Teaching History: 8 Children’s Books About Notable Women

Recent years have seen an uptick in books covering the heroes in history. Read on for eight non-fiction book recs to teach your children about famous women in history!

Author's Corner Female Voices Recommendations Young Readers
Five children sit in chairs against a blue wall and hold multi-colored books up that covers their faces. Three book covers are placed against the center of the image.

Misogyny and societal expectations frequently resulted in women’s contributions to history being overlooked or discredited and attributed to a man. Contemporary changes in society have led many scholars to pull these women from the forgotten past and retell their stories to the world.

And now authors are bringing the bits and pieces of their lives together to introduce their stories to young readers. So, from unsung heroes to famous writers, these eight books are sure to inspire your children to follow their dreams!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley

A woman's head is in the center of the image from the bottom. She is surrounded by drawings of various images, like cows, horses, and a rocketship.

Dr. Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as a child and never expected to talk, has gone on to become one of the most prominent proponents for the humane treatment of livestock and the author of more than 60 papers on animal behavior.

This first book in the Amazing Scientists series includes an illustrated rhyming tale of Dr. Grandin’s life, fun facts, a timeline of events, and a note from Temple herself!

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks as a kid and couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying them. But she quickly discovered that many people thought sharks were ugly and dangerous–and that women shouldn’t be scientists.

A woman in a diving suit with an oxygen tank touches a nose of a shark against an underwater background.

Determined to prove them wrong, she earned numerous college degrees and made countless discoveries in her research into sharks, earning herself the nickname “Shark Lady”.

This book includes a timeline of Eugenie’s life and fin-tastic shark facts! Perfect for parents looking for books about sharks, role models for girls and boys, and kids STEM books!

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown and John Parra

An illustration of Frida Kahlo standing in front of a white canvas with a paintbrush with a variety of animals surrounding her.

One of the world; ‘s most influential painters, Monica Brown and John Parra explore the life of Frida Kahlo and the animals that inspired her works.

The story recounts Frida’s beloved pets–including monkeys, parrots, dogs, eagles, black cats, and a deer–and considers how Frida embodied their characteristics in her artwork.

Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome

An illustration of Harriet Tubman looks to the right side of the image as a moon backdrops her head against a night blue sky.

A lush and lyrical poem accompanied by stunning watercolors comes together to depict the life of Harriet Tubman, a woman whose humble origins made her a larger-than-life hero.

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise

A little girl stands on her right leg as she paints the background of the image with black, orange, and pink colors. Swirls are painted on the left side of the image.

Filled with extensive back matter with photos, notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline, and a list of resources, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum and for the White House collection.

Maya’s Song by Renee Watson and Bryan Collier

An illustration of Maya Angelou wearing a blue and green cap faces towards the right side of the cover.

Author Renée Watson uses Maya Angelou’s beloved medium of poetry to create a lyrical biography of the first Black person and the first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, whose words have uplifted and continue to inspire generations of readers.

Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey and Hadley Hooper

A woman wearing a hat looks up at the brim to see several girls doing various activities.

Shana Corey and Hadley Hooper take readers into the life of Juliette Gordon Low–founder of the Girl Scouts. Born into a family of pathfinders and pioneers, Juliette wanted to make a difference in the world–and Victorian-era expectations weren’t going to stop her. Combining her ancestors’ passion for service with her adventurous spirit and belief that girls could do anything, she founded the Girl Scouts. And a century later, they continue to perform good deeds and make a difference!

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet

A woman in a green coat and a black hat with a pink bow holds a white sign that reads "Strike" in red paint against a background of city buildings with other women holding similar signs.

Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet transport readers back to early 1900s America to introduce activism, the garment industry, and Clara Lemlich, an immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.

While it’s important to highlight women of the past, it’s all the more important to celebrate women of the present and future. This collection of eight books is sure to encourage active conversations about the misunderstood and unsung heroes of women’s history.

Click here for a listicle of children’s books by Black authors and illustrators!

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