Let's fill our kids' bookshelves with inspiring books for young girls (and boys) that will empower them to believe in themselves, strive for gender equality, and do what is right as they navigate through life. We hope these books showcasing strong females inspire the daughters and sons in your life and welcome you to add more favorite feminist children's books to the list.
As an Amazon Associate, Upparent may earn commission from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Hannah Scott: LOVE this book! It was required reading when I was in sixth grade, but I still have my copy. It's such a refreshing departure from preteen "chick lit."
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone shares the inspiring story of Elizabeth Blackwell, who decided she wanted to be a doctor despite the fact that women were not doctors in that time. After 28 medical schools rejected her, she was finally accepted, graduated at the top of her class and become the first female doctor. She later opened a women's hospital and women's medical school, inspiring other women to become doctors.
This book will inspire girls to never give up, chase their dreams and believe in themselves. It also shows that anything in life is possible.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly shares the story of four intelligent women who excelled at math and how they successfully worked on NASA's first journeys into space. This started at a time before equal rights which made it more of a challenge. The women proved their talents, making history in the process.
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden are inspiring to many girls to study math, engineering and science. Their accomplishments have shown girls they can grow up and choose any career they want.
Here Come the Girl Scouts!
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Daisy Gordon Low was a girl unlike most in the late 1800s. She traveled the world and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty. In Here Come the Girl Scouts, by Shana Corey, we learn how Daisy founded the Girl Scouts of America giving girls the foundation to not only swim and camp, but to grow up with the qualities that make good citizens.
Daisy was a fighter and advocate. She put her heart and soul into the Girl Scouts and helped thousands of girls live better and more adventurous lives. Trust your heart and follow your beliefs to do good for others.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Someone just gave this to my daughter for her birthday and I'm excited to start reading it to her! It includes 100 stories about female scientists, painters, engineers, judges and many more, and 100 original portraits by 60 incredible female artists from around the world!
Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel is the inspiring story of Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966, after her application was denied. She ran the course in just over 3 hours (with blisters) as spectators cheered wildly for her. She was later declared the Boston Marathon female winner for 1966, 1967 and 1968. Women were officially allowed to register in 1972.
This book will motivate children with a passion for running or sports. Bobbi was tireless, even training in nurse's shoes. She inspired countless women to run in her quest for female sports equality.
Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World
Erin P.: Work your way through the alphabet, from Amelia Earhart, pilot and adventurer, to Zora Neale Hurston, writer and anthropologist, to learn about 26 women who changed their world. This wonderful book from Cynthia Chin-Lee will inspire your children, and your daughters in particular, to dream big!
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos by Monica Brown is the story of a girl who loved animals, survived two major health problems and went on to become a famous painter, at a time when there were few female painters. Frida had polio as a child and later survived a horrible bus accident, both leaving her bedridden for months. During this time, she used her imagination, painting and animals to survive.
Frida also inspires girls because she had different sized legs but this didn't stop her from playing sports and doing boy activities to make her legs stronger, even when she was teased.
Mae Among the Stars
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: As a young girl, Mae Jemison dreamed of being an astronaut, at a time when females were not astronauts and before man landed on the moon. In Mae Among The Stars, by Roda Ahmed, we learn how Mae's persistence and hard work along with the encouragement of her parents led her to be the first African American woman in space.
Mae's story is empowering to girls because she made history by going to outer space. Her commitment to her dream stayed with her and she never faltered - graduating medical school and then joining NASA's astronaut training program. She believed in herself, always.
Grace for President
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio is about a girl who finds it unacceptable that there has never been a female president. Grace tries to change that by running for president at school against Thomas, a popular boy. Grace puts in the much needed time, energy and commitment to her campaign while Thomas gives only a small effort, expecting to receive all of the boys votes.
This book shows girls that hard work and dedication pay off and they can win against any boy and receive support from boys if they are the right person for the job. It celebrates girl power to change the world.
Jennie Utsinger: Me...Jane, by Patrick McDonnell (author and artist of the Mutts comic strip), follows a young Jane Goodall as she explores animals and the natural world with excitement, accompanied by her favorite toy chimpanzee, and ends with Jane in Africa greeting a real chimpanzee. This simple story is accessible for small children and is a lovely introduction to the anthropologist and conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall.
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: This delightful rhyming book has an excellent message. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty tells the story of hard-working Rosie, inventor of many products who chooses to never quit, and is based on Rosie the Riveter from World War II.
These books reflect real life STEM themes. Girls will root for the characters to succeed, providing empowerment and conviction to explore the fields of science and history.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Night Flight by Robert Burleigh tells the epic story of Amelia Earhart and her first solo transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland. The rich illustrations and text will make you believe you are in that plane with her, experiencing the difficulties and challenges. Earhart's inspiring life helped many girls and women seek out adventure and careers.
This book helps children realize that some risks come with complications but with devotion and practice, obstacles can be overcome. Earhart spent her life doing what she loved and that in itself is motivating to listen to your heart.
The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl shares her personal experiences when her family and family friends were hiding for 2 years from the Nazis during World War II. Her moving words take the reader to the attic where she hid and the experiences of war in her tender teen years.
Anne never gave up, despite the dire conditions. Her fierce spirit shines through in her diary entries, creating a remarkable yet sad piece of history. The legacy of her life has inspired females to follow their dreams and not take anything for granted, especially life, family and happiness.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Dear Girl, by the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her daughter Paris Rosenthal, is a beautiful and moving letter to all girls. This sweet book helps girls embrace their differences, believe in themselves and follow their dreams. It empowers girls to take charge of their lives by asking questions, being brave, following their heart and knowing they are intelligent.
This book inspires girls because it reassures them it is special to be unique and wonderful in their own way. Also, it teaches that being true to yourself is best and reminds girls they are loved no matter what.
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Amelia Bloomer transformed women's clothing in the 1800s with her invention of the bloomer, inspired by Libby Miller, cousin to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey, we learn how Amelia fought for women's rights, comfortable clothing and started her own newspaper. She didn't conform to society's rules, even hiring other women to work on her newspaper.
This book inspires and empowers girls do what they want, wear what they want, work in any field they want and not let old rules or what men think stop them from pursing their goals and dreams.
Just Being Audrey
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Audrey Hepburn had a life on her own terms. In Just Being Audrey, by Margaret Cardillo, we learn about her strong work ethic, survival during World War II, rise to fame in America and humanitarian efforts. Audrey was a leader, humble and down to earth: cooking for the crew on movie sets and winning multiple acting awards.
Audrey's life is inspiring because she didn't mold to Hollywood; rather, she created her own trends, such as fashion and short hair. As a humanitarian, she fought for children's rights with UNICEF. She also treasured motherhood as the mom of two sons.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey shares the story of Annette Kellerman, an artistic and strong swimmer and diver from Australia who changed the way people looked at female athletes and swimsuits. Upon traveling the world to perform, she realized her swim suits were not accepted and was even arrested in Boston for not being covered up on the beach!
Annette was a leader who won her court case and inspired many females to take up swimming and wear true swim suits much to their delight. She inspired the acceptance of female swimwear, athleticism, and to fight for what you believe in.
Alabama Spitfire, The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Alabama Spitfire by Bethany Hegedus, we learn about the private life of Harper Lee and how her passion for writing and strong will to follow her heart led her to write To Kill a Mockingbird, one of America's most beloved books.
Lee is inspiring to girls because she grew up as a tomboy (with friend Truman Capote), which continued through adulthood. She followed her love of words and writing and didn't care what others thought. As a Pulitzer prize-winning author, she kept secretive and stayed away from the limelight - remaining true to herself and how she wanted to live her life.
Helen's Big World
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Helen's Big World, by Doreen Rappaport, we learn the inspiring life of Helen Keller and how she overcame deafness and blindness to learn words and their meanings, Braille, how to read and write and how she focused on her senses of touch, taste and smell to uncover the world. Helen's teacher and friend, Annie Sullivan, was by her side for 49 years.
Despite being blind and deaf, Helen graduated college and fought for causes such as women's right to vote, equality for all people and against child labor and war. She was a beacon of hope to all women.
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle is inspired by Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's rule against girls playing the drums. In the richly illustrated, poetic book, the Drum Dream Girl wants to play the drums but girls are not allowed. Her father finally relents and her dream comes true.
The Drum Dream Girl's talents are celebrated, inspiring girls to work hard for what they want, despite being told they are not allowed to do certain things. Girls learn that they have the power to change rules for the better, with hard work and determination.
Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure by Sally Isaacs, we learn about the 364 mile journey Helen took to become the first woman to walk around the magnetic North Pole and the first woman to travel alone to any of the world's Poles. She took a dog (Charlie) with her and the pair trudged through severe storms, ice and the threat of polar bears to accomplish her goal.
Since she did this trek at age 50, Helen inspired girls and women of all ages to set goals and accomplish tasks they might not have thought possible. She empowered women to take risks, have faith and take one step at a time.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Mattie Knight loved to create and invent things from a young age. In Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully, Mattie later created a design to fix a textile machine from causing accidents. Eventually, she invented a machine to create paper bags but when she tried to patent it, a man stole her idea and claimed it as his own.
Mattie is inspiring because she hired a lawyer and went to court to earn her patent back. She proved it was her idea by her sketches and roommate's testimony, won the case and then founded the Eastern Paper Bag Company. She was referred to as "the Lady Edison."
I Could Do That! Ester Morris Gets Women the Vote
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Esther Morris was a woman on a mission. In I Could Do That, by Linda Arms White, we learn how Esther opened her own hat shops, raised her son after her husband died, moved to unknown territory, and fought for the rights of women. She was successful in getting women the right to vote in Wyoming before anyone else and became the first female public official as judge.
Esther's story is inspiring because no matter what life dealt her, she worked hard for what she believed in, raised kids, owned businesses, inspired others, and never faltered. Her story shows girls they can do anything.
Anything But Ordinary Addie
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: There was a time when female magicians were not the star of the show. The tenacious and bold Adelaide Herrmann changed that. In Anything But Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff, we learn how Addie performed as a young girl in a quest to astonish and dazzle. Later, Addie and her husband performed together but after his death, Addie decided the show must go on, and in doing so, became the star.
Addie's story demonstrates to girls that they can do anything a boy can do, only better. She performed for 30 more years, proving that girls have the stamina, ingenuity and power to reach the top.
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson, we learn how Jane Austen became one of the world's greatest writers. She had a love of reading (books written by men from her father's library) as well as imagining, listening and watching which helped her invent stories. She wrote about ordinary people who followed their dreams and with hard work, she crafted 6 novels before her death at age 41.
Elizabeth Started All the Trouble
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport is a book about the fight for women's equality. Elizabeth Cady Stanton led that fight along with many others, speaking out at events and planning conventions. The book shares the journey of other female heroes that advanced women's rights, such as building female schools and women who became nurses, spies and soldiers.
It shares the fight that new women took in the early 1900s, including picketing, parades, and lecturing to gain the right to vote. The book celebrates the victories and ongoing fight for gender equality.
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Vanessa M.: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is based on the true story of a Native American girl named Karana as she survives for 18 years alone on an island, battling wild dogs and struggling to survive. As Karana faces hardships, a quiet strength grows within her - a strength that continues to inspire readers today.
Heart on Fire
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Heart on Fire by Ann Malaspina shares the story of Susan B. Anthony and her fight for women's right to vote. She voted for president in 1872, per the 14th Amendment, but was arrested and put on trial since the government felt women were excluded. People applauded her and she argued her case across the country. She was found guilty but never paid a penny of her fine.
Susan fought her entire life for women's rights and founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. She died in 1906 before women were given the right to vote. In Nov. 1920, 26 million women proudly voted for president.
Touch the Sky
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Alice Coachman made Olympic history by becoming the first African American woman to win a gold medal in 1948. In Touch the Sky by Ann Malaspina, we learn about Alice's early years and her quest to jump and run. She won a national medal and went on to high school to pursue track and field where she excelled in the sport, and worked to pay her tuition.
Alice's life is inspiring to girls who have dreams and aspirations for their future. Alice pursued her love of jumping and her talent grew which empowers others to follow this path. Keep your eye on the goal and you will achieve it.
The Daring Nellie Bly
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Elizabeth Cochran (pen name Nellie Bly) was an independent, fearless woman who transformed news writing and investigative reporting at a time when men dominated the field. The Daring Nellie Bly by Bonnie Christensen shows how she went undercover to expose horrific treatment at a mental asylum and traveled around the world alone to rival a fictional character. She fought for women's rights, determined to make a difference.
Nellie wanted to show the world what she was made of, speak her mind and do what no girls had done before. As a famous reporter and activist, she did just that.
Ada Lovelace Poet of Science
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Ada Lovelace Poet of Science by Diane Stanley is a fitting title since her father was famous poet, Lord Byron. Although she was raised by her mother only, she inherited his imagination and quest for knowledge. She studied science and was a genius with math calculations and programming a computing machine invented by her friend, Charles Babbage. Ada's writing of number coding became the first computer program ever written.
Ada was fascinated by machines, coding and how they could be told to perform calculations. She was also a wife and mother who was determined and ahead of her time.
Nadia The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Nadia The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still by Karlin Gray is the story of famed Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci and her 7 perfect scores of ten in the 1976 Olympics. She won 5 medals that year as well as 4 medals in the 1980 games.
Nadia had a love of movement and play as a child and practiced hard to be a successful gymnast. Even after falling multiple times in prior competitions, she got right back up and worked even harder. A determined athlete, she inspired other girls to give it their all, have confidence in themselves and above all, never quit.
The House That Jane Built
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Jane Adams led a remarkable life and in The House That Jane Built by Tanya Lee Stone, we learn how she started a settlement house in Chicago to help the poor and those in need. Over the years, Hull House provided thousands of people with education, food, access to bathing, music, arts and more, with Jane leading the efforts.
Jane had compassion and a desire rooted from childhood to help those less fortunate than her. She also fought for women's rights and was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her legacy of inspiring girls lives on in community programs today.
America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Gertrude Ederle was born to swim. In America's Champion Swimmer by David Adler, we learn how she set 29 U.S. and world records, won 3 Olympic medals and became the first woman to successfully swim the English Channel, amidst stormy weather in 14 hours and beating the men's record. Millions cheered for her at a parade in her honor.
She inspired a nation of girls to take up swimming and sports. She gave them the strength, courage and resolve to know they can do anything they set their mind to. Gertrude was praised and celebrated which empowered women to continue in her footsteps.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Marie Curie, a brilliant scientist, discovered radium and explored its effects: a cure for cancer or deadly. In Marie Curie by Demi, we learn about her intelligence from a young age, to her life as a wife, mother, scientist and inventor. She assisted with providing X-rays to soldiers in World War I, providing humanitarian efforts.
Marie won two Nobel Peace prizes in her lifetime and was celebrated around the world for her work. After her husband's death, she kept moving forward as a mom, scientist, professor, and researcher. She remains one of the greatest scientists who ever lived.
Louisa May's Battle
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Louisa May's Battle by Kathleen Krull shares the inspiring story of Louisa May Alcott and her rise to fame as acclaimed author of Little Women. Louisa served as a nurse during the Civil War amid difficult conditions and at a time when most nurses were only men. She worked to help support her family and believed in equality for all people. Her home was even part of the Underground Railroad.
When the time was right, Louisa wrote Little Women within 10 months. Her work during the war, fierce determination and writing talents enabled her to be an accomplished author of a true classic.
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Florence Nightingale, by Demi, we learn about Florence and her desire to help people from a young age. She is self-trained to become a nurse and helped improve conditions in medical facilities and military hospitals around the world. She selflessly worked to improve life for the poor and those who were sick. Florence was an advocate and fighter for better healthcare in a time when most women didn't work. She never gave up, even when she was bedridden for much of her adult life. Her legacy and devotion to others continue to inspire girls to enter the healthcare field.
Diana's White House Garden
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In Diana's White House Garden by Elisa Carbone, we learn how Diana Hopkins, at age 10, helped inspire the nation to plant Victory Gardens during World War II as President Roosevelt ordered farm food be sent to the troops. Diana, who lived at the White House with her father, planted such a garden on the White House lawn and citizens across the country followed her lead.
This book will encourage your child to be a leader and not give up as well as try again if something goes wrong. It may also inspire kids to plant their own garden as well as eat more fresh fruits and veggies!
Nothing Stopped Sophie
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe shares the true story of Sophie Germain, a brilliant mathematician. At a time when girls didn't pursue academics, Sophie even pretended to be male. She never gave up and in 1816, became the first woman to win a grand prize from the Royal Academy of Sciences by solving the mathematical formula that would predict patterns of vibrations.
Sophie persevered, worked diligently, and followed her love of math from childhood throughout her life. She paved the way for girls to pursue their dreams and talents, showing that girls can do anything!
Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women's Olympics
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Lucile "Ludy" Godbold used her unique feature of long arms to excel in athletics and in 1922, set a world record in shot put. This took place at an international track meet, dubbed the Women's Olympics, as women were not allowed to compete in track and field in the Olympics.
In Long-Armed Ludy by Jean Patrick, we learn how Ludy was relentless in her training to be the best. Ludy was blessed with strong moral and financial support, which enabled her to compete. This book encourages people to help others as well as work hard towards your goals.
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes by Julia Finley Mosca is a must read that shares the true story of Dr. Patricia Bath and her road to becoming an ophthalmologist to help cure blindness and help the vision of people around the world. She invented the Laserphaco Probe to remove cataracts, was the first woman to start an eye doctor training program, become a professor & had many more accomplishments. Dr. Bath is an inspiration to girls to not let barriers get in your way. Follow your dreams, be a leader and advocate for change, help others less fortunate, and believe in yourself.
Alexandra F.: A fun sci-fi twist on the Sleeping Beauty tale by Deborah Underwood, with lovable characters and lilting rhyme to please the ear!
The Princess and the Pony
Michael Farina: Princess Pinecone wants to grow up to be a warrior, but she has some hurdles, including an excess of cozy sweaters and a pony who eats things it shouldn’t. She sticks with it, and she and her pony learn about teamwork, grit, and getting along without quite fitting in.
Primary photo: Jyotirmoy Gupta on Unsplash
Upparent collects community-submitted recommendations and reviews, and any ideas that are shared reflect the opinions of individual contributors.