Although we love to highlight women’s history throughout the year, March is Women’s History Month and seems like the perfect time to recommend some women’s history books for girls.
I Could Not Do Otherwise
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Women’s rights are human rights?” Those powerful words have their origin in a statement by Mary Edwards Walker, a surgeon and spy during the Civil War. Disregarding tradition, she wore pants instead of corsets and earned a degree in medicine. She was the second woman to ever do so in the United States, after Elizabeth Blackwell. In 1865, she became the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor from the president for her efforts treating union soldiers. “The recognition of the individuality of woman, is simply an acknowledgement of human rights, which all human beings have guaranteed them, by the fact of their having an existence,” she said.
Girls Who Green the World
Does climate change stress you out? Then pick up this book for uplifting profiles of women who are fighting for the environment right now. In it you’ll meet Varshini Prakash, who directs the Sunrise Movement, a youth climate change organization; Anna Brightman, who started a cruelty-free, zero-waste skincare line; and 32 other changemakers. Each profile includes fun tidbits about the woman featured, such as what she’s really good at (and really bad at), and things she used to do before realizing it was bad for the environment. Women’s history is being made right now, too, and you’re a part of it!
History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote
You might know that Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s right to vote, and that the 19th Amendment granting that right passed in 1920. But did you know that Susan B. Anthony wasn’t even alive by then? Passing the 19th Amendment was about more than a few famous suffragists. Millions of women marched, protested, spoke, and wrote about women’s suffrage for decades before they won the vote. And in the end, the passage of the 19th Amendment came down to one state representative changing his mind after receiving a letter from his mom!
The Secret Spy Society
In this illustrated chapter-book series, three girls will find out if they have what it takes to become spies. And they’re learning from the most famous women spies of history! The first book in the series, The Case of the Missing Cheetah, brings the girls face to face with Josephine Baker, who enlists the girls to track down her pet cheetah. The trio’s spy adventures continue in The Case of the Curious Scouts and the Case of the Musical Mishap.
In 1930s Jackson, Mississippi, teenage Lamb hopes for a better life for her family. Her mother works hard as a seamstress, her brother has been accepted into a leading Black university, and Lamb studies hard. But when she accepts friendship from a White girl who lends her a beloved book, she sets off a series of events that ends in tragedy for Lamb’s family. This book examining the female victims of white supremacy was written for teenagers, so younger girls should check with parents before reading.
More Women’s History Books for Girls
Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties by Sue Macy shows how women on the field and at bat changed sports forever.
She Fought Too: Stories of Revolutionary War Heroines by Tara Ross profiles 16 women and girls integral to the American Revolution.
The Encyclopedia of American Indian History & Culture from National Geographic is bursting with photos, timelines, maps and more chronicling the tribes in the United States, many of which have historically valued female leadership.
Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani, along with coauthor Dane Liu, collect the stories of influential women and men in Amazing: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Inspire Us All.
Karina Manta made history when she became the first woman to come out as queer on the U.S. Figure Skating team. She writes about her queer identity, body image in sports, and more in her memoir, On Top of Glass.
What about you? Do you have favorite women’s history book for girls? Have you read any of the books above? Tell me about it in the comments!