Ten Books to Read During Women’s History Month
By Cindy Hudson
March is Women’s History Month, and while your kids may encounter activities about famous women from history at school or your local library, this month is also a good time to open a conversation at home. You can easily do that by reading a book with your child about a famous woman who made an impact. Books can help you talk about ways that women pushed the boundaries in the work they sought to do and the rights they pushed for – such as the freedom to vote and to own property.
Here are a few ideas for great books to read with your child this month. Check with your local librarian for even more suggestions.
My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream, story by Jennifer Fosberry, pictures by Mike Litwin. Ages 5 to 8.
Focuses on some of the strongest females in history, like Sally Ride and Rosa Parks, as seen through the eyes of a little girl who looks up to them. Brief biographies in the back of the book offer more information and can lead to further exploration.
Rebel in a Dress: Cowgirls and Rebel in a Dress: Adventurers, story by Sylvia Branzei, illustrations by Melissa Sweet. Ages 8 to 12.
Showcases women who pushed the boundaries of their times to achieve what they wanted. Includes quotes from the women featured and those who knew them, as well as notes about other events going on in the world during the times in which they lived. Girls now are mostly told they can do and be anything they want, and these books show just how far society has come for that to happen.
Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World, written by Katherine Halligan, illustrated by Sarah Walsh. Ages 8 to 12.
This large-format book details the achievements of women who made significant changes to how the world works. Working in a variety of fields, they brought innovations that were often difficult for women to accomplish during the times they lived in.
In Disguise! Undercover with Real Women Spies by Ryan Ann Hunter. Ages 9 to 12.
Highlights the stories of women who acted as spies during the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and other conflicts. Readers will also learn about some of the techniques used in spying over the years and learn how to try a few of them out.
Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari. Ages 10 and up.
An oversized format book that features compelling portraits of notable women artists, musicians, politicians, activists, and more. Short bio information and quotes capture the spirit of each trailblazer. Author Tinari was inspired to create the portraits to show her son that women can be role models.
The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore. Ages 13 and up.
Pairs favorite heroines in literary history with their female authors and analyzes both the similarities and differences in their lives. In the past, women faced multiple barriers in bringing their stories to print, and many of them, even those we think of as successful, struggled with poverty their entire lives.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu. Ages 13 and up.
A graphic novel that profiles the lives of feisty women throughout history. Some are well-known, like the reporter Nellie Bly and performer Josephine Baker. Others are lesser known but made advances in medicine, sports, volcanology, and more.
Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl. Ages 9 to 12.
Introduces young readers to Beryl Markham, an Englishwoman who grew up in the wilds of Africa and became an aviatrix and the first woman to fly solo from Europe to North America.
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink. Ages 9 to 12.
Depiction of American pioneer life and the role women were expected to play in it. The main character has no interest in being a “lady,” preferring to run in the woods with her brothers. Based on the real-life stories of the author’s grandmother.
Cindy Hudson writes about reading, books, and family literacy. Find out more at MotherDaughterBookClub.com.