Women’s History Month

To celebrate International Women’s Day this week – and Women’s History Month all month – I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and nonfiction books with women and girls as the main character. Damsels in distress need not apply: whether it’s taking on a fire-breathing dragon, acting in a school play, or solving a mystery, these smart, determined girls tackle their own problems. It was too hard to narrow down nonfiction titles about individual women, so I’ve also included some great collective biographies about awesome women throughout history. This is only a drop in the bucket of all the great books about girls out there, so feel free to stop by the Children’s Desk to get some further recommendations!

 

PICTURE BOOKS
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
The Name Jar by Xangsook Choi
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
My Brave Year of Firsts by Jamie Lee Curtis
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

 

CHAPTER BOOKS
Franny K Stein: Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

 

GRAPHIC NOVELS
Sanity and Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier
Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka

 

NONFICTION
Girls Think of Everything by  Catherine Thimmish
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood
She Persisted and She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton
Women Who Dared by Linda Skeers

FURTHER RESOURCES
A Mighty Girl
National Women’s History Project
National Women’s History Museum
Women’s History Month

Miss Jessica

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Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

I’m not much on realistic fiction typically.  Living through upper elementary and middle school was hard enough the first time, right?!  For some odd, quirky reason though, the realistic graphic genre has totally grabbed me.  I get knots in my stomach every time a character hits an awkward spot and am cheering them on when they have a victory.  The graphic format is just more powerful for me.

Real Life by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham is one of the best in this genre, by far.  This should come as no surprise.  This is the duo who has already blown us away with The Princess in Black series.

This new title though is one that unlike their fantasy series for early readers, lands us in the very real, very challenging topics of friendship, growing up, and finding your “tribe”.  The friends who get you and have your back no matter what.  Anyone who spends time with children knows friendship brings some of the highest highs and lowest lows.  This book delves deeper into that from the child’s perspective.  The anxiety, the fear of rejection and confusion surrounding why, the joy and peace of acceptance.

The story is actually a memoir written about Hale’s own childhood, revisiting the ups and downs of friendship, family, and change.  As I read it, it brought back all the memories of the tumultuous nature of childhood friendships from my own childhood and the immense joy felt when you have acceptance and compassion.

The relationship between Wendy and Shannon is one I feel a lot of readers will connect too.  Between family dynamics and mental health issues, these two characters are pushed apart but in the end, come to see that they actually have an ally in each other and are family, regardless of past hurts.

This graphic novel is beautifully done and fans of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, and Smile by Raina Telgemeier are going to eat this one up!