Tag Archives: Women’s history

Picture Book Biographies to Introduce Women’s History

Day by Day with Elena Delle Donne by Tammy Gagne

Kate Warne: Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford

Libba : The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs

Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins

Misty Copeland by Laurie Calkhoven

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville

When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon by Natasha Wing

Who Says Women Can’t be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace by Tanya Lee Stone

Explore Women’s History

Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights: From the Vote to the Equal Rights Amendment by Deborah Kops

Cleopatra: Queen of Egypt by Xina M. Uhl

First Ladies written by Amy Pastan association with the Smithsonian 

Forward: My Story by Abby Wambach \

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race by by Rebecca Rissman

Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports by Gregory Zuckerman with Elijah and Gabriel Zuckerman

Roses and Radicals: The Epic Story of How American Women Won the Right to Vote by Susan Zimet & Todd Hasak-Lowy

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor

Who is Sonia Sotomayor? by Megan Stine
This title is also available as an ebook from OverDrive.

Women in Science by Jen Green

The Women’s Rights Movement: Then and Now by Rebecca Langston-George




Can you figure out what these books have in common?

Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior by Robert D. San Souci; illustrated by Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng
A retelling of the original Chinese poem in which a brave young girl masquerades as a boy and fights the Tartars in the Khan’s army.

I’ll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey
Explores the secret world of women Civil War soldiers, discussing who they were, why they went to war, how they managed their masquerade, their wartime experiences, and what happened to them afterwards.

Joan of Arc: The Lily Maid by Margaret Hodges
A biography of the fifteenth-century peasant girl who led a French army to victory against the English.

My Last Skirt: The Story of Jennie Hodgers, Union Soldier by Lynda Durrant
Enjoying the freedom afforded her while dressing as a boy in order to earn higher pay after emigrating from Ireland, Jennie Hodgers serves in the 95th Illinois Infantry as Private Albert Cashier, a Union soldier in the American Civil War.

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix
A story of a nineteen-year-old woman who disguised herself as a man to avoid an unwanted marriage and who distinguished herself as a male nurse during the Civil War, and later as a spy for the Union Army.

Quick pick: Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors?

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
An introduction to the life and achievements of the first American female doctor describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women.

More interesting women: Beyond picture books

Amazing Women by Caryn Jenner
Shares the experiences of important women in history, including Aung San Suu Kyi, Arianna Huffington, and Madam C.J. Walker.

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mark Cronk Farrell
Traces the life of Fannie Sellins, a union activist who traveled the nation promoting fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in the garment and mining industries.

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
A novel in verse about three girls from different time periods who grew up to become scientists introduces the lives of insect life-cycle artist Maria Merian, fossil pioneer Mary Anning, and comet discoverer Maria Mitchell.

A Kids’ Guide to America’s First Ladies by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Anna Divito
Examines Americas first ladies and how they helped advance women’s rights, political causes and other important progressive changes.

Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy
Presents the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women.

New picture books about interesting women

Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Traces the story of dancer-turned-magician’s assistant Adelaide Herrmann, placing her achievements against a backdrop of period conventions about women in the arts and her determination to continue her work after the death of her husband.

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Follows suffragettes Nell Richardson and Alice Burke’s cross-country journey to campaign for women’s right to vote.

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully
Caroline Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet and the first woman to be paid as a scientist.

Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaële Frier; illustrated by Aurélia Fronty.
Describes how a young Pakistani activist was violently targeted by the Taliban for her efforts to secure educational rights for girls.

Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy; illustrated by C.F. Payne
Details the life and accomplishments of Mary Garber, the first woman to win the Associated Press Sports Editors’ Red Smith Award and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Sportcasters and Sportswriters Association.

Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote by Dean Robbins; illustrated by Nancy Zhang
A picture book introduction to the achievements and legacy of indefatigable suffragette Alice Paul describes how she launched campaigns, organized protests and met with President Woodrow Wilson to secure voting rights for women.

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang; illustrated by Jordi Solano
This picture book biography follows the life of Eugenie Clark, the Japanese-American scientist, researcher, and diver, who became famous as “The Shark Lady” for her groundbreaking discoveries about shark behavior.

Ada Lovelace Day

One time in Girl Scouts, I was working on a badge.  One of the activity options was to learn about a woman who played a role the history of computer science.  The computer books in the children’s section of my library were pretty old, and I didn’t find anything.  Some time after that I was reading one of my dad’s magazines and found an article about Ada Lovelace.  I thought to myself That’s who they must have been talking about! (although I later learned that there were other women, too).

Recently, a couple of children’s books about Ada Lovelace have been published:

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark
The daughter of famous romantic poet Lord Byron develops her creativity through science and math and writes the world’s first computer program to demonstrate the capabilities of inventor Charles Babbage’s pioneering mechanical innovation.

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley
A fascinating look at Ada Lovelace, the pioneering computer programmer and the daughter of the poet Lord Byron.  School Library Journal called it “Great for read-alouds and lesson plans on coding.”

There’s even some fiction about young Ada!  The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series is closer to steampunk than historical fiction (but I enjoy that, because the first book I read with Ada Lovelace as a character was a steampunk novel for adults, The Difference Engine).

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
Imagines an alternate 1826 London, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects.

The Case of the Girl in Grey by Jordan Stratford
Spotting a ghostly girl in the park who resembles the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency’s new client, Lady Ada and Mary discover links between the girl and a case involving a hospital, a missing will, a hasty engagement, and a devious servant.

Ada Lovelace Day is for celebrating not just Ada Lovelace, but other women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  These new books have information about a variety of other women:

Women in Information Technology by Shaina Indovino
Read about several women in computer science history (including Ada Lovelace), and opportunities for careers in the field.

Trailblazers : 33 Women in Science who Changed the World by Rachel Swaby
A collection of profiles of some of history’s most fascinating female scientists (including Ada Lovelace).

 Women who Launched the Computer Age by Laurie Calkhoven
True story of six women who programmed the ENIAC computer as part of a secret WWII mission. They learned to program the computer without any software, instructions or tools (none existed).
More new books are coming soon!  You may have already seen trailers for the movie Hidden Figures, based on a book for adults.  The Young Readers’ Edition is coming out in November, and you can place a hold on it now:
If you want to inspire (or reinforce the existing interests of) a younger child, you might try the new picture book Ada Twist, Scientist (I think she may owe her name to Ada Lovelace)!
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world.