Every girl needs heroines and role models to look up to. Despite the lack of deserved recognition and fame that pioneering women in history have received, there are still plenty of ways to learn their stories. The following books* have taken some of the most amazing stories of female power and ingenuity that are sure to inspire you and the young ones in your life.
1. Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World
Perfect for children as young as five or adults with an appreciation for picture books, this set of 26 biographies highlights a diverse mix of historical women.
With a page dedicated to each woman, it’s a great glimpse at their struggles and accomplishments. Ranging from writers, artists, philanthropists, and scientists, this book can reach girls with all types of aspirations.
2. Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!
This is a beautiful story of a girl who overcomes her fear of water and later sets swimming records. She even defies the societal norm at the time when she performs with her legs uncovered.
3. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman
Not only did Wilma Rudolph face incredible disadvantages (like being paralyzed and told she would never walk again), she was the first in her family to graduate from college and the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics.
4. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
This book will teach you about everyday products that were invented by some ingenious women. From the windshield wiper to chocolate chip cookies, female inventors have contributed a great deal to our lives.
5. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery
Eleanor Roosevelt is a wonderful example of what it means to be a successful leader. The complexity of her life and work is presented in such a way that it can be relevant and interesting to young ages as well. Arguably the first “working” First Lady, Eleanor’s work, including her part in founding the United Nations, is an inspiration to us all.
6. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
This amazing true story demonstrates the power and importance of education as well as love. Nasreen’s story is also an eye-opening look at life in a culture where women and girls have much different problems to face than we do in the United States. With a special school, a devoted teacher, a new friend, and the world of literature, Nasreen can change her outlook on life.
7. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Wanted To Go To School
Even the Taliban can’t stop Malala Yousafzai; not even with a bullet. If you followed the news this year, you have probably heard of the brave Pakistani sixteen-year-old who stood up for her right to education in the face of danger. Read Malala’s story in her own words, the girl who became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
Obviously there are many more important and inspiring stories of amazing girls and women that didn’t fit on this list. What are your favorite books about women making a difference?
*Special thanks to A Mighty Girl, a wonderful website that not only made finding these books easier, but is also an amazing resource for inspiring young girls.
Katie Boyer is a blogger and social media expert living in Oakland, CA. Katie spends her free time analyzing the media, reading, writing, bicycling, and playing with her pet rabbit.