Picture Books for National Women’s History Month

March 8, 2021 – Sharon Anderson, Youth Services Coordinator

Happy National Women’s History Month! Celebrate with some great picture books that recognize the many roles women have played in history. In the not-so-distant past (when I was in school), children’s knowledge of women in history was pretty much limited to Martha Washington and Amelia Earhart.  In the last couple of decades, schools have started including stories of women in the curriculum, but only a handful of women show up on those lists consistently—Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony come to mind. Schools and history classes still focus heavily on the achievements of the Y-chromosome heroes of the world.

Representation MATTERS. A study published in The Journal of Social Psychology in 2010 shows that girls do better in science when the images in their textbooks include women scientists. A 2017 study by Microsoft showed that girls begin to show an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields by the age of 11—but they lose interest around age 15. One of the reasons for that drop in interest is a lack of female role models.

The Cape Girardeau Public Library is here to help bridge that gap. The library has a wide range of picture book biographies, ranging from women in STEM fields to women active in social justice movements and the arts. These books are great for children (and parents!) looking to learn more about women and their accomplishments. Discover the incredible range of contributions that women have made in the past—and are still making today. Their stories serve as inspiration and empowerment for young readers. They give our daughters, granddaughters, and nieces role models as they whisper an important message: SHE did it, you can too!  

These books (and many MORE) are on display this month at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. Check them out and get to know these inspiring women who have changed the world.

Women in STEM:
Shark Lady: the True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca
Were I Not a Girl: the Inspiring and True Story of Dr. James Barry by Lisa Robinson & Laurne Simkin-Berke
Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Walmark
Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? by Tanya Lee Stone
The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finney Mosca
Beatrix Potter, Scientist by Lindsay H. Metcalf
Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez
Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor

Women in the Arts:
Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writng Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
Viva Frida by Juji Morales
Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity by Sarah Suzuki
Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by Bethany Hegedus
Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines: Designer of the Vietnam War Memorial by Jeanne Harvey
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder
Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock
The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zada Hadid by Jeanette Winter

Women in Civil Rights and Social Justice:
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita L. Hubbard
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights by Deborah Hopkinson
Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Gloria’s Voice: the story of Gloria Steinem—Feminist, Activist, Leader by Aura Lewis
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes her Mark by Debbie Levy
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
Sonya Sotomayer: A Judge Grows in the Bronx (bilingual) by Jonah Winter
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes

Women in Sports:
The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon by Frances Poletti
She Loved Baseball: the Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick
Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant
Miss Mary Reporting: the True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy
Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey
Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy
Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang
Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows
The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick
Anybody’s Game: Kathryn Johnson, the First Girl to Play Little League Baseball by Heather Lang
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome


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