Most Inspirational Women’s History Month Books for Kids

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Find amazing children’s book women’s history month biographies with this list of picture book biographies as well as middle-grade nonfiction 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.

American presidents have proclaimed March the official month for Women’s History in the United States starting in 1987 with only a full week of celebration. The monthly commemoration seeks to recognize the women who have contributed to culture, society, and history.

Around the world, International Women’s Day is an important reminder to keep advocating for the rights of women who are denied health care, education, and other basic human rights.

Over the last 15 years of writing book reviews, I’ve read hundreds of biographies. This list showcases my favorite biography choices for kids about females.

These books will introduce your kids to amazing women from history and modern times who are (or were) scientists, activists, athletes, dancers, writers, and more. Some became famous, but many did not. But they all contributed to the betterment of the world in some way.

Unless I indicate otherwise, the biographies listed are picture books for ages 4 to 8.

Women’s History Month Books for Kids

Women in STEM

The Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom is written by Teresa Robeson and 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.

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Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson NASA Mathematician is written 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.

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The Watcher is written and illustrated 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.

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Dancing through Space: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights is written by Lydia Lukidis and illustrated by Sawyer Cloud.
This inspiring biography is about a curious girl named Mae who loved science and dance from a young age. Even as an adult, she devoted herself to both interests, studying medicine and practicing dance. Eventually, she applied and was accepted to NASA’s astronaut training program! Then, Mae went to space in the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. She was the first Black woman in space!

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Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark is written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jordi Solano.
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.

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Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dluska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood is written by Linda Elovitz Marshall, Anna and Elena Balbusso.
Engaging writing shows Marie and her sister dreaming of studying science and taking turns studying at university. They both become serious scientists. Appealing illustrations.

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The Stuff Between the Stars How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe is written by Sandra Nickel and 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.

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Railroad Engineer Olive Dennis is written by Kaye Baillie and illustrated by Tanja Stephani.
Olive loved to build and design. She wanted to be an engineer so she studied hard and became an engineer for a railroad--the first female! Olive innovated significant changes and improvements for the trains, too. Simple, engaging, and inspiring.

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Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine: Josephine Cochrane’s Bright Invention Makes a Splash is written by Kate Hannigan and illustrated by Sarah Green.
The repetition of “There must be a better way” pushes the plot along as Josephine Cochrane seeks a solution to save her from washing dishes. When she eventually invents a machine that works like she wants, she then takes her invention to the World’s Fair. She patens her invention (and all her later inventions) and opens a factory! What an exciting and inspirational story of a determined inventor.

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Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist: The True Story of a World-Traveling Bug Hunter is written by Christine Evans and 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.

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The House That Cleaned Itself: The True Story of Frances Gabe’s (Mostly) Marvelous Invention is written by Laura Deashewitz and Susan Romberg and 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!

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Breaking Through the Clouds is written by Sandra Nickel and 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.

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The Astronaut With a Song For the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa is written by Julia Finley Mosca and 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 became the first Latina in space, where she even played the flute when she wasn’t studying the sun and its effects on our earth’s atmosphere.

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Ada’s Ideas The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer is written and illustrated 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.

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Mae Among the Stars is written 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.

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Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine is written by Frances Poletti and illustrated by 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.

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Wood, Wire, Wings Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane is written by Kirsten W. Larson and 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.

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Out of School and Into Nature the Anna Comstock Story is written and illustrated 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.

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The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is written and illustrate 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.

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Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell is written 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 biography read aloud choice for Women’s History Month!

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Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor is written and illustrated 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.

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The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai is written by Jen Johnson and illustrated by Wellington Sadler for 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.

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The Girl Who Drew Butterflies How Maria Marian’s Art Changed Science is written by Joyce Sidman for 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.

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Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science is written by Jeannine Atkins for 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.

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Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) written by Margot Lee Shetterly is a YA book for 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.

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Untamed The Wild Life of Jane Goodall is written 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.

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Unforgotten The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas is written by Anita Silvey for ages 9 – 12.
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.

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Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo is a YA autobiography for 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.

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Everyday Superheroes Women in STEM is written 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.

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Female Activists

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything is written by Annette Bay Pimentel and 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!

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Annette Feels Free is written by Katie Mazeika.
Annette changed the world for herself and all women! She became a swimmer after her struggles to walk after an illness. But Annette hated the bulky, heavy bathing costumes she was forced to wear for races and exhibitions, so she made her own suit. Even though it was scandalous and she faced troubles because of it, her new design gave women more options to wear what they liked. And nowadays, they do.

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The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins and Her New Deal for America is written by Kathleen Krull and 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.

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Malala’s Magic Pencil is written 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.

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Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins is written 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.

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Lillian’s Right To Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is written 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.

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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 is written 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.

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Child of the Flower-Song People Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua is written by Gloria Amescua and 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.

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Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women is written by Christine McDonnell and 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.

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A Life of Service: The Story of Tammy Duckworth is written by Christina Soontornvat and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
Hugely inspiring, this is the true story of a woman who worked hard to achieve her goals, including learning to live after her amputations and running in an election. Tammy Duckworth grew up in a poor household, joined the army, and was severely injured. After her amputations, she learned how to walk again and continued her dream to serve others, this time in community leadership. She eventually became the first Thai American woman and the first woman with a disability to serve in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

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The Girl Who Thought In Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is written 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.

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The Story of World War II Hero Irena Sendler is written by Marcia Vaughan for ages 7 to 10.
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.

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Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin: Civil Rights Heroes is written by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Shauna J. Grant for ages 9 – 12.
A compelling historical look at the important contributions of Black women like Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and Jo Ann Robinson to the Civil Rights Movement. Because before Mrs. Parks, there was a girl named Claudette Colvin who also refused to move to the back of the bus and was arrested. When Rosa Parks also got arrested for not moving to the back of the bus, another woman named Jo Ann Robinson thought of the bus boycott idea.

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Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World is written by Jessica M. Rinker and 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.

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Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller is created by Joseph Lambert for ages 9 to 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.

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

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Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation is adapted by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky for 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.

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I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) is written by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick for 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, and 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.

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Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice is written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Whitney Gardner for 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.

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Girl Activist: Winning Strategies from Women Who’ve Made a Difference is written by Louisa Kamps, Susanna Daniel & Michelle Wildgen for 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.

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Noise Makers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World is written by Kazoo Magazine for 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. (A great book choice for Women’s History Month!)

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Women Writers

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein is written 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.

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Big Machines The Story of Virginia Lee Burton (How Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel and Friends Came to Life) is written 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.

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Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks is written by Suzanne Blade and 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.

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A Story Is to Share: How Ruth Krauss Found Another Way to Tell a Tale is written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.
Carter Higgins’ brilliant writing both references Ruth Krauss’s (no parade when she was born) and pays homage to it with distinct syntax. Higgins’ memoir captures the quirky, passionate Ruth Krauss, who wore her clothes backward and preferred dancing to athletics. Krauss scribbles and scratches and scrambles — to find the stories that she wants to tell in her own way. Whimsical and playful, this biography will inspire you to reread your favorite Ruth Krauss picture books.

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The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown is written by Mac Barnett and 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.

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A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice is written by Jasmine A. Stirling and 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.

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El Deafo is created by Cece Bell for ages 8 – 12.
A multiple award-winning graphic novelCece Bell shares her personal 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.

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Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Qin Leng.
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.

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Miss Mary Reporting The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber is written 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.

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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.

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Women Athletes

Wilma Unlimited is written 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.

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The Girl Who Ran Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon is written by Frances Poletti and illustrated by 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.

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Nadia The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still is written 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.

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Sisters Venus and Serena Williams is written and illustrated 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 learn tennis from their dad, practicing, focusing, practicing,…training together, playing together. As adults, the athletes persevere through health challenges yet continue to play and win.

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Martina & Chrissie The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports is written 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.

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Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon is written by Kim Chaffee and 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.

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Musicians, Actors, Artists

Dazzlin’ Dolly is written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.
Exceptionally skilled writing with strong narrative voice! Dolly Parton grows up a singer with determination to achieve her dreams. She overcomes stage fright, performed on the weekends despite her Daddy’s disapproval, and moved to Nashville after high school. Essential information about the queen of country!

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And I Paint It by Henriette Wyeth’s World is written by Beth Kephart and 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.

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Along Came Coco is created 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.

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I Am Lucille Ball written. andillustrated 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.

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Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth is written 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.

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Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten is written 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.

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Sing with Me The Story of Selena Quintanilla is written by Diana López and 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.)

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Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney Legends is written by Amy Novesky and 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.

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Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay is written 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.

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Frida Kahlo Discover the Artist Behind the Masterpiece is written by Lucy Brownridge and 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!

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Who Is Florence Price? Young Musicians Tell the Story of a Girl and Her Music is written 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 but it was difficult for Florence to achieve success with her compositions though because she was Black and a woman. Eventually, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her symphony. She became the first Black woman to be a symphonic composer!

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We Are Artists: Women Who Made Their Mark on the World is written by Kari Herbert.
I’m loving this famous artist 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.

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Rule the Music Scene Like Queen Beyonce Knowles is written by Caroline Moss and illustrated by Sinem Erkas for 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.

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Environmentalists

Wangari Maathai Planted Trees (Little Naturalists) is written by Kate Coombs and 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.

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Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever is written 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.

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Dancers

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México is written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.
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.

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Swan The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is written 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 is finally 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.

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Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina is written by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince for 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.

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Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina is an autobiography written by Misty Copeland for 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.

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More Children’s Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx is written by Jonah Winter.
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. A great choice for Women’s History Month!

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Code Breaker, Spy Hunter How Elizabeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars is written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Brooke Smart.
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.

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Cubs in the Tub is written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Julie Downing.
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.

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Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites is written by Jamie Michalak & Debbi Michiko Florence and illustrated by Yuko Jones.
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. 

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Stitch by Stitch Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom is written by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.

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. Once free, Lizzy’s clients included the wives of Senator Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln.

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Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpre Rehsaped Libraries with Her Stories is written by Annette Bay Pimentel.

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.

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Lighter than Air by Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot is written by Matthew Clark Smith and illustrated by Matt Tavares.

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.

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How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln is written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk.

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 discoveres 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!

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Eleanor Roosevelt: Fighter for Justice is written by Ilene Cooper for ages 9 – 12.
Eleanor 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. A great choice for Women’s History Month!

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Messenger The Legend of Joan of Arc A Graphic Novel is written by Tony Lee and Sam Hart for 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.

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Biography Collections

Noise Makers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World is written by Kazoo Magazine for 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.

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Latinas is written by Juliet Menendez for ages 9 – 12.
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.

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A Black Woman Did That: 42 Boundary-Breaking, Bar-Raising, World-Changing Women is written by Malaika Adero and illustrated by Chante Timothy for 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.

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Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World is written and illustrated 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.

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Heroes for My Daughter is written by Brad Meltzer for ages 8 – 12.
The collection is perfect for Women’s History Month because it features 60 individuals like Anne Frank, Benjamin Franklin, Sally Ride, and many new, unique people who deserve to be recognized and highlighted. The writing is easy to read, including 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.”

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Pencils, Pens and Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation is written by Mindy Johnson and 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.

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Hooray for Women! is written by Marcia Williams for ages 9 – 12.
Because this is written like a graphic novel with comic panels, it already is an engaging format for kids. The famous female 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.

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Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History is written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison for 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 Women’s History Month book.

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First Ladies is written by Ruby Shamir and illustrated by Matt Faulkner for ages 8 – 12.
Once I got to reading this informational first ladies 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.

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The Book of Heroines is written by Stephanie Warren Drimmer for 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.

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Rad Women Worldwide is written by Kate Schatz for ages 8 – 12.
Once I started reading these women’s history biographies (which I read in random order), I got 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.

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

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Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women is written by Catherine Thimmesh for 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, chocolate chip cookies, and interlocking bricks, just to name a few. Great for Women’s History Month!

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

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Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World is written by Pénélope Bagieu for 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.

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women's history month biographies

KEEP READING

5 Kinds of Nonfiction

Children’s Book Biographies for Black History Month

Books for Young Activists

Engineering and Invention Picture Books

Growth Mindset Biographies

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7 Comments

  1. Great list! Very useful! Really appreciate the work it took to put this together.

  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.