“Sometimes being a girl isn’t easy” is the opening line of “She Persisted,” and at some point in our life, all us girls agreed.
Sometimes it was the way we felt; sometimes it was the things we liked; some other times it was about our dreams and expectations.
Fortunately for us, every day an amazing woman wakes up somewhere in the world and does something unprecedented.
It could be something huge, like going to space, or fighting the Romans.
Or something “small,” like going to school, or sitting on a bus.
It doesn’t matter how big the achievement is: every time women challenge prejudices and shatter walls, an example is set that makes it a little easier and a little more likely for us all to succeed.
Here is a list of the five best empowering books for girls published in recent years.
The heroines of these books are all real ladies that changed history through their actions and courage; a collection of inspirational stories to show our girls – and our boys- that we can do anything we set our minds on.
Even though all the protagonists are women, it doesn’t mean boys won’t be able to relate. Anyone that has ever been told to quiet down or to aim within their reach, will find meaningful examples and role models in these books.
As Sally Ride said, you can’t be what you can’t see.
So work hard and follow these women’s examples, and if what you dream of is never being done before, then be the first one to do it.
5 of the Best Empowering Books for Little Girls:
by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger
“She persisted” is a wonderfully illustrated book about thirteen tenacious women who were not easily intimidated nor defeated.
From Harriet Tubman (African American abolitionist who was born a slave), to Virginia Apgar (pioneer of obstetrical anesthesiology), to Margaret Chase Smith ( first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress), their stories and accomplishments are narrated through beautiful illustrations and concise prose.
Each story is a different example of women that wouldn’t take no for an answer, and fought their way through discrimination and prejudice to achieve their full potential.
“They persisted, and so should you”
by Kate Pankhurst
Just like “She persisted,” this book tells the stories of women of incredible courage and intellect that left a mark in the world we live in.
Less US-centric than Clinton’s book, Kate Pankhurst’s collects stories from all over the world. Besides the colorful illustrations and curated typography, “Fantastically Great Women Who Made History” also provide interest information regarding the socio-cultural background of the time.
The list of heroines includes Qiu Jin (the real-life Mulan), Boudicca (Queen of the Celts that stopped the Roman Empire), Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space), and Ada Lovelace (the author of the first computing algorithm) among others.
While younger kids will surely find the stories fascinating in itself, the book also presents precious occasions to discuss complex topics such as equality, human rights, racism, and social injustice.
by Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley
“Margaret and the moon” recounts the story of Margaret Hamilton, the pioneer computer scientist that wrote the code for the Apollo space program. Pioneer is not an exaggeration here, as she is the one that created the term “software engineering”!
“Margaret and the moon” is the perfect read for any child that enjoys STEM subjects or space adventures.
The story follows Hamilton’s life and career: a small girl with a passion for numbers that becomes an MIT director and works with NASA to put the first man on the moon.
The cartoon-style illustrations and simple writing introduce some tech and physics terms that are sure to spark kids’ curiosity and research.
by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley
If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know…
“The Girl Who Though in Pictures” is an illustrated rhyming tale about Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science, inventor of the “hug box,” and advocate for autism.
On the autism spectrum herself, she is one of the first individuals to publicly share her insights and personal experience dealing with the disorder.
On the one hand, “The Girl Who Though in Pictures” is an inspirational story for any child that may feel “different,” as it teaches to embrace one’s strengths, but more than that, it is also a motivational story of perseverance and self-discipline.
“You’ll never fall short once you find what you love.”
by Elena Favilli
Among the books in this list, “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” is definitely the lengthiest one.
Italian author Elena Favilli created a beautiful anthology of a hundred bed-time stories about extraordinary women from the past and present. The writing is creative and accessible, and each story is paired with charming illustrations by sixty female artists around the world.
The design of the book is also remarkably well curated: the hard-cover and the ribbon bookmark give it a true story-book feeling. At the end of it, there are an empty page and an empty frame for kids to write their own story and draw their own portrait, which is quite a thoughtful and sweet surprise.