Every child should have a well-stocked bookshelf, because books are everything. But along with the Cat in the Hat, Llama Llama, and Elephant and Piggie titles, a good children's book collection should include some nonfiction... particularly picture book biographies of women. Because it's never too early to introduce our kids to the important people who helped shape our world.
Of course it's wonderful for children to grow up reading about fantasy characters, and to learn rhyming and sight words as they follow along with the text. But it's also important for them to learn about real-life inspirational figures along with the PAW Patrol rescuers and Marvel superheroes. As the children's book publisher Scholastic explained, reading nonfiction biographies helps kids in a number of ways. They make history more relatable (remember how bored you were memorizing meaningless names and dates?). They teach valuable lessons in perseverance and achieving seemingly impossible goals (who would have thought a girl from the barrio of the Bronx could grow up to become Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor?). And there's something to appeal to every child's interest, whether it's animals, photography, space, music, or science.
In honor of Women's History Month in March, it would be especially appropriate to buy or borrow one of these bios. Some are about women you know well (and so your kids should, too); some may come as a surprise to both of you. Either way, you'll find plenty to inspire and delight.