International Women’s Day Book Guide

As International Women’s Day (March 8th) approaches, check out this list of inspirational books for young women. These books about heroines all have a compelling message, which is: there is a power that’s in you and it’s up to you to discover it, and then do something good with it. These books help show young women their own strengths, and discover ways in which they, too, can make a positive change in the world.

Grades K-1
Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes written by Eva Chen, Illustrated by Derek Desierto
A beautifully illustrated picture book about Juno’s epic journey through time and space, stepping into the shoes of women role models from Cleopatra to Frida Kahlo to Serena Williams. Each pair of shoes Juno tries on brings a new adventure, and a step towards knowing that her very own shoes are the best ones for her. Readers will be introduced to fourteen groundbreaking women just enough to peak their interests, inspiring them to visit a library with their parents and do more research on their favorite heroines in the story.

Grades 2-3
I am Jane Goodall written by Brad Meltzer, Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Part of the Ordinary People Change the World series, which was written for the author’s own children so that they could understand that the power to change the world is within them. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and understandable to young children. This book has more than just the story of how Jane met the chimpanzees and changed the way scientists think about animals. It starts with her love of wildlife as a very young child. It will inspire any reader to believe that they too can overcome their fears and make a difference. This book has a beautiful message to children about accomplishing your dreams by being patient, working hard, and knowing that each of us has an impact on the world.

Grades 4-5
Zita The Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
A headstrong, imperfect heroine finds herself in a galaxy far, far away. Zita requires the help of new friends that she meets along the way to save her best friend from home. While Zita always wants to do the right thing, she can sometimes be afraid. Her true heart and courage come out at the end. This whimsical graphic novel is brilliantly illustrated and fast paced. Children will be inspired to read the whole series.

Middle School
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
A compelling, inspirational, heart wrenching story of Amal’s search for strength to get herself out of a very serious predicament. This heroic story about a girl’s struggle to become educated against overwhelming odds will open the eyes and hearts of readers. An amazing homage to Malala Yousafzai and all the countless girls worldwide who stand tall in order to make a difference.

High School
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
This Newberry Award winning novel, set in 1936, is a memorable coming-of-age story of Abilene Tucker’s unusual summer in her father’s hometown of Manifest, Kansas. This immigration story set in World War I is artfully intertwined with rich historic detail. Abilene sets out on a quest to learn about the history of the town, her father’s place in that history, and her own place in the present. A beautifully written tale of family, loyalty, and friendship.

– Keira Pride, Head Librarian at Stratford School