We want all children to grow into adults who feel confident and capable, able to fully access their own unique strengths and abilities in their lives.
The books listed below depict girls (and women) having adventures, making discoveries and contributions, expressing strong emotions, or building things. Several choices are past or current Growing Readers Books of Excellence titles.
Infants and olderBaby Feminists by Libby Babbott-Klein. Lift the flap to meet icons like activist Gloria Steinem, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and astronaut Dr. Mae Jeminson as adorable babies. Simple text helps make historical figures into household names.
Frida / Contando con Frida by Patty Rodriguez. A bilingual board book loosely based on objects in the life of the artist Frida Kahlo.
Preschool/Kindergarten Prep and UpBefore She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome. A lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman honors the woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life, discussing her roles as a slave, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, a nurse, a Union spy, and a suffragist.
Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison. An inspiring showcase of several women who made a big difference in the world.
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle. A Cuban girl dreams of playing the drums but in her culture, girls are prohibited from doing so.
How to Hear the Universe by Patricia Valdez. Discover new realms of outer space in this picture book biography of scientist Gabriela Gonzalez, who immigrated to America and became a ground-breaking scientist. Written by a molecular biologist and illustrated by an award-winning artist, this stunning picture book explores science, space, and history.
Leyla by Galia Bernstein. Tired of her large, noisy, baboon family, young Leyla runs away and meets a lizard who teaches her to sit alone, be quiet, and do nothing.
Madame Saqui: Revolutionary Rope Dancer by Lisa Robinson. A dazzling biography about a Parisian tightrope walker as she shined her impeccable skills during the French Revolution.
Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter. A tribute to two Pakistani children who risked their lives to fight for human rights.
Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry. When Parker Curry came face-to-face with the portrait of Michelle Obama, she didn't just see the First Lady of the United States but a person with self-assurance, beauty and truth.
Rena Glickman, Queen of Judo by Eve Nadel Catarevas. This inspiring autobiography of Rena Glickman, known professionally as Rusty Kanokogi, chronicles her journey to become the preeminent female judo master of her time when judo was a sport strictly for boys and men.
Shark Lady by Jess Keating. Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks at a young age after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. Despite many obstacles in her path, Eugenie was able to study the creatures she loved so much. From her many discoveries to the shark-related myths she dispelled, Eugenie made wide scientific contributions that led to her being nicknamed Shark Lady.
A is for Awesome by Eva Chen. An inclusive alphabet book that introduces famous women who changed the world.
Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris. When a young girl sees a strong woman on TV labeled as "too assertive" and "too ambitious", it sends her on a journey through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.
Counting the Stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician, was one of the dedicated female mathematicians known as a "human computer". She was essential in calculating the orbital mechanics needed to launch the spacecraft orbiting the Earth.
A Girl Named Rosita by Anika Aldamuy Denise. When young Rosita moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States, she didn't know what to expect; but she knew she loved to sing and dance. Working to overcome the language barrier and bullying she experienced in a strange new country, Rita eventually made her way to Hollywood with a dream to be a star. There, she fought to be seen and heard and eventually reached the pinnacle of success, landing her iconic role in West Side Story and, finally, winning her groundbreaking Oscar.
Her Fearless Run: Katherine Switzer’s Historic Boston Run by Kim Chaffee. Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967.
I am Billie Jean King by Brad Meltzer. Billie Jean King is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She fought successfully for women's rights and became an influential icon.
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. Follow the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American female in space.
My Day with Payne by Tami Charles and Sara Palacios. A young girl in Haiti is eager to learn how to carry a basket to market in an exuberant picture book with universal appeal.
Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd. Revealing and defining, this picture book biography tells the story of little Eunice Kathleen Waymon who, after becoming the acclaimed singer Nina Simone, used her voice for powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard. A picture book biography sharing the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation's oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter. A true story of bravery and perseverance about Ruth Bader Ginsburg- the first Jewish woman to become a Supreme Court Justice.
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton. Profiles the lives of 13 American women who have left their mark on U.S. history, including Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Margret Chase Smith and Oprah Winfrey.
The Singer and the Scientist by Lisa Roe. A little-known story about the friendship between the great singer and the great scientist, Marian Anderson and Albert Einstein, and a lesson that true friendship knows no bounds.
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean by Robert Burleigh. A biography of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
To the Front! by Claudia Friddell. This powerful tribute to Civil War nurse Clara Barton and her heroic efforts during the Battle of Antietam reveals how she earned the name "The Angel of the Battlefield," and shows the beginnings of her journey as one of our country's greatest humanitarians and the founder of the American Red Cross.
Voice of Freedom: Frannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford. Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of the civil rights movement. Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, she was vigilant in her fight. Her legacy is a message of hope, determination and strength.
Wonderful Hair: The Beauty of Annie Malone by Eve Nadel Catarevas. Forgotten today, Annie Turnbo Malone was an influential Black business leader in the early 20th century. She turned her personally developed hair care products into a successful industry, including schools that taught the Poro method in her Poro Colleges. Annie Turnbo Malone is an inspiring model and an important part of women's history and Black history who deserves to be better known.