Once upon a time, female characters in picture books were all too often damsels in distress (or, occasionally, wicked queens and/or evil witches). Thankfully, your kids are growing up in a time when there are kids' books about real, badass women (past and present) who faced unthinkable obstacles to change the world for generations to come. And now that Women's History Month is officially here, this is the perfect time to read them! So what are some fabulous children's books about amazing women for Women's History Month?
With their fierce and fabulous heroines, these are books you'll not only love reading to your kids, they're books you might learn something from yourself, too! After all (as you probably know too well), history books tend to skim over some of the more significant accomplishments women have made throughout history — so it's up to you to fill in the gaps as a parent (especially if you're a parent who wants your child to have a comprehensive knowledge of feminist history and passion for gender equality).
Beyond sending important messages and teaching valuable lessons, though, these books are also just plain fun to read (and look at, too). Who needs fairy tales when you've got real lives like these to learn about?
1. 'Malala's Magic Pencil' by Malala Yousafzai
In this gorgeously illustrated read, Nobel Peace Prize winner, The New York Times bestselling author, and all around phenomenal human being Malala Yousafzai tells her story of growing up in Pakistan, involving a wish for a magic pencil that she would use to fix all the problems in the word.
2. 'Just Being Audrey' by Margaret Cardillo
3. 'The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Patricia Bath' by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley
If you've never heard of Patricia Bath, you'll get as much out of this book as your little one: With the Civil Rights Movement going on all around her, Bath didn't let racism, poverty, or sexism stop her from discovering a groundbreaking treatment for blindness.
4. 'Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race' by Margot Lee Shetterly
If your kid is too young to watch the (excellent) movie version, choose this mesmerizing tale of four pioneering female African American mathematicians at NASA as a bedtime story and she'll have sweet, empowered dreams.
5. 'She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World' by Chelsea Clinton
Including tales of such iconic female figures as Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, and others, this book serves up some serious inspiration!
6. 'Little Feminist Board Book Set' by Lydia Ortiz
Way too cute to resist, this set includes four different board books highlighting different categories of notable feminists (artists, pioneers, leaders and activists) and will introduce your baby to Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, and others before she can even talk!
7. 'Marie Curie (Little People, Big Dreams)' by Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Plant the seeds for a lifelong interest in STEM with this lovely book about Marie Curie, and how her discovery of radium and polonium changed cancer treatment forever.
8. 'Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles' by Patricia Valdez and Felicita Sala
As if the "dragon doctor" thing isn't enough of a draw, Joan Procter's story is as interesting as the title implies: A little girl who preferred lizards to dolls, she grew up to be the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum and designed the Reptile House at the London Zoo.
9. 'Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code' by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu
Kids owe a lot to Grace Hopper, if they like their screen time: She was a trailblazer in the field of computers, even coining the phrase "computer bug," and taught computers to "speak English." Great takeaway quote: "If you've got a good idea, and you know it's going to work, go ahead and do it."
10. 'I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark' by Debbie Levy
In the first picture book about the life of the formidable RBG, kids learn "disagreeing does not make you disagreeable" (and that sometimes dissent is a good thing!).
11. 'Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist' by Jess Keating
Obsessed with sharks from childhood, Eugenie Clark was determined to show the world that sharks should be admired, not feared, and that women can and should be scientists (spoiler alert: She did both).
12. 'Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride' by Pam Munoz Ryan
Featuring pictures by renowned illustrator Brian Selznick, this book tells the true (but little-known) story of what happened when Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt snuck away from a White House dinner in 1933 to commandeer a jet for their very own adventure (while still wearing evening gowns, of course).
Disclosure: Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.
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