7 Girl-Power Books For Young Readers

As someone raising both a son and a daughter, I’m always on the lookout for books that empower both of them to grow into strong, happy, healthy adults. That’s every parent’s dream, right? While my daughter went through a princess phase just like many other girls her age, she simultaneously expressed an interest in trains, building and STEM activities. For the all the girls out there (and the young boys who will grow into the young men who will respect them), here are some books featuring strong females:

Princesses Wear Pants, by Savannah Guthrie, Allison Oppenheim, and Eva Byrne
At first, Princess Penelope Pineapple may seem like your typical princess. She lives in a huge palace, and has a closet full of frilly dresses. But Princess Penelope is also the practical type, which is why she most often zips past her frilly dresses, and heads towards her collection of pants. After all who gardens, or commands a flight, or does yoga…in a dress? No, pants are far more practical. Too bad not everyone in the Kingdom agrees. When Princess Penelope is pressured to wear one of her frilly dresses for a fancy ball, she must find a creative way to express her true self.

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl-Power Primer, by Joan Holub and Daniel Roode
This board book introduces lap-listeners to influential females in history. The women cover all corners of the globe, and all areas of influence, including such notables as Florence Nightingale, Ruby Bridges, Sonya Sotomayor, and Coco Chanel. Each woman is introduced with a short rhyme, followed by a second page containing a few simple facts. With attractive images, and sparse text, this really is a primer for the youngest readers.

Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
From the same author and illustrator duo who brought us Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Iggy Peck, Architect, comes a new character. A classmate of Rosie and Iggy, Ada has always loved questions, especially those fueled by her own endless curiosity. And right now, she’s curious about where the funky smell in her house is originating. She develops a plan, and sets about conducting her experiments, but this time things don’t go quite as planned. Now the smell is worse than ever, and Ada has landed herself in some trouble. Will Ada find the answers to her questions? Or will all her experimenting just lead to more questions?

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley
This biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also known as the Notorious RBG, teaches young readers that disagreement is not wrong. That it can, in fact, be the catalyst for big changes. But disagreeing doesn’t mean you have to be disagreeable. With age-appropriate text, the reader watches Ginsburg grow from childhood to adulthood, rejecting the roles society expects of her, as she overcame obstacles and pursues her own chosen path. Additional pages at the back include a more detailed description of Ginsburg’s life, career, and accomplishments.

Frida Kahlo, by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Gee Fan Eng
While she may have grown into an influential and world-renowned artist, that wasn’t Frida Kahlo’s original plan. As a child, she wanted to practice medicine, but a childhood accident destroyed that dream. Despite being just one of many obstacles placed in her path, Kahlo refuses to accept the curveballs thrown her way as defeat. Instead, from her bedside, she paints, and paints, and paints, ultimately producing over 140 works and making a name for herself all over the world.

My Name Is Not Isabella:Just How Big Can A Little Girl Dream?, by Jennifer Fosberry and Mike Litwin
Isabella has lots of role models: Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride. And in a nice twist on this theme, Isabella describes her desire to be like Mommy. Throughout the course of a day, we dive into Isabella’s creative imaginings, as seemingly simple daily events remind her of some of her female heroes. This is a bright, fun read that explores not only historical figures, but the power of a great imagination.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina, by Monica Brown and Sara Palacios
Marisol McDonald likes herself just the way she is, with her bright red hair and brown skin, and her polka dots and stripes fashion combinations. She also loves peanut butter and jelly burritos, and playing pirate princess. Who says you have to choose? Unfortunately, lots of those who surround Marisol want her to make a choice about who she is. How does a biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American fit in? And why should she have to? Marisol is fun, confident, and a role model for young girls everywhere who are trying to remain true to all the pieces that make up who they are and who they want to be.

I’ve only scratched the surface! What are your favorite titles featuring mighty girls?

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