian. But her accomplishments are still discounted compared to her brother’s, and when the Galveston hurricane forces her traumatized 17-year-old cousin Aggie into the household, things get even harder. The book pulls no punches about the realities of gender limitations in Texas at the turn of the 20th century, but once again, readers will cheer for the clever, resilient Calpurnia.
16-year-old inventor Nicolette (Nick) learned mechanics at her mother's knee, but that was in happier times, before her mother died, her father remarried, and then he died too, leaving her to do her heartless stepsisters' bidding. But when Nick discovers a secret workshop, powered by fey magic, she sees the potential for escape and the possibility of a happier life. A technological exposition and a royal ball with both play into this reimagined version of "Cinderella," but most important of all will be Nick: her search for independence, her desire to be herself, and her ability to use her talents to choose her own future.
If your Mighty Girl wishes she could do something “real” to change the world, she’ll be fascinated by these stories of real women who have made lasting change. From historical figures like anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells and suffragist Alice Paul to modern women like education activist Malala Yousafzai and peace activist Leymah Gbowee, these diverse profiles show that anyone can make a change if they’re willing to take a stand. This inspiring new addition to the Women of Action series will get your Mighty Girl thinking about her own ways to change the world.
As a parent, it’s easy to believe that it’s best to step in and help your child, whether it’s keeping her physically safe from scrapes on the playground or emotionally safe from tough losses in competitions or falling grades. But author Jessica Lahey argues that well-intentioned adults are actually teaching kids a very negative lesson: that they are incapable of solving their own problems. The result is insecure, unhappy kids who never get to see just how competent they are. Lahey provides a blueprint for handling common trouble areas, including homework, sports, and social dynamics. Most importantly, she encourages parents to teach their kids to embrace and learn from their failures.
Additional REcommended Resources
- For our full selection of 2014 Mighty Girl books, visit our list of 2014 Mighty Girl Books: A Year In Review.
- If reading these fascinating Mighty Girl biographies makes you want to learn more about the inspiring women of past and present, you can learn about our favorite biographies for adult readers in our blog posts Inspirational Women: Biographies for Adult Readers and Stories of Mighty Women: New Biographies for Adult Readers.
- To explore our full collection of over 2,000 books in over 200 categories, visit our Book Collection.