Check out these incredible stories of women and girls who beat the odds, chased their dreams, and refused to take no for an answer!
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
Malala’s incredible story about making the world a better place, written by Malala herself. It is written for young children, but touches on some very difficult themes – you may want to preview. Malala is a great example of overcoming extreme adversity and going on to advocate for others.
Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray
The inspiring story of Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who, at just 14 years of age, received the first perfect 10 score in the history of Olympic gymnastics. My 4 and 8 year-old girls asked me to read this to them over and over and over! And then, of course, we had to try to find some videos of Nadia doing gymnastics on the internet. This is a great read!
Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist by Linda Skeers
Mary Anning was a trailblazer whose persistence led to a new way of understanding fossils and dinosaurs.
Fly High: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger
Through determination and perseverance, Bessie Coleman overcame a tremendous amount of opposition to achieve her dream of becoming a pilot, and she made history by being the first African-American to earn a pilot’s license. Truly inspiring!
Me. . .Jane by Patrick McDonnell
This is a story about the childhood of Jane Goodall and how she followed her dreams and made them reality. There is an inspiring message from Jane herself at the end of the book, who seeks to encourage everyone, including children, to make a difference in the world.
Dorothea’s Eyes by Barb Rosenstock
This book is beautifully written; it would be a great source of copywork! This true account of Dorothea Lange touches on her personal struggles and triumphs, as well as the sorrow and poverty that she documented during the Great Depression.
Eleanor Makes Her Mark by Barbara Kerley
This book does a great job of introducing children to Eleanor Roosevelt and the many many impactful things she did, as well as the challenges she faced and overcame. Interesting, engaging, and succinct all at once!
The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer – by Mara Rockliff
This is a really cool true story about a girl who didn’t let prejudice against women hold her back from achieving her goals and offering her brilliant mind and skills in service to her country.
It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear
I love this book, and if you like any of Gyo Fujikawa’s wonderful children’s books, you will too! I’ve always loved Gyo’s sweet illustrations and stories, but I didn’t know what a remarkable woman she was until reading this book. Gently touches on themes of women’s rights, racism, and the Japanese internment. I think it is a very appropriate way to introduce some of those topics to younger children.
Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson
How Rachel Carson combined her love of nature and her scientific expertise to show us how humans are impacting the environment. A fun and informative read!
Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss
Maggie had a dream of flying one day. When the United States entered World War II, she seized the opportunity to make her dream come true and serve her country at the same time by becoming a WASP – Women Airforce Service Pilot. She was one of only two Chinese American women to do so. Great story!
Me, Frida by Amy Novesky
Tells about Frida Kahlo’s journey to becoming an artist and gives some insight on the inspiration for her paintings. Very good read.
Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller
The story of a Cherokee woman who courageously defied society to help her people.
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
This is an amazing story! Katherine not only saved Apollo 13, but she helped put the first people into space and on the moon!
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
Gives brief summaries of the societal contributions and accomplishments of 13 women, some well-known and some less-recognized. A good starting point for learning about inspiring women!
I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White
This is the story of how Esther Morris helped women gain the right to vote in the very first state to grant voting rights to women (Wyoming). There is so much to like about this book! It portrays Esther as a determined girl and woman who believes in herself and goes the distance to accomplish many things that society told her she couldn’t do. The story is entertaining and engaging and the illustrations are lots of fun! I love this one!
What books would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below!