7 Children's Books That Show Girls Can Do Anything
Girls can do anything. We all know that, right? But when you’re growing up, it’s not always obvious. In order to make sure your child – boy or girl – knows that women are out there making moves, you’ve got to show it to them. Check out these seven books (or series) that feature women making major inroads.
By Brad Meltzer
This series of picture books for young readers focuses on both male and female heroes. But it really includes a great deal of diversity – not just in terms of race and gender – but also in terms of the various disciplines it covers. Biographies on women span a wide range of personas as well – from Amelia Earhart to Lucille Ball and Rosa Parks.
These densely illustrated books present facts in a way that young minds can really understand. Expressive cartoony illustrations and rich text tell the stories of some fabulous women from early childhood on through to big achievements. Great for stubborn readers or children who are just learning to read on their own.
By Jonah Winter
Frida Kahlo is one of the most well-known female artists in the world. Her deeply personal art combined the aesthetics of her culture with her own reality. This biography gives the details of her life and how they inspired her to create her masterpieces.
It’s a bright and colorful picture book that makes tragedy palpable for little ones. Frida had some very rough patches in her life, and this book does go over them but the tone remains child-friendly throughout.
By Michaela DePrince
Too often when we talk about inspiring women, we overlook women who are doing more traditional feminine things. This is a mistake, and as parents, we should show role models in a variety of disciplines. This biography about Michaela DePrince will let your child know that, no matter the opposition, it’s worth chasing your dreams.
DePrince is a black woman who has risen to stardom in the world of ballet. She breaks the stereotypical image of the white ballerina and adds diversity to the art. This is a great book for newly independent readers who want to break into the world of dance.
By Catherine Thimmesh
For the more science-minded child, this is a great book that shows the contributions of women – both big and small – to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), a field that isn’t often associated with women.
It covers such inventions as those made by Clarissa Britain, who improved ambulances, to Lydia Bonney and her undergarments. While not all the inventions are ground-breaking, like the baby jumper, they are still life-changing and offer an opportunity to speak to your child about intersectionality. For example, the invention of the baby jumper allows women greater freedom. Greater freedom means more innovation. This is recommended for older readers.
By Kate Schatz
Focusing on those who helped create a new normal, this book is filled with women who marched, picketed, and forced social change for causes they believed in. The pages are filled with heroes who will inspire children to stand up for what they think is right, no matter the cost. Again, this is for older readers as it also deals with some very heavy themes.
By Charles J. Shields
Harper Lee is one of the America’s greatest literary treasures. She is the author of the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird and the controversial Go Set a Watchman. Female authors have this sort of stereotype of being recluses, shut away in attics, tapping at typewriters. But this exploration of Lee’s life tells a very different story. It shows how she used her own experiences to create an American classic—a great book for any child who is looking to pick up the pen one day.
This book is adapted from an adult work and meant to resonate with middle grade readers.
By Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai has become an icon for her bravery. The young girl was shot for attempting to attend school. She survived and now she stands for peaceful protest against injustice and for the empowerment of girls everywhere.
A great story of bravery that also gives children some insight into how other children live. This isn’t a fictional account fabricated by an author safe at home or some historical record. This is a current story and vision of a conflict that is happening right now.
I Am Malala is a book for older independent readers. There is a children’s book, Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Legget Abouraya that is targeted for the young set.
These seven books are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to introducing your child to all of the wonderful women in the world. Which books are your favorites for introducing young minds to female heroes?
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