All libraries will be closed Friday, March 8th for International Women's Day.

Women’s History for Kids: Picturebook Biographies

Posted about 3 years ago by Lisa Crisman

It’s Women’s History Month! To discover someone new to you or read a current title about someone familiar, browse the recently published books listed below. Picturebook biographies are an excellent way to introduce kindergarten to middle grade readers to the genre. From artists to inventors, writers to sports stars, women equally share our history. Call your local library or go online, place a hold, and meet someone new!

  • Ruth Graves Wakefield: One Smart Cookie by Sarah Howten; pictures by Nick Craine. The origins of “Toll House Cookies” Beginning Reading, Level 1.
  • Susan B. Anthony: Her Fight for Equal Rights by Monica Kulling; illustrated by Maike Plenzke. Step Into Reading, Level 2.
  • Who Is Greta Thunberg? by Jill Leonard. From the popular “WhoHQ” series comes a short biography about Time’s Person of the Year, a young activist fighting climate change.
  • Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney with pictures by Gillian Flint. This beginner biography is the first in a new series subtitled “She Persisted.” Look for additional titles to come.
  • Wangari Maathai: Get to Know the Woman Who Planted Trees to Bring Change by Lisa A Crayton. Deforestation is a big word, and a bigger problem for our planet. Meet this Nobel Peace Prize winner who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.
  • Exquisite: the Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American author to receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1950, the first Black woman to hold the position of poetry consultant at the Library of Congress, and the Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois.
  • The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Sara Jacoby. Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny are just two of the well-loved children’s books by this prolific writer.
  • On Wings of Words: the Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson by Jennifer Berne; illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. A truly beautiful introduction to this timeless poet.
  • Jump at the Sun: the True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams; illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara. This biography captures the exuberance of Hurston, in words and pictures.
  • The Power of Her Pen: the Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by John Parra. Known as the “First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne was also a gatherer of stories from a very young age. Follow her journey from childhood to a club social director for the US military in Japan in 1945, to reporter for the Chicago Defender in her hometown of Chicago, and on to member of the White House press corps.
  • Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight by Karyn Parsons; Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Check out this new biography from Sweet Blackberry, the award-winning children’s film series.
  • She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer by Kathryn Lasky; Illustrated by Julianna Swaney. At a time when women were discouraged from looking through a telescope, Williamina was fascinated by the stars.
  • A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison. A brilliant mathematician, Katherine Johnson went from school teacher to a key position on the design of the Apollo space orbit.
  • Maryam’s Magic: the Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani by Megan Reid; illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. Maryam loved numbers as a child and eventually became a professor of mathematics. She was the first woman and first Iranian to receive the Fields Medal, mathematics highest award.
  • Instructions Not Included: How a Team of Women Coded the Future by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn; illustrated by Chelsea Beck. An engaging look at how three women “used mathematics, electrical engineering, logic and common sense” to command ENIAC, one of the earliest computers.
  • Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael López. A lovely tribute to this piano prodigy who immigrated to the United States from Venezuela at a young age.
  • A Girl Named Rosita: the Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer Trailblazer by Anika Aldamuy Denise; illustrated by Leo Espinosa. Loved for her role as Anita in West Side Story, Moreno is a beloved Latinx performer with roots in Puerto Rico. Check out this beautifully illustrated picture-bio.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford; art by Frank Morrison. Aretha was one of the most beloved singers in America history. Weatherford’s sparse text and Morrison’s brilliant images create a fitting tribute to this legend.
  • Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark; illustrated by Katy Wu. Discover the life of this famous actress and surprising inventor.
  • Girl on a Motorcycle by Amy Novesky; illustrated by Julie Morstad. Although cataloged as a picture book, this story is based on the real-life adventures of Anne-France Dautheville.
  • Ruby Bridges: This is Your Time written by Ruby Bridges. A short, moving autobiography paired with photos of the era.
  • Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! by Veronica Chambers; illustrated by Rachelle Baker. Chisholm, a first generation American, was the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968.
  • Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes; Illustrated by Laura Freeman. A wonderful introduction to our Vice President.
  • Finish the Fight: the Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, 1920 by Veronica Chambers and the staff of the New York Times. Meet some of the lesser known women of the suffragette movement in this dynamic, new collection from the New York Times.
  • Standing on Her Shoulders: a Celebration of Women by Monica Clark-Robinson; art by Laura Freeman. A powerful, new picturebook that reminds us that we are all “standing on the shoulders of others” as we make our way in the world.

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