10 Must-Read Kids' Books To Celebrate Women's History Month
The sad reality is that I didn’t even begin to become truly aware of women’s history until I was in college. Grade school was heavily focused on Laura Ingalls Wilder as the sole representation of females. The “classic” books we were required to read almost always centered on a white male’s experience, such as Where the Red Fern Grows. The females, if they were present, were always the sidekicks, taking on supporting roles as sisters, teachers, mothers, nurses, and grandmas. They were never the creatives or the heroes.
Women’s history has been largely ignored and mansplained. Thankfully, March is Women’s History Month, offering us the opportunity to step up our parenting game and teach our kids the amazing things women have done and are doing.
Let me be clear that you don’t have to be a child and female to learn from these books. Women’s history, like black history, is American history. It should be taught to all kids and adults. I have enjoyed learning from my kids’ books, thankful that they have the opportunity to be educated on strong women, unlike I did as a child. The books I’m suggesting to you are authored by women and are written about women, making each one a powerful knowledge tool.
Authored and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, second to fifth graders will enjoy exploring inspirational women from different cultures and backgrounds. Readers learn about Gyo Fujikawa, Toni Morrison, Grace Hoppers, and Maya Lin, among many others. Follow this read up with one of Harrison’s other books, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.
Authored by Chelsea Clinton, this hardcover children’s picture book is geared toward four to eight-year-olds. Some of the women featured include Harriet Tubman, Sally Ride, and Ruby Bridges. If your child enjoys this book, check out her second one, She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History.
Learn about Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Beatrix Potter, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, and 45 more. Designed for third and fourth grade readers, each biography includes illustrations and photographs for more engagement.
Author Linda Skeers delves into the lives of 52 fearless women, ranging from the 18th century to the present. The book is geared for children in upper elementary grades through middle school, and features women of different interests and backgrounds.
Lucille Ball, Billie Holiday, Betty Friedan, Selena, Dolly Parton, and Tina Fey are just six of the one hundred revolutionary women your child will learn about. The detailed, engaging biographies and vibrant illustrations are designed to hold the reader’s attention.
Author Rachel Ignotofsky teachers her upper-elementary and middle school readers about incredible athletes such as Simone Biles, Billie Jean King, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Presented in age-order, each woman’s biography includes a detailed and abstract illustration. If your child enjoys this book, be sure to also check out Women in Art and Women in Science.
Catherine Thimmesh teachers fourth to eighth grade readers about incredible female inventors in various fields, including Letita Geer (medical syringes), Sonjade Lennart (capri pants), and Melitta Bentz (drip coffee maker). The figures span across the 1800 and 1900s, with each person’s biography and complimentary photographs and illustrations.
Author Sam Maggs shares 25 stories of trailblazing women, including an illustration of each, a few Q and As, and engaging biographies. Some of the featured women are Josephine Baker, Amelia Earhart, and Marie Curie, with some reviewers promising that readers will learn about several women who aren’t well-known.
This book geared toward third to sixth graders features 100 women, including Ada Lovelace, Serena Williams, and Freda Kahlo. Each woman’s story is shared via a short biography and an illustration. If your child enjoys it, be sure to check out her second book, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2.
Author Libby Jackson teaches elementary readers about 50 “galaxy girls,” including Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, who were featured in Hidden Figures. As the Amazon book description states, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and declared it “one small step for man,” but the reality is he never would have landed without the women who helped get him there.
These ten incredible children’s books help us lead our children to understand the sacrifices, talent, and courage it took each woman to place her stamp on the world. Every story reminds us of what feminist Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously said: “Well behaved women seldom make history.”
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