These stories present the wonderfully diverse group of celebrated and unsung heroes who have changed our world.
A Is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World Board Book, by Eva Chen, Illustrated by Derek Desierto
Feiwel &Friends, 2019
Why not learn your A,B,C’s while reading about some of the incredible women who have changed the course of world history? From Harriet Tubman to Queen Elizabeth I, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Sacagawea and from CoCo Chanel to Malala. With jazzy illustrations this board book makes the alphabet a fun romp through the many things the reader might want to be!
Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face, by Larissa Theule, Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
It’s 1896, Louise Belinda Bellflower lives in Rochester, New York with her parents and brother Joe. But Louise Belinda isn’t allowed to ride a bike and Joe is. Joe says girl’s faces will scrunch up from trying to balance on a bike, and stay that way, forever. Nonsense! Here’s the story of how the right to ride a bike advanced the women’s suffrage movement.
The Cat Who Lived With Anne Frank, by David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Philomel Books, 2019
As seen through the eyes of Anne Frank’s cat, this poignant book describes a young girl dreaming of a better life, wondering what mark she might leave on the world, and, determined to believe in the goodness of people. Filled with vivid illustrations, this is a perfect introduction to a serious topic for younger readers, especially when respect and inclusion are so important.
Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon, by Kim Chaffee, Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Page Street Kids, 2019
Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. We follow young Kathrine from running laps in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of her triumph. Her story is inspirational for anyone eager to set things right. An excellent choice for girls and boys alike.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor, by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala
Alfred A. Knopf, 2018
When Joan was a little girl she was fascinated by lizards, snakes, turtles and crocodiles. When Joan grew up, her passion took here to London’s Natural History Museum where she became the first female curator at the Reptile House. For budding scientists and any child who has a passion, this is an inspiring story about following a dream, even if it seems unlikely to succeed.
Mary Wears What She Wants, Written and Illustrated by Keith Negley
Balzer + Bray, Harper Collins 2019
Not that long ago, girls only wore dresses, boys wore pants. Until a young girl named Mary decided she could very well wear pants too! Inspired by the story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing 19th-century doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this bold, original picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Illustrated by Paola Escobar
Pura Belpré was New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian and champion of bilingual literature. She arrived in 1921, bringing the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland to the New York Public Library. There she turned her stories into books for the Spanish speaking population making the library accessible to them for the first time. Her legacy continues to benefit generations of children to this day.
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
(People Who Shaped Our World), by Teresa Robeson, Illustrator by Rebecca Huang
Sterling Children’s Books, 2019
When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls didn’t attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents disagreed. They encouraged her love of learning and science. Wu Chien Shiung battled sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics”. For ambitious girls, and boys, facing obstacles, this book is sure to inspire.
Ruth Asawa, A Sculpting Life, by Joan Schoettler, Illustrated by Traci Van Wagoner
Pelican Publishing Company
From the Japanese internment camps to the creation of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Asawa’s life journey is filled with family, art, injustice, strength, education, and arts activism. Using lines, space and wire Asawa created sculptures that continue to inspire. It is a joy to learn about an artist who overcame so much to create beauty to share with so many.
Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival, Written and Illustrated by Lindsay Moore
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2019
Informed by the author’s background in marine science, Sea Bear is a vivid and moving page-turner with a vital message about our changing planet. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with the perfect marriage of scientific fact and poetry, that shows the reality of climate change and how it poses a threat to animals of the Arctic. Perfect for family and classroom sharing.