Women’s History Month Biographies (with Printable List)

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Find amazing picture book biographies as well as chapter and middle-grade biographies for kids about famous women for Women’s History Month in March! (Or anytime.) This book list of children’s books will help kids learn about many amazing women, inspiring big dreams of their own.

You’ll find amazing famous women from history or modern times who are (or were) scientists, activists, athletes, dancers, writers, and more.

 

Children’s Books Biographies for Women’s History Month

Women in STEM

The Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, illustrated by Rebecca Huang
Gorgeous collage-style artwork helps the author share female scientist, Wu Chien Shiung’s, inspiring life with young readers. Chien loved learning, especially math and physics. After moving to the United States, she made significant scientific breakthroughs and fought for equal rights, becoming a renowned physicist dubbed “The Queen of Physics.” Very inspiring for young girls.

picture book biography of a female in STEM

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson NASA Mathematician by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by Raul Colon
You can’t help but be inspired by Katherine’s life story. Katherine, after zipping through her schooling early because she is so smart, finds a job as a teacher. But she’s most well known for her next job as a human calculator for NASA’s space program, helping the first American travel to space.

Biography for Women's History Month
The Watcher by Jeannette Winter
Beginning with Jane’s early life in England, see how her path took her to the Tanzanian jungle where she began her life’s work of studying and advocating for chimpanzees.
Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang
Genie loves all fish, especially sharks, and wants to be a fish scientist. Even though she lived in the 1930s when that wasn’t a regular job for a woman, Genie finds work — first as an assistant, then as a researcher for the US Navy, and finally, her own marine laboratory. This book shows her research on sharks discovered more about sharks than anyone, woman or man, knew before.


The Stuff Between the Stars How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe
by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Amee Sicuro Vera
Rubin was an inspiring female pioneer in astronomy who persevered to make huge discoveries that she wasn’t credited for but she didn’t love science because of the accolades. She continued to pursue her questions about the universe and to mentor others.


Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist: The True Story of a World-Traveling Bug Hunter by Christine Evans, illustrated by Yasmin Imamura
In the late 1800s, this daring English girl pursued her love for animals with a job running the London Zoo’s insect house. Not only that, she developed a singular focus on entomology, soon traveling the globe to discover new insects. 

The House That Cleaned Itself: The True Story of Frances Gabe’s (Mostly) Marvelous Invention by Laura Deashewitz and Susan Romberg, illustrated by Meghann Rader
Frances’s inventions for cleaning her house are quite inventive. When she gets fed up with her “job” doing all the housework, she creates a house with rooms that clean themselves. Although her ideas didn’t catch on, maybe one day another inventor will build on Frances’s ideas. Lovely pastel illustrations!


Breaking Through the Clouds
by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia
Great writing shares the fascinating life story of a woman whose stubbornness helped her break all sorts of barriers to study clouds in a male-dominated field.


The Astronaut With a Song For the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
The rhyming text narrates the story of Ellen, a girl who wants to be an astronaut — and she does. In fact, she becomes the first Latina in space where she even plays the flute when she isn’t studying the sun and its effects on our earth’s atmosphere.
biography about female inventor
Ada’s Ideas The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson
Ada lived in an era of burgeoning factories with a strict mathematician mother. As an adult, she used her brilliant mind to help her friend Charles Babbage improve his calculation machine so it would be more like what we know today as a computer. Although it wasn’t mass-produced, Ada is credited with being the first computer programmer. 
Biographies for Women's History Month
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
Little Mae dreams of becoming an astronaut. Her parents tell her to work hard and take Mae to the library, even encouraging her to pretend play astronaut. Despite her teacher’s belittling, “Nursing would be a good profession for someone like you,” Mae listens to her mom and sticks to her dream. She (Dr. Mae Jemison) succeeds, too, becoming the first African American female astronaut in space.

Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee
I love the unique, beautiful artwork in this story based on a short film about the life of Lily Todd, the first woman to build and design an airplane –– despite that in the early 1900s no one believed a woman could or should do such a thing. Despite the many NOs she was told, Miss Todd built and flew anyway. 


Wood, Wire, Wings Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane
by Kirsten W. Larson, illustrated by Tracy Subisak
Here’s another lovely biography about female airplane inventor and engineer, Lilian Todd. Lilian followed her passion and curiosity with persistence to figure out how to make an aircraft. She persisted and failed but eventually designed a successful airplane.


Out of School and Into Nature the Anna Comstock Story
by Suzanne Slade
Anna didn’t follow the typical female path of her time which was getting married. Instead, she studied insects, drew them in detailed pictures, studied them under a microscope, and wrote books about them. When she realized that schools weren’t teaching children about the natural world, she wrote lessons about nature for children. Not only that, she encouraged teachers to take their students outside to experience the beauty of nature.
Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca
Despite being a girl and African American, Patricia stood firm in her goal to become a doctor. After that, she invented the laser probe to heal eyes. 
Biographies for Women's History Month

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone
Despite growing up in a time when women were not viewed as equal to men, Elizabeth studied and worked hard to become the first woman doctor. She showed the world that women were just as smart and capable as men– and can be doctors, too. Elizabeth Blackwell became not just famous but a hero to many women who would follow her footsteps. A perfect choice for Women’s History Month!

Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleigh
Marie wanted to succeed where others had failed in mapping the ocean floor. This picture book shares the challenges and setbacks Marie faced as well as her ultimate success in charting the ocean floor. Another great biography choice for Women’s History Month.
 
 

The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai
by Jen Johnson, illustrated by Wellington Sadler (ages 7 – 10)
A narrative biography chapter book is about a woman named Wangari who studied biology in her native Kenya and later in the United States who started a tree planting movement. Facing lots of opposition, Wangari was arrested and jailed. Once released, she continued her work of planting trees and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize. 
 
Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies How Maria Marian’s Art Changed Science
by Joyce Sidman (ages 8 – 12)
A detailed and thorough biography written for ages 10+, this book starts with Maria’s childhood and continues to her adult life including detailed illustrations and photographs of her actual drawings. Maria’s dogged passion for the natural world, insects, in particular, led to being one of the first naturalists to document a butterfly’s metamorphosis.
 
Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
by Jeannine Atkins (ages 8 – 12)
Three women’s lives, Maria Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell, are showcased in this beautiful book in verse. Each girl’s interest is explained and elaborated. We see how these interests grew into something more, into the passions and discoveries that become their life’s work.
 
Children's Books Biographies for Women's History Month
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition)
by Margot Lee Shetterly (YA ages 12 – 18)
I liked how the author blended the historical realities with the true inspiring life stories of four mathematically talented women. The women worked to build this country’s aviation and aeronautical programs starting from the Civil Rights era to the Space Race and the Cold War to the fight for gender equality. The text includes black-and-white photographs documenting the women’s lives and the historical events which add to the reader’s understanding.
 
children's book biographies for women's history month
Untamed The Wild Life of Jane Goodall
by Anita Silvey 
Untamed is an excellent depiction of Jane Goodall’s life with kid-friendly language using kid-appealing layouts of colorful photos. Interesting insets throughout describe tips for kids and information such as sign language. I love the Gombe Family Scrapbook at the end with some of the significant chimps in Jane’s life.
 
Dian found her passion for primates and studied with Louis Leakey and Jane Goodall, then settled in the congo to study mountain gorillas. It wasn’t easy — she was even captured by the military. As you read about her life and her passion for mountain gorillas, you’ll also learn from the informational section about gorilla species, the landscape around her, and Gorillas that became well known to Dian. The writing is superb.
 
children's book biographies for women's history month
Path
to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist
by Sylvia Acevedo (YA ages 12 – 19)
Sylvia Acevedo’s story shows her incredible intelligence, drive, and determination. She grows up poor in New Mexico greatly impacted by her Mexican-American heritage, Head Start, and the Girl Scouts. Sylvia credits the Girl Scouts with not just teaching her life skills but showing her that she could do hard things and that her life could be more than being a housewife. She is an amazing woman who becomes a rocket scientist and influential leader.
 
best children's book biographies about notable women
Everyday Superheroes Women in STEM
by Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman
Consider this a motivational STEM career guide for Women’s History Month. Informative with a nice design with an inclusive and diverse selection of women and featured careers, you’ll discover 26 women who are making a difference in the world; women you’ve never heard of; women whose jobs you might one day want to do.

Activists

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
Jennifer uses a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy. Using a wheelchair means that she can’t get into the neighborhood school with stairs or eat lunch in the cafeteria with the other kids. Jennifer joins other activists to speak up for access to all places — asking Congress to pass a law called the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jennifer leaves her wheelchair to crawl up the steps (no ramps) of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Eventually, Congress finally passes the ADA! 

The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins and Her New Deal for America by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Alexandra Bye
Frances witnessed injustice and decided to do something about it. Even when women weren’t always taken seriously, she fought for big changes to make life better for workers. Her hard work was rewarded when Franklin D. Rosevelt asked Frances to be the secretary of labor in his cabinet of advisors.

children's book biographies for women's history month

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
When she was younger, Malala dreamed of the things she’d do if she had a magic pencil. She’d erase war, poverty, and hunger. Then she would draw girls and boys together as equals. Soon she gets to achieve her dream and writes about her beliefs. Even after bad men try to stop her, Malala writes. She uses her words as magic to spread a message of hope. Beautifully illustrated and inspiring.

children's book biographies for women's history month

Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
An amazing woman named Clara advocated for justice and equality during a time when black people weren’t permitted the same rights as white people. As a teacher, she inspired her students to believe that change was possible.

Picture Book Biographies About Activists

Lillian’s Right To Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter
Blueish-tinted illustrations capture the somber mood of Lillian’s memories in this historical nonfiction picture book. Lillian’s memories begin with her great-great-grandparents who were slaves, sold, and separated from each other. As Lillian remembers all people who struggled to gain equal rights, all gone before her, she walks slowly up a steep hill to cast her vote. Gaining the right to vote was a journey, somewhat like a steep climb up a hill.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
This is the true story of an immigrant from Ukraine with grit and perseverance. Clara worked in a shirtwaist factory and grew sick of how she and her coworkers were treated. So, she did something about it — she led a strike.


Child of the Flower-Song People Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua
by Gloria Amescua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Luz grew up in Milpa Alta, curious about everything and hoping to be a teacher. Despite being forced to attend school in Spanish, she stayed connected to her Nahua people. She worked as a model for many artists in Mexico, representing her ancestors. She taught interested artists and scholars about the Nahua language and culture.
 

Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women
by Christine McDonnell, illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov
Kip’s life is so inspiring! She saw a need in the world and worked hard to solve it. When others denied that women were just as homeless as men, Kip saw the urgent need to help homeless women. She learned more and opened the first shelter for only women as well as fought for permanent housing for the poor and homeless.

The Story of World War II Hero Irena Sendler by Marcia Vaughan (beginning chapter book)
Sendler’s story truly shows how much one person can make a difference. During WWII, she rescued Jewish children from the Ghetto, changed their names, and found them new families, so they’d escape sickness, starvation, and death. She saved almost 2,500 children! This is a beginning chapter book for kids in an excellent, diverse series called The Story of.

Picture Book Biographies About Inventors and Scientists
The Girl Who Thought In Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca
Dr. Grandin doesn’t fit in at school because her brain is different than other students’ brains. When kicked out, Dr. Grandin stays at her aunt’s farm where she connects with the animals. Her story continues with a new school and an understanding teacher, inventions, and a life after college that includes speaking about autism. 
Who Was Helen Keller Children's children's book biographies for women's history month

Who Was Helen Keller? by Gare Thompson (beginning chapter book)
This is the inspiring true story of Helen Keller, a woman who was deaf and blind and who learned to speak and read then went on to help others.

famous women picture book biographies

Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World by Jessica M. Rinker, illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley
Gloria wanted to tell women’s stories. She started a magazine called Ms. because she believed that “Girls need to know they can break the rules.” The book explains that Gloria’s work began what is known as the women’s liberation movement and feminism.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert (ages 9 – 12)
Excellent! The graphic novel biography shows both Annie and Helen’s strengths and weaknesses as well as really significant character arcs. If you don’t know the story, or even if you do, read this book. You’ll be entranced with how laborious it was to teach Helen and how Annie’s persistence paid off in the end.

Chasing Freedom children's book biographies for women's history month

Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes
I loved this nonfiction picture book about Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman — two women in history who changed the world!

graphic novel biography for Women's History Month

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation adapted by Ari Folman, illustrated by David Polonsky (ages 12+)
The diary bits and dialogue are well-balanced into a cohesive story that feels seamless, well-written, and insightful. Anne’s personality really shines through as she sets the historical context and describes her daily life in hiding which isn’t always very exciting but does result in a romance with the boy her age who lives there, too.

 


I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)
 by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick (YA ages 12 – 18)
This is a powerful, well-told personal story from the wise, self-reflective perspective of Malala Yousafzai. Malala draws readers in with her accounts of daily life in Pakistan — the sounds, smells, sights, habits. She shares the fearful place her country is under the Taliban’s influence. Then, she is shot for her blog writing which supports the education of girls. What is most striking is Malala’s hope, positivity, and belief in what she stands for.

 

Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner ages 8 -12
Introduce young readers to the fascinating life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with this clearly-written graphic novel that shows her life from childhood to adulthood including her family life. Based on her experiences and quest for fairness, Ginsburg became passionate about civil liberties, specifically gender discrimination. Not only was she a lawyer and judge but she also became a Supreme Court Justice. Readers will see how Ginsburg was true to herself and her goals and persisted despite difficulties and used her career to fight for equal rights. Well-crafted and highly recommended.


Girl Activist: Winning Strategies from Women Who’ve Made a Difference
 by Louisa Kamps, Susanna Daniel &  Michelle Wildgen, illustrated by Georgia Rucker (ages 8 – 12)
Short biographies about women who have taken a stand for injustices. These 40 inspirational women demonstrate how one individual can change things for the better because they care. Readers will learn how each woman used different strategies whether social media, art, protest, petitions, or something else. Read how someone can work passionately to make the world a better place.

Noise Makers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World by Kazoo Magazine (ages 8 – 12)
Graphic novel fans will love this accessible, interesting biographical collection that celebrates females who’ve made a difference in the world. There’s so much to love besides that the biographies are written in comics…Before each biography is the main idea page (time period and what they’re famous for) as well as a page asking you to look at the list of descriptive phrases and see what YOU have in common with the woman.

Writers

children's book biographies for women's history month
Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey
Most young readers have heard of Frankenstein — but they probably don’t know it was a book written by a woman named Mary. This picture book biography shares the life of Mary who wrote Frankenstein as part of a ghost story competition among her friends. Atmospheric, dark and gloomy illustrations.

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Blade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Talk about a growth mindset! Gwendolyn loved words and poetry and from a young age, wrote poetry of her own. She never had monetary success but with persistence and dedication, she eventually found success as an adult with publications and winning the Pulitzer Prize.

Picture Book Biographies About Writers
Big Machines The Story of Virginia Lee Burton (How Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel and Friends Came to Life)
by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Reading this story gives insight into an artist’s creative process, the process behind writing and illustrating a children’s story. You’ll probably want to reread her picture books after reading this biography.
 
best children's books about notable women writers
The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jocoby
A conversational and interactive narrator speaks directly to the reader, inspired by Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book. What are the important things about Brown? For one, she wrote books…more than 100! Whimsical watercolor illustrations plus an infectiously likable narrator make this a memorable biography for both its content (the important things about the talented Margaret Wise Brown) and playful writing.
 

A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice
by Jasmine A. Stirling, illustrated by Vesper Stamper
Lovely pink and green illustrations and an incredible narrative biography capture the life of the talented Jane Austen. Jane grew up in a supportive family that encouraged reading and writing. She wrote prolifically while she was young but stopped writing after significant life challenges including loss, death, worry, and loneliness. After years passed, Jane rewrote old stories and crafted new ones with lifelike characters, leading to her success and longevity.
 
El Deafo children's book biographies for women's history month
El Deafo
 
by Cece Bell (ages 8 – 12)
A multiple award-winning graphic novel, Cece Bell shares the story of growing up with a hearing impairment, using a very bulky hearing aid, and finding her place in the world. Funny and moving, this is a beautiful coming-of-age memoir of courage and determination.
Picture Book Biographies About Writers
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson
Jane Austen was an ordinary girl who loved books and began writing her own books. After rewriting and working hard at her craft, her books were published, although they didn’t say her name which was common at the time for women. I found this to be a delightful introduction to one of the most famous female authors in history.
Picture Book Biographies About Writers
Miss Mary Reporting The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber
by Sue Macy
The true story of Mary Garber is quite interesting. Mary pioneered a career in sports writing when it was typically only for men. Fantastic illustrations, too.
 

Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers & Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing
by Rochelle Melander, illustrated by Melina Ontiveros (ages 9 – 12)
Read 40 inspiring biographies of individuals who used writing to change the world! Each biography is illustrated and includes a quote from the person, a section to give background or context, and a section asking how you could apply the ideas in your own writing. Back matter includes advice for revising and writing. I LOVE this book!

Athletes

Wilma Unlimited children's book biographies for women's history month
Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Kull
After having polio as a child, Wilma was told she wouldn’t walk again, let alone run.  But Wilma was determined and she worked hard, becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics.
Picture Book Biographies About Athletes
The Girl Who Ran Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon
by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee
We learn how Bobbi is a girl who loved to run and wanted to run the Boston Marathon race. But her application for the race was denied. Guess what? She entered anyway, disguised as a boy. On accident, her long hair became uncovered and the racers and spectators cheered her on. She finished the race, paving the way for girls, and making history.

Nadia The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray
This lovely biographical picture book introduces a new generation to the hard-working Nadia Comaneci of Romania . . . how she loved to move, discovered gymnastics, failed, practiced and eventually won seven perfect 10s at the Olympics in 1956. The lively illustrations are absolutely spot-on for this sweet, true story about one of the most famous female gymnasts in history.

Sisters Venus and Serena Williams by Jeanette Winter
Winters beautifully captures the essence of the Williams sisters’ lives and friendship, giving children an inspiring narrative story that shows, not tells, paired with beautiful, captivating art. The girls share a bed in their Compton, CA house, getting up in the mornings to learn tennis from their dad, even cleaning up the trash on the courts every morning. Practicing, focusing, practicing,…training together, playing together. As adults, the athletes persevere through health challenges yet continue to play and win.

Martina & Chrissie The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner
The author’s conversational style makes this story come alive. Readers will be fascinated by the star tennis players who work hard to win their championship matches. All but for a few years, these two women stay close friends as well as competitors. This book is well-written, informative, and engaging — all the qualities you want in a picture book biography.

children's books about female athletes
Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon
by Kim Chaffee, illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Katherine loved to run, it felt like magic to her. But in her day and age, girls didn’t run. But she kept at it, running with the men’s teams at college. When she couldn’t keep up, she ran with their manager. Despite doubts from others, she trained for the Boston Marathon — 26.2 miles! She finished the race and told reporters, “I like to run. Women deserve to run, too.” Onomonopeia repetition of “pat, pat, pat, pat” gives this story a rhythmic balance of running footfalls.

Musicians, Actors, & Artists


And I Paint It by Henriette Wyeth’s World
by Beth Kephart, illustrated by Amy June Bates
This biography reads like a memoir which I love. You’ll read about moments painting with the artist’s father outside in nature and they are filled with rich, sensory images.His big hand is red-and-blue-and-purple freckled, his old coat smells like apple cores and packing moss and turpentine.” Lovely, earthy watercolors perfectly capture the naturalistic world of this little-known artist.

FAMOUS WOMEN'S PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHIES
Along Came Coco
by Eva Byrne
Coco grew up in an orphanage run by nuns where she learned to sew but didn’t much like all the rules. After she left, she started designing hats and clothes that broke the rules. She used menswear and practicality (who needs corsets anyway!) to create chic, revolutionary fashion. Coco became a well-known, successful designer known worldwide. Whimsical, gorgeous illustrations capture the creative spirit of an amazingly creative designer.

children's book biographies for women's history month
I Am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer
Meltzer captures the most fascinating elements of Ball’s life with his narrative and comic-style illustrations which hooked me from page one. It makes a great addition to an already stellar series. *See more of this biography series here.
Dorothea's Eyes- Dorothea Lange children's book biographies for women's history month
Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock
Polio left Dorothea with a limp and the desire to hide in the background. But this challenge actually helped her find her path in life — to be a photographer and show what she saw, the people affected by the Great Depression.


That’s Betty! The Story of Betty White
by Gregory Bonsignore, illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter
This is a darling homage to the trailblazing actress, Betty White! A boy wants to do a report about Betty and his research is helped along by Betty herself in disguise.

children's book biographies for women's history month
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs
Libba became a famous folk artist but didn’t start playing music until over the age of 60. She always loved music though. And when she was a maid or worked in a department store, she kept that music in her heart. Later, when she worked for the Seeger family, she surprised them with her self-taught musical talent. Listen to her most famous song, “Freight Train,” here

Sing with Me The Story of Selena Quintanilla
by Diana López, illustrated by Teresa Martinez
A concise, entertaining biography of Selena’s early years as she worked hard until she saw success as a singer –– winning awards and learning Spanish, and getting married. (You’ll appreciate that this biography does not talk about her death.)

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood
Ada lives in a South American slum next to a landfill of garbage. When Ada’s grandmother learns about free music lessons, she signs Ada up but there aren’t enough instruments to go around for all the kids. Fortunately, the adults are creative and invent instruments from everyday things — water pipes into flutes, packing crates into guitars, and so on. Ada chooses to play a paint can and wooden crate violin. She practices and gets good, becoming one of the star musicians of the Recycled Orchestra.

picture books about women artists
Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney Legends by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Brittney Lee Mary
Blair’s life as an artist took her to Disney where her paintings captured magic on paper. In fact, she created the concept art for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan as well as designed the “It’s a Small World” attraction at Disneyland. She used her endless imagination to creatively pair unique colors, an emerald world, a fuchsia sea, or a turquoise moon, and create happily ever afters. Her story sparkles just like the luminous mixed-media illustrations which include colorful cut-paper artwork.


Frida Kahlo Discover the Artist Behind the Masterpiece
by Lucy Brownridge, illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann
I’m impressed with this biography about Frida’s life– her ups and downs and love for art, Mexico, Diego, and individuality. What’s more, the book’s illustrations capture Frida’s art and life in a vivid, compelling way. This book is a great introduction to Friday Kahlo’s life and artwork!


Who Is Florence Price? Young Musicians Tell the Story of a Girl and Her Music
by Students of the Special Music School Kaufman Music Center
This is an inspiring story of Florence Price, a music composer who struggled to find recognition. She played and wrote music from childhood, sharing her love of music with her students as an adult. It was difficult for Florence to achieve success with her compositions though because she was Black and a woman but she eventually did when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her symphony. She became the first Black woman to be a symphonic composer!

We Are Artists: Women who Made Their Mark on the World by Kari Herbert
I’m loving this book so much — it shares with well-written biographies (about 3- 5 pages for each woman) about so many female artists from different countries, each with their own unique style and life experience. From Yayoi Kusama of Japan to Alma Thomas of the U.S. to Amrita Sher-Gil of India and Hungary, discover incredible, passionate artists with long-lasting influence.


Rule the Music Scene Like Queen Beyonce Knowles
by Caroline Moss, illustrated by Sinem Erkas (ages 9 – 12)
You’ll zip through this impressive biography with information, history, conversation, and short chapters all accompanied by cool graphic illustrations. You don’t have to be a Beyonce fan to enjoy this biography because it’s so well-written and appealing.

Environmentalists


Wangari Maathai Planted Trees (Little Naturalists)
 by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Seth Lucas
A board book biography about environmentalist and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. While she studied at school in America, men cut down trees in her homeland. When she returned home, she wondered where all the birds and streams had gone so she asked other women of Kenya to help her plant new trees — and they planted 50 million trees. Lovely earth-toned illustrations.

The Tree Lady children's book biographies for women's history month
Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever 
by H. Joseph Hopkins
Kate Sessions helped plant San Diego with a variety of trees that would grow in the city’s climate. She worked hard to make sure that by the World’s Fair, there were enough trees for shade that the attendees wouldn’t be too hot. Beautifully written and illustrated.

picture book biographies about women
Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeannette Winter
Based on the true story of Wangari Maathai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, read how Wangari helped her country of Kenya whose forests were destroyed while she lived abroad. She started planting trees, starting a movement that encouraged others to plant trees as well. Also read Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson.

Dancers

Amelia is a dedicated ballet dancer who discovers the beauty of folkloric dances from the different regions of Mexico. She learns each style then shares them with the world in performances by her dance company, El Ballet Folklórico. Gorgeous folkloric illustrations enhance the story’s details; I want to frame them all because they’re so exquisite! This is a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite dance companies and the dancer visionary who made the company happen.
 
Children's Book Biographies for Women's History Month
Swan The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
by Laurel Snyder
Anna sees her first ballet on a snowy winter’s day. She longs to join ballet school but must wait years until she finally is accepted. When she is, she works hard to become a celebrated, lovely swan ballerina. She travels the world to show people the beauty of music and dance. Her story is beautifully told with exquisite illustrations in muted colors.
 
children's book biographies for women's history month
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince (YA ages 12 – 18)
An orphan who was thought never to be adopted due to her skin condition, Michaela was adopted from an orphanage in West Africa. Even at the orphanage, she wanted to be a ballerina — and her determination and hard work paid off. Now she’s the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Children's Book Biographies for Women's History Month
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
by Misty Copeland (YA ages 12 – 18)
Misty Copeland doesn’t even start taking ballet until she’s a teenager — and it was at a community center, not a prestigious dance studio. Follow her struggles as she finds her passion and works hard to achieve her dreams.

More Biographies + Biography Collections for Women’s History Month

Children's Book Biographies for Women's History Month
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx
by Jonah Winter
JUDGE
Before Sonia Sotomayor was the first Latino to be nominated to the US Supreme Court, she grew up poor and struggled to overcome stereotypes. Which she did.


Code Breaker, Spy Hunter How Elizabeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars
by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by Brooke Smart
CODEBREAKER
An inspiring and interesting history of a brilliant cryptologist who helped her country in war and peace. She cracked codes for the Coast Guard to stop bootleggers and for the military to break NAzi spy rings. She created the CIA’s first cryptology unit, training others in the art of cryptology.


Cubs in the Tub
by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Julie Downing
ZOOKEEPER
Engaging illustrations throughout capture the sweetness of a woman who became the first zookeeper at the Brox Zoo. This caring woman named Helen Martini’s husband works at the zoo. When he brings home a lion cub, she becomes a foster mother. After her baby lion grows too big, she mothers tiger cubs. All of her mothering baby animals leads her to build her babies a nursery at the zoo and become the first woman zookeeper.


Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites
by Jamie Michalak & Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Yuko Jones
CHEF
A little girl named Niki loves food and dreams of being a chef despite her family’s disapproval. Formatted in sections titled “Bites” — bite 1 through 13 — read the origins of her passion for food. As Nikki grows. she invents recipes, visits her cousin’s Japanese inn restaurant from which she draws inspiration, opens a sushi restaurant, and finally, opens a unique fusion restaurant called n/naka where she serves uniquely created 13 courses. 


Stitch by Stitch Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom
by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
SEAMSTRESS
One of the most outstanding picture biographies of the year with stunning mixed-media illustrations of oil, paint, paper, ribbon, lace, and more! Lizzy, born into slavery, worked as a successful seamstress whose work supported her owners. A group of Lizzy’s patrons and friends in St. Louis helped Lizzy buy her own freedom for $1,200 and when she was free, Lizzy worked to pay them back, stitch by stitch. Now free, Lizzy’s clients included the wives of Senator Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln, fitting them in elegant gowns that were admired by all, even President Lincoln.


Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpre Rehsaped Libraries with Her Stories
by Annette Bay Pimentel
STORYTELLER
Pura is a joyful librarian who brings her Abuela’s Puerto Rican folktales to life during storytime with children at the New York library–even when she wasn’t supposed to tell stories that weren’t in a book. She eventually wrote a book long after she became the most popular bilingual storytime librarian. Enchanting folktale illustrations.

children's picture book biographies about women in history
Lighter than Air by Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot
by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Matt Tavares
AVIATION PIONEER
If your elementary-age kids like learning about amazing women from history, they’ll want to read about Sophie Blanchard, a woman who lived in France during the time of Napoleon. After she married a famous balloonist, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, and realized her dreams of flying. Even after her husband died, Sophie made a living as a professional balloonist.

Children's Book Biographies for Women's History Monthh
How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
DETECTIVE
You’ll love this picture book story about the first female to work for the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her name was Kate Warne. When she discovered a plot to assassinate President Lincoln on the train ride to his inauguration, this smart-thinking detective figures out how to trick the would-be murders and get the President safely to his destination. Well done, Ms. Warne!

Children's Book Biographies for Women's History Month
Eleanor Roosevelt: Fighter for Justice
by Ilene Cooper
FIRST LADY (ages 9 – 12)
What struck me about this compelling biography was Eleanor’s real-life story arc, particularly in regards to her attitudes about race. Because according to this book Roosevelt, someone who saw poverty and cared deeply about her community, was a racist. But she didn’t stay that way! I loved reading how she took criticism and learned from it, eventually becoming an advocate for civil rights. Her life was very interesting and one from which we can learn.

Messenger Joan of Arc
Messenger The Legend of Joan of Arc
A Graphic Novel by Tony Lee and Sam Hart
ACTIVIST (ages 9 – 12)
While the authors don’t claim that this is anything but fiction, I would say it’s closer to nonfiction since it’s only based on historical facts. It’s amazing to see Joan never waver in her convictions and stand strong in the face of doubt and eventually death. This is an excellent depiction of her life.

Biography Collections of Women in History and Now

Noise Makers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World by Kazoo Magazine (ages 9 – 12)
Graphic novel fans will love this accessible, interesting biographical collection that celebrates females who’ve made a difference in the world. There’s so much to love besides that the biographies are written in comics…Before each biography is a main idea page (time period and what they’re famous for) as well as a page asking you to look at the list of descriptive phrases and see what YOU have in common with the woman. 

A Black Woman Did That: 42 Boundary-Breaking, Bar-Raising, World-Changing Women by Malaika Adero, illustrated by Chante Timothy (ages 9 – 12)
In this book, you’ll meet women and girls who will inspire you. Read about fascinating and admirable women who are scientists, models, athletes, politicians, dancers, and more. Fascinating writing and fascinating people with impactful, vivid illustrations.


Latinas
by Juliet Menendez
Dynamic and interesting one-page biographies of 40 Latina women who made an impact in the world. From chefs like Justa Canaviri to architects like Susan Torre and singers like Celia Cruz, you’ll learn about some amazing women and get inspired. Graphic illustrations of each woman in earthy tones are featured across from each woman’s biographies.

children's book biographies for women's history month
Heroes for My Daughter
by Brad Meltzer (ages 8 – 12)
The collection perfect for Women’s History Month features 60 individuals with a few familiar faces (Anne Frank, Benjamin Franklin, Sally Ride) and many new, unique people that deserve to be recognized and highlighted. The writing is easy to read, includes dialogue, quotes, and short stories. The author’s intention is to show young children that if you take a chance and work hard “you can do anything in this world.”
children's book biographies for women's history month
Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
Harrison’s artwork is stunning– framable actually. This book features the biographies of 35 women; women like Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and Grace Hopper. Each biography is one page paired with an illustration. The information shares more about the woman’s contributions to the world like the physicist who experimented with subatomic particle decay.
biographies for women's history month
Pencils, Pens and Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation by Mindy Johnson, illustrated by Lorelay Bovi
Learn about some of the incredible women who worked at Disney’s animation from writers to artists to animators to researchers. Each biography skillfully captures the woman’s story– where she started, her passions, her education, and how she came to work for Disney as well as what she worked on while at Disney. For Women’s History Month, read the biographies of these artistic women as well as all the jobs someone could have in animation.

Hooray for Women! by Marcia Williams (ages 9 – 12)
Because this is written like a graphic novel with comic panels, it already is an engaging format for kids. The biographies about women are well-written, creating an inviting introduction to the lives of some amazing women in history like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Florence Nightengale, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, and Anne Frank.
children's book biographies for women's history month

Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison (ages 8 – 12)
Beautifully designed and illustrated, Little Ladies shares 40 one-page biographies of inspiring African-American women. You’ll read about women like Marcelite Harris, Mamie Phipps Clark, and Phillis Wheatley. It’s a superb, inspiring must-read book.

children's book biographies for women's history month
First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (ages 8 – 12)
Once I got to reading this informational picture book, I couldn’t stop because it was so interesting! It covers the first ladies’ jobs, the difference the first ladies make, travel, projects, and tons of specific details pertaining to many of the U.S. first ladies.
picture book biographies for kids for Women's History Month
The Book of Heroines
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer (ages 8 – 12)
Packed with interesting information, colorful layouts and photographs, you’ll discover new (Pat Summitt, Rachel Carson) and familiar (Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa) women to admire and learn more about who they are and their boldest moments. Well done and easy to digest, I think you’ll really like this biography collection book for Women’s History Month.
 
biographies about famous women
Rad Women Worldwide
by Kate Schatz (ages 8 – 12)
Once I started reading these biographies (which I read in random order,) I got very hooked. Hopefully, this book will inspire kids as much as it did me. It’s a perfect book for Women’s History Month in March.

biographies about amazing women in history
Girls Who Rocked the World: Heroines from Joan of Arc to Mother Teresa by Michelle Rohm McCann and Amelie Welden (ages 8 – 12)
Students will find growth mindset inspiration with any story in this collection about women who made the most of their lives.

Girls Think of Everything best children's books for women's history month
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
by Catherine Thimmesh (ages 8 – 12)
Sometimes happy accidents, sometimes deliberate plans, all these inventions have affected our lives. Learn the story behind each woman’s invention — diapers, windshield wipers, the chocolate chip cookie, and interlocking bricks, just to name a few. Great for Women’s History Month!


Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World
by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Mesmerizing writing about problem-solving businesswomen! Melissa Sweet’s cool illustrations elevate these women’s stories and add visual appeal.

good books for Women's History Month in March

If readers aren’t budding entrepreneurs before reading this, they will be after. Jeroo Billimoria founded an emergency phone line for street kids in India. Jane Chen developed a low-cost incubator for premature babies in developing countries. Nadia Hamilton created an app with step-by-step instructions for daily tasks for autistic folks.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
by Pénélope Bagieu (ages 13+)
What makes this stand out among the crowd is that it’s written in comic stories rather than the expected one page of expository text plus one illustration. Kids love stories. Kids love graphic novels. Put those together and you’ve got one must-read book! Oh, and I’m fascinated by the colors used to illustrate these comics — they’re unusual and very visually appealing.


A Woman in the House (and Senate)
by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Informative and engaging biographies about famous women of our congress starting with the first woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1917 named Jeannette Rankin continuing to the present day. Well-written with a lovely layout.
 
 
Women's History Month Biographies

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for recommending Queen of Physics! 🤗 C.S. Wu deserves so much recognition for all her incredible contributions.

  2. This women’s history post of biographies is incredible. I like that you provide a plethora of biographies to choose from. This is something that I can use in my classroom this month. I also like that you provided printables, which makes teaching this as a mini lesson possible. This is also a great resource to share with my parents as well.

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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