If you’re looking for strong girl books to share with your daughters (and your sons!), you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to find a huge list of some of our very favorite children’s books about strong girls, including biographies and anthologies about the strongest, smartest, coolest ladies — both from world history and today!
Here’s to strong women: may we know them, be them, and raise them!
Sharing strong girl books with your kids is ALWAYS a good idea!
After all, what better way is there to show our children (both girls and boys!) that they can do — and be — anything they set their minds to than by reading phenomenal picture books about the world’s most remarkable women?
The ladies featured in these books about strong girls are leaders and pioneers.
They have broken barriers, persevered despite the most daunting obstacles, and continuously fought for social justice.
From dancers to doctors, artists to architects to activists, the stories of these women who continuously and tenaciously broke boundaries and challenged societal norms are not just inspiring, but a crucial part of the world’s tapestry.
So, in honor of mighty girls, here are some of our favorite books about strong girls whose determination and accomplishments have made indelible contributions to our contemporary society. Happy reading!
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Frequently asked questions
Biography books for kids are wonderful tools to help children recognize they can be anyone – and do anything – they set their minds to. These stories about real people who have changed the world in ways big and small are remarkable examples of perseverance and the importance of a growth mindset. They bring heroes to life, while simultaneously offering glimpses into different careers, movements, and cultures.
Absolutely! Click the following link for a great list of biography books for kids.
Without a doubt, my favorite biography book for kids is I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (featured below). RBG grew up at a time when women were encouraged to be homemakers, not lawyers. Yet despite this, she pursued her goals and dissented widely in the face of injustice. Her story is inspiring and powerful, teaching kids we can always stand up for what’s right, even when it seems the whole world is against us.
Picture book biographies about strong girls
An extraordinarily beautiful picture book about an extraordinarily special writer who never let rigid gender constructs hold her back from achieving her dream: writing extraordinary stories. Jane Austen would not be deterred, despite a publishing industry that wholly favored male writers. And she didn’t just succeed in the mild sense of the term – she went on to create unique novels that have delighted readers for generations. We love this children’s book about perseverance!
Did you know that the famous poet, Lord Byron, had a daughter who is touted as the very first computer programmer? Ada had a vivid imagination like her father and a scientific mind like her mother. Put them together, and you get one important visionary – a passionate woman who envisioned a world driven by computers and actually wrote the first computer program. This is a fabulous strong girl book for any child who loves science!
We are totally in love with the incredible Ordinary People Change the World biography series and could highlight every single book here on Happily Ever Elephants! This installment is about brave Harriet Tubman, a heroic woman who helped to abolish slavery. As one of the key players in the Underground Railroad, she helped so many slaves escape, find freedom, and establish new lives for themselves. A powerful book about a strong woman.
Born in Venezuela, Teresa learned to play the piano at an early age. She was performing in grand cathedrals and writing her own songs before she even turned ten! When a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to seek refuge in the United States, only music could comfort her. She began to capture an audience in America, earning not only the nickname the “Piano Girl” but an invitation from President Lincoln to play at the White House. Carreno’s display of courage, coupled with her belief in the power of music to comfort and unite all people, make this a winning story. And the illustrations? Absolutely breathtaking!
When she was only a toddler, Helen Keller became blind and deaf, unable to speak or communicate with the people around her. Despite her handicaps, Helen wanted to experience life. With the help of a phenomenal teacher, Helen gained knowledge and wisdom which led her on a mission to change the world and fight against injustice. Even without a spoken voice, people listened. So, so powerful! For more children’s books about disabilities, click here!
When you learn that a five-year-old picks up a guitar for the first time, flips it upside down and backward, and teaches herself to play, you know a great story will unfold. And so it is with Elizabeth Cotton, who, at only eleven years old, wrote the song Freight Train, which became one of the most famous folk songs of the twentieth century. This strong girl book is a lyrical gem that is as inspiring as it is beautiful!
Florence Mills, with the voice of an angel, was the daughter of former slaves. Her beautiful voice helped her obtain roles on Broadway, where she inspired all those around her. Yet, despite her many successes, she saw firsthand how the evils of prejudice and racism haunted everyday life. Florence thus chose to fight for equality and social justice, always championing her fellow performers and the importance of civil rights for all. This is a beautiful book about a strong girl, with gorgeous art by an award-winning illustrator!
Amelia Earhart loved adventure and did not back away from challenges — even when those challenges involved participating in activities that girls had never done before. She dreamed of flying and would stop at nothing to accomplish her goals, eventually breaking records and becoming the first woman to fly all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.
This is a stunning strong girl book about Pura Belpre, her arrival in the United States in the early 1920s, and her job at a neighborhood library as a bilingual assistant. While working at the library, Belpre was surprised at the lack of any stories from her native Puerto Rico on the shelves. She thus began to spin unique tales for the children based on her home in Puerto Rico, infusing the neighborhood’s library with multicultural tales, diverse storytelling, and puppets! Exquisite in prose and illustration, we simply adore this one! For our full review of Planting Stories, click here!
Though famed artist Frida Khalo is typically remembered for her self-portraits, most people don’t know about her beloved pets: a parrot, an eagle, a black cat, a fawn, two turkeys, two monkeys, and three dogs. This strong girl book is the story of Frida and her animals, and it considers how the artist embodied the characteristics of her cherished pets.
Mary Blair was never one to play by the rules. At a time when studios preferred male artists and shied away from color, Blair was anything but shy, painting mermaids and filling canvases with viridian trees and mauve-tinted skies. She eventually bucked tradition within the animation industry. Her amazing sense of color became critically important as she helped design the ride of all rides: Disney’s It’s a Small World. Stunning!
Even as a young child, Ethel Payne loved stories. This passion for story led her to seek truth and justice, first as a reporter for her school newspaper in Chicago, then as a journalist in Japan during World War II. Yet she didn’t stop there. Even after breaking numerous barriers, Payne was determined to break more: she became one of the first black journalists to enter the White House briefing room, asking tough questions of American presidents from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Jimmy Carter, earning her the nickname “First Lady of the Black Press.” Inspiring and powerful, this story of a fearless young woman shows all children to speak the truth to power and never back down from fighting for justice. An absolute gem, and one of my very favorite strong girl books!
Eugenie Clark was just a young girl when she – gasp! – fell in love with sharks. Though most people found sharks to be terribly scary, Clark thought they were strong and graceful, and she dove deep into the ocean to discover the wondrous world below the water. Not only did Eugenie Clark, the scientist, make significant contributions to research and discoveries about sharks, but she proved to the world that women could not be held back from achieving their dreams!
Maya Angelou had a challenging life as a young girl in Stamps, Arkansas. After a traumatic event when she was just eight years old, she didn’t speak for five years. How did she rediscover her voice? Through books, of course. Angelou became one of the world’s most honored and revered writers and poets, using her words— and her voice — to inspire, educate and fight for justice worldwide.
This is a strong girl book (my favorite!) about my all-time hero! Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up at a time when women were encouraged to be homemakers, not lawyers. But this did not dissuade RBG from following her aspirations and dissenting widely in the face of injustice. As a child who dissented from being forced to write with her right hand (when she was truly a lefty) and as a Supreme Court Justice who continually disagreed with the unequal treatment of all people, this is an inspiring and powerful book about how we can always stand up for what’s right, even when it seems the whole world is against us. For our full review of this amazing book, Click Here!
Jane Goodall blossomed from a child watching birds at her windowsill to studying chimpanzees in the African wilds. An extraordinarily strong and courageous woman, her observations have led her to become the foremost expert on chimpanzees, and she has led a worldwide crusade to save these remarkable primates from extinction.
So many young girls today know of- and hope to emulate- the great Misty Copeland. But they likely don’t know about the famous ballerina who inspired Misty herself. Meet Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company. Though she faced racism and derision, she never let it hold her back. Raven was persistent, which led her to dance for royalty in Holland and at the New York City Opera after that— until she was fifty years old. This is a must-have strong girl book for your little dancers!
Would your little girl much rather play baseball than barbies? Then you need this book! This is the true story of Kathryn Johnston, the very first girl to play little league baseball. She’s got spunk, perseverance, and a whole lot of grit— and we absolutely loved her inspiring story. Here’s to mighty girls who refuse to be held back by rigid gender constructs. Love this one for all of your sports-loving girls!
It wasn’t easy to be a visionary Iraqi architect when you were living and studying in London. But Zaha Hadid fought against adversity and eventually designed buildings that brought her famed mantra – “the world is not a rectangle” – to life. Her unconventional designs turned into museums, stadiums, and opera houses reminiscent of nature, and upon her death in 2016, she was the only woman to receive both the Pritzker Prize and the Royal Gold Medal for her designs.
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court justice, inspiring children across the United States – and even worldwide – to chase their dreams. But did you know that reading was what truly inspired Justice Sotomayor? Stories helped her navigate her world, everything from her father’s death to her diabetes diagnosis to helping her connect with family in New York and Puerto Rico. If you simply turn the page, you are opening yourself up to a world where anything and everything is possible.
Women in space? Yes, please. A child with a big heart and bigger dreams, who would stop at nothing to achieve her goal? Yes, yes, YES, please! This is the sweet story of the brilliant Dr. Mae Jemison, who not only enrolled at Stanford University when she was just sixteen years old, but eventually went on to become a doctor and then the very first African-American female astronaut. STEM, anyone?!? This is one of our favorite strong girl books for little readers! For more children’s books about space, click here!
As a little girl, Maya loved to observe space and structure and used her house as a model to build little towns out of scraps of paper. She also grew up with art, and it was the combination of her love of light, lines, and art that gave her a vision for the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. After beating out more than a thousand others, Lin won a public design competition to create this memorial, one of the most influential memorials in modern history.
If you know kids who can’t stop, won’t stop when it comes to tennis or any sport, they will absolutely love this beautifully illustrated story of tennis stars and sisters Venus and Serena Williams. The dynamic sisters are two of the greatest athletes of all time, but they didn’t become champions without dedication, talent, and a whole lot of heart. This is a wonderful strong girl book highlighting perseverance and a testament to their tenacity and love for their sport.
This is a beautifully illustrated new biography about Malala Yousafazi, who, despite the fact that she was a girl born in Pakistan, refused to be quiet. Girls in Pakistan were not educated, so Malala’s father simply schooled her in secret, unafraid of the consequences. Though an enemy sought to silence her powerful voice, Malala was undeterred, eventually traveling the globe to advocate for the right to education for every person.
Notable anthologies & other strong girl books
What a collection! This is a fabulous keepsake, a beautiful compilation celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of fifty women who changed the world and left an indelible mark on our society. Readers young and old will learn about the challenges these women faced as children and young adults and be forever inspired by their courage and stunning achievements.
Virginia Senator Janet Howell and her daughter compiled this fabulous compendium, telling the stories of fifty remarkable women in politics. From the first African American woman elected to Congress to the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, this collection of short biographies introduces children to the women who are changing the face of government in the United States. With a foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman to run for U.S. President, this book fills us with hope, courage, and the staunch belief that women can do and be anything they set their minds to!
This collection stands out from some of the others for its stunning, oversized portraits of 24 phenomenal women. With grit, guts, and determination to leave their mark on our society, these larger-than-life portraits are the perfect way to highlight the artistry and serious work carried out by the trailblazing women featured inside.
These fabulous books set themselves apart by focusing on the contributions of women in two major areas. Women in Science is dedicated to women who have made significant contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and Women in Sports focuses on notable female athletes from the 1880s to today. These books are beautifully illustrated, and oh so much fun! A wonderful gift set, too – the whole series (including women in art and women in sports) is fantastic!
This New York Times best-selling books transform biographies of famous and notable women, turning each story into a unique fairy tale that is perfect for bedtime. From Nefertiti to Beyonce, young readers will be entranced by these beautifully illustrated books that tell captivating tales of the world’s most fascinating females!
This stunning anthology features snippets of 49 black women who, in their own various ways, helped change the world. From poets to pilots to politicians, the fascinating stories combined with stunning illustrations make this book a winner, conveying to our children how people can break barriers when they dream, persevere and never stop believing in themselves.
Oh, how we love this unique take on an alphabet book! Forget about A being for Apple. Instead, A is for Angela Davis, an iconic political activist! And so it goes, with each letter of the alphabet representing a significant woman in American history. Two new books have recently come out by this dynamic duo, including Rad Women Worldwide and Rad Girls Can!
This stunning book is a collection of 175 photos that celebrate real girls doing all of the things that make them beautiful: being silly, being sporty, being smart, and being spirited. As this book states, real beauty is about being your true, authentic self, loving that self, and owning exactly who you are. This is a true gem, and we can’t rave about it enough!
We absolutely adore this book of poems that is accessible, fresh, and perfect for young readers! Each of the fourteen young women in this collection is paired with a noteworthy female artist, resulting in a beautiful celebration of activists and trailblazers. This mesmerizing poetry book will captivate young readers, giving them an array of inspirational heroes to admire.
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