Send A Girl: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

Send A Girl by Jessica Rinker was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, so I was thrilled to find it on my front porch this week. I’m excited to announce that this wonderful book lived up to my very high expectations.

Following Brenda Berkman, a New York City firefighter, Send A Girl tells young readers all about female firefighters fight against discrimination in the Fire Department of the City of New York.

From her childhood when Brenda started an all girls football field, to her career as a lawyer, Brenda never listened when people told her an activity or job was “not for girls”. When she heard that the New York City Fire Department would finally allow women to take the exam to become firefighters, she knew she had to try.

When she found out that the exam was unfair and that every woman who took it failed, she was not deterred. She used her experience as a lawyer to sue the fire department, and she won. Once a new exam that included actual firefighting duties was put into place, Brenda and forty other women passed and were allowed to become firefighters.

Though she continued to struggle to be accepted in a male-dominated space throughout her career, Brenda still took the time to uplift and support other female firefighters, founding the United Women Firefighters organization.

I love that Send A Girl doesn’t read like a biography that lists dates and events, but more like a story with heart. Jessica Rinker beautifully weaves Brenda’s experience with the historic facts, while keeping our focus on equality. Combined with Meg Hunt’s amazing illustrations, this makes Send A Girl an incredibly engaging read.

The backmatter contains additional information about Brenda Berkman, as well as resources for readers who are looking to dig deeper.

Send A Girl is available now wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Jessica Rinker is the author of both picture book biographies and middle grade fiction. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jessrinker.com.

Meg Hunt is an illustrator, print maker, and all around maker of things. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at meghunt.com.

I want to thank Bloomsbury for generously sending me a review copy of Send A Girl. I am so thrilled to be able to share Brenda’s story with my readers.

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31 Picture Books To Celebrate Women’s History Month

Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, and I would like to celebrate with a list of picture book biographies highlighting some amazing women who made their mark on history.

Despite the fact that doors were not always open for them, women have contributed in countless ways throughout history. Far too often their accomplishments have been dismissed, overlooked, or in some cases, claimed by men in their fields. Though we have come a long way in recognizing the accomplishments of women, there is still a need for awareness around women’s prominence in history.

If you ask your friends or family who their favorite women from history are, you may find that many people can only list a handful of women who changed the world. Even in 2021, many people still don’t know that women invented circular saws, life rafts, central heating, and bullet proof fiber.

I hope that this list can provide a small history lesson about a remarkable woman for each day of Women’s History Month. By introducing young readers to books like these, we can share the stories of women and ensure the next generation is aware of their place in history.

So without further ado, here is my list of 31 books to read with your children for Women’s History Month.

Please note: This article contains affiliate links, from which I will receive a small commission. This commission allows me to maintain this website and continue to bring new content to you.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, Illustrated by Christian Robinson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.”

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found The Faces Of Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Sarah Green (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Before she raised her lens to take her most iconic photo, Dorothea Lange took photos of the downtrodden, from bankers in once-fine suits waiting in breadlines, to former slaves, to the homeless sleeping on sidewalks. A case of polio had left her with a limp and sympathetic to those less fortunate. Traveling across the United States, documenting with her camera and her fieldbook those most affected by the stock market crash, she found the face of the Great Depression. In this picture book biography, Carole Boston Weatherford’s lyrical prose captures the spirit of the influential photographer.”

The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter.

Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.”

The Fearless Flights Of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, Illustrated by Julie Kwon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn’t take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.

This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.”

You can also read my full review of The Fearless Flights Of Hazel Ying Lee for more detail.

Mother Jones And Her Army Of Mill Children by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Here’s the inspiring story of the woman who raised her voice and fist to protect kids’ childhoods and futures– and changed America forever. Mother Jones is MAD, and she wants you to be MAD TOO, and stand up for what’s right! Told in first-person, New York Times bestselling author, Jonah Winter, and acclaimed illustrator, Nancy Carpenter, share the incredible story of Mother Jones, an Irish immigrant who was essential in the fight to create child labor laws. Well into her sixties, Mother Jones had finally had enough of children working long hours in dangerous factory jobs, and decided she was going to do something about it. The powerful protests she organized earned her the name “the most dangerous woman in America.” And in the Children’s Crusade of 1903, she lead one hundred boys and girls on a glorious march from Philadelphia right to the front door of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island home.”

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, Illustrated by Kerascoët (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them.

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope.”

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by Raúl Colón (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or astronauts walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used their knowledge, pencils, adding machines, and writing paper to calculate the orbital mechanics needed to launch spacecraft. Katherine Johnson was one of these mathematicians who used trajectories and complex equations to chart the space program. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws were in place in the early 1950s, Katherine worked analyzing data at the NACA (later NASA) Langley laboratory.

In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine Johnson was called upon and John Glenn said “get the girl” (Katherine Johnson) to run the numbers by hand to chart the complexity of the orbital flight. He knew that his flight couldn’t work without her unique skills.”

Portrait of An Artist: Frida Khalo by Lucy Brownridge, Illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter and today is one of the world’s favourite artists. As a child, she was badly affected by polio, and later suffered a terrible accident that left her disabled and in pain. Shortly after this accident, Kahlo took up painting, and through her surreal, symbolic self portraits described the pain she suffered, as well as the treatment of women, and her sadness at not being able to have a child. This book tells the story of Frida Kahlo’s life through her own artworks, and shows how she came to create some of the most famous paintings in the world. Learn about her difficult childhood, her love affair with fellow painter Diego Rivera, and the lasting impact her surreal work had on the history of art in this book that brings her life to work.”

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, Illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

An inspiring story by critically acclaimed zoologist Jess Keating about finding the strength to discover truths that others aren’t daring enough to see. Includes a timeline of Eugenie’s life and many fin-tastic shark facts!”

A Girl Called Genghis Khan: How Maria Toorpakai Wazir Pretended to Be a Boy, Defied the Taliban, and Became a World Famous Squash Player by Michelle Lord, Illustrated by Shehzil Malik (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meet Maria Toorpakai Wazir, a Pakistani girl who loved sports and longed for the freedom that boys in her culture enjoyed. She joined a squash club to pursue her dream, and was taunted, teased, and beaten—but still continued playing. Then, when Maria received an award from the President of Pakistan for outstanding achievement, the Taliban threatened her squash club, her family, and her life. Although forced to quit the team, she refused to give up. Maria kept practicing the game in her bedroom every day for three years! Her hard work and perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles will inspire all children.”

Billie Jean!: How Tennis Star Billie Jean King Changed Women’s Sports by Mara Rockliff, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From award-winning author Mara Rockliff and New York Times-bestselling illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley comes this extraordinary picture book about one little girl who loved sports and grew up to be one of the greatest and best-known tennis players of all time.

Anything Billie Jean did, she did it ALL THE WAY. When she ran, she ran fast. When she played, she played hard. As a top women’s tennis player, Billie Jean fought for fairness in women’s sports, and when she faced off against Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, the most famous tennis match in history, she showed the world that men and women–and boys and girls–are equal on and off the court.”

Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.

Cherokee author Traci Sorell and Métis illustrator Natasha Donovan trace Ross’s journey from being the only girl in a high school math class to becoming a teacher to pursuing an engineering degree, joining the top-secret Skunk Works division of Lockheed, and being a mentor for Native Americans and young women interested in engineering. In addition, the narrative highlights Cherokee values including education, working cooperatively, remaining humble, and helping ensure equal opportunity and education for all.”

Yursa Swims by Julie Abery, Illustrated by Sally Deng (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A biography in rhyme relates the story of Olympic swimmer and Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini.”

Dolores Huerta: A Hero To Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren, Illustrated by Robert Casilla (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Dolores is a teacher, a mother, and a friend. She wants to know why her students are too hungry to listen, why they don’t have shoes to wear to school. Dolores is a warrior, an organizer, and a peacemaker. When she finds out that the farm workers in her community are poorly paid and working under dangerous conditions, she stands up for their rights.

This is the story of Dolores Huerta and the extraordinary battle she waged to ensure fair and safe work places for migrant workers. The powerful text, paired with Robert Casilla’s vibrant watercolor-and-pastel illustrations, brings Dolores’s amazing journey to life. A timeline, additional reading, articles, websites, and resources for teachers are included.”

Pirate Queen: A Story Of Zheng Yi Sao by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Liz Wong (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The most powerful pirate in history was a woman who was born into poverty in Guangzhou, China, in the late 1700s. When pirates attacked her town and the captain took a liking to her, she saw a way out. Zheng Yi Sao agreed to marry him only if she got an equal share of his business. When her husband died six years later, she took command of the fleet.

Over the next decade, the pirate queen built a fleet of over 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. On land and sea, Zheng Yi Sao’s power rivaled the emperor himself. Time and again, her ships triumphed over the emperor’s ships.”

Wilma’s Way Home by Doreen Rappaport, Illustrated by Linda Kukuk (Bookshop | Amazon)

“As a child in Oklahoma, Wilma Mankiller experienced the Cherokee practice of Gadugi, helping each other, even when times were hard for everyone. But in 1956, the federal government uprooted her family and moved them to California, wrenching them from their home, friends, and traditions. Separated from her community and everything she knew, Wilma felt utterly lost until she found refuge in the Indian Center in San Francisco. There, she worked to build and develop the local Native community and championed Native political activists. She took her two children to visit tribal communities in the state, and as she introduced them to the traditions of their heritage, she felt a longing for home.

Returning to Oklahoma with her daughters, Wilma took part in Cherokee government. Despite many obstacles, from resistance to female leadership to a life-threatening accident, Wilma’s courageous dedication to serving her people led to her election as the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. As leader and advocate, she reinvigorated her constituency by empowering them to identify and solve community problems.”

Queen Of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, Illustrated by Rebecca Huang (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.”

Mae Among The Stars by Roda Ahmed, Illustrated by Stasia Burrington (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.

When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.

She wanted to be an astronaut.

Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.”

Joan Proctor Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez, Illustrated by Felicita Sala (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!”

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions Of Trees by Franck Prevot, Illustrated by Aurélia Fronty (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Wangari Maathai changed the way the world thinks about nature, ecology, freedom, and democracy, inspiring radical efforts that continue to this day. This simply told story begins with Green Belt Movement founder Wangari Maathai’s childhood at the foot of Mount Kenya where, as the oldest child in her family, her responsibility was to stay home and help her mother. When the chance to go to school presented itself, she seized it with both hands. She traveled to the US to study, where she saw that even in the land of the free, black people were not welcome.

Returning home, Wangari was determined to help her people and her country. She recognized that deforestation and urbanization was at the root of her country’s troubles. Her courage and confidence carried her through adversity to found a movement for peace, reconciliation, and healing.”

Queen of Tejano Music: Selena by Silvia López, Illustrated by Paola Escobar (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Selena Quintanilla’s music career began at the age of nine when she started singing in her family’s band. She went from using a hairbrush as a microphone to traveling from town to town to play gigs. But Selena faced a challenge: People said that she would never make it in Tejano music, which was dominated by male performers. Selena was determined to prove them wrong.

Born and raised in Texas, Selena didn’t know how to speak Spanish, but with the help of her dad, she learned to sing it. With songs written and composed by her older brother and the fun dance steps Selena created, her band, Selena Y Los Dinos, rose to stardom! A true trailblazer, her success in Tejano music and her crossover into mainstream American music opened the door for other Latinx entertainers, and she became an inspiration for Latina girls everywhere.”

Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Before she was a record-breaking gymnast competing on the world stage, Simone Biles spent time in foster care as a young child. Nimble and boundlessly energetic, she cherished every playground and each new backyard.

When she was six years old, Simone’s family took shape in a different way. Her grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles adopted Simone and her sister Adria. Ron and Nellie became their parents. Simone was also introduced to gymnastics that same year, launching a lifelong passion fueled by remarkable talent, sacrifice, and the undying support of her family.

From her athletic early childhood to the height of her success as an Olympic champion, Flying High is the story of the world’s greatest gymnast from author Michelle Meadows and illustrator Ebony Glenn.”

Grace Hopper: Queen Of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by Katy Wu (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.”

Girl On A Motorcycle by Amy Novesky, Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Bookshop | Amazon)

“One day, a girl gets on her motorcycle and rides away. She wants to wander the world. To go . . . Elsewhere. This is the true story of the first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world alone. Each place has something to teach her. Each place is beautiful. And despite many flat tires and falls, she learns to always get back up and keep riding.

Award-winning author Amy Novesky and Governor General’s Award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad have teamed up for a spectacular celebration of girl power and resilience.”

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by Katy Wu (Bookshop | Amazon)

“To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star, widely considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. And for many years only her closest friends knew her secret. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling’s critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today’s technology.”

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The inspiring true story of how one African woman began a movement to recycle the plastic bags that were polluting her community.

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.”

Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Julie Downing (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Fred and Helen Martini longed for a baby, and they ended up with dozens of lion and tiger cubs! Snuggle up to this purr-fect read aloud about the Bronx Zoo’s first female zoo-keeper.

When Bronx Zoo-keeper Fred brought home a lion cub, Helen Martini instantly embraced it. The cub’s mother lost the instinct to care for him. “Just do for him what you would do with a human baby,” Fred suggested…and she did. Helen named him MacArthur, and fed him milk from a bottle and cooed him to sleep in a crib.

Soon enough, MacArthur was not the only cub bathed in the tub! The couple continues to raise lion and tiger cubs as their own, until they are old enough to return them to zoos. Helen becomes the first female zookeeper at the Bronx zoo, the keeper of the nursery.

This is a terrific non-fiction book to read aloud while snuggling up with your cubs! Filled with adorable baby cats, this is a story about love, dedication, and a new kind of family.

Gorgeously patterned illustrations by Julie Downing detail the in-home nursery and a warm pallet creates a cozy pairing with Candace Fleming’s lovely language.”

Shadow Warrior: Based on the True Story of a Fearless Ninja and Her Network of Female Spies by by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Celia Krampien (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s 1558, and warlords across Japan are battling for territory and control. Into this setting, award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi weaves the stories of three people: Mochizuki Chiyome, a young woman determined to become a ninja whose plans are thwarted by an arranged marriage; Takeda Shingen (The Tiger), a fierce warlord seeking a new weapon to outsmart his enemies; and Aki, an orphaned tavern girl whose destiny is changed by a mysterious woman. As their stories intersect, the three characters become key players in an elaborate network of undercover female ninjas who will eventually shift the balance of power in Japan. Based on the true story of Mochizuki Chiyome and her all-female spy network, Shadow Warrior takes readers on a journey through feudal Japan, from villages to castles to battlefields. Stunning illustrations by Celia Krampien, interspersed with archival Japanese art, vividly depict the rigors of ninja training, the struggles of village life, the intensity of battle, and the thrill of accomplishing a secret mission.”

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer the Call by Claudia Friddell, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Follow Grace Banker’s journey from her busy life as a telephone switchboard trainer in New York to her pioneering role as the Chief Operator of the 1st Unit of World War I telephone operators in the battlefields of France. With expert skill, steady nerves, and steadfast loyalty, the Signal Corps operators transferred orders from commanders to battlefields and communicated top-secret messages between American and French headquarters. After faithfully serving her country —undaunted by freezing weather and fires; long hours and little sleep, and nearby shellings and far off explosions — Grace was the first and only woman operator in the Signal Corps to be awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal.”

You can also read my full review of Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call for more detail.

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, Brave Ballerina is the story of a remarkable pioneer as told by Michelle Meadows, with fantastic illustrations from Ebony Glenn.”

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn’t really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That’s when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for black people and for women. Many people weren’t ready for her message, but Sojourner was brave, and her truth was powerful. And slowly, but surely as Sojourner’s step-stomp stride, America began to change.”

I hope you all enjoyed the list, and maybe even found a few places or people that are new to you or your young readers.

What are your favorite books to read and share for Women’s History Month? Be sure to share any favorites I missed in the comments below!

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What Are Little Girls Made Of: Nursery Rhymes To Empower Young Feminists

I have to admit something to you all today. As a first time mom figuring this whole parenting thing out during a pandemic, I allow my son to watch far too much Little Baby Bum. So much that I wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube was the next word he learned. I know, I know, we should be limiting screentime, but during a pandemic, all bets are off.

And while I don’t necessarily think nursery rhymes are the most harmful content a kid can consume, I was so happy to find a book that challenges some of the outdated messages hidden in these songs. What Are Little Girls Made Of by Jeanne Willis does just that!

After listening to nursery rhymes nonstop for an entire year, I am familiar with the stereotypes in them. Whether it’s the five little monkeys, Humpty Dumpty, or Miss Molly’s dolly, the doctor helping them is ALWAYS a man. Girls are often portrayed as scared, helpless objects and the women always seem to be baking, washing, or having their noses pecked off. So I was thrilled to find What Are Little Girls Made Of to offer my son a little perspective.

From Little Bo Peep rescuing her sheep from mud puddles to Little Miss Muffet petting a spider, this book redefines the roles we often see assigned to girls and women in nursery rhymes. In this book, there are no damsels in distress, Georgie Porgie learns a thing or two about consent, and I’m happy to report that there are TWO female doctors.

The re-imagined nursery rhymes are paired with the cutest illustrations by Isabelle Follath, depicting a diverse cast of characters. The colors are absolute perfection and sure to grab the attention of young readers.

While I won’t be turning Little Baby Bum off anytime soon, What Are Little Girls Made Of gives me a great way to share updated versions of these nursery rhymes and actively challenge the stereotypes presented in the originals. I would highly recommend it for any parent looking to talk about the trouble with stereotypes, regardless of their child’s gender. We all benefit when gender stereotypes are challenged and dismissed for the weird social expectations they are.

What Are Little Girls Made Of is available now, wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Jeanne Willis is an author based in London who has written over three hundred books. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jeannewillis.com.

Isabelle Follath is an incredibly talented freelance illustrator who lives in Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.isabellefollath.ch.

I would like to thank Candlewick Press for generously providing me with a review copy of this lovely book. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I can’t wait to share it with my son.

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A Girl’s Bill Of Rights – An Empowering Picture Book About Human Rights

Happy Galentine’s Day Everyone!

Galentine’s Day is the brilliant creation of Leslie Knope, a lovable character on the show Parks and Rec. While the horrible behavior of two actors on the show may have ruined re-watching the show for me, I won’t let them take away Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day comes every year on the day before Valentine’s Day, and it’s a day dedicated to showing your love for all the women and girls in your life that support you day to day. So in the spirit of celebrating women, I want to share A Girl’s Bill Of Rights by Amy Mucha with you all.

This picture book is all about girls standing up for their right to confidence, freedom, and consent. A Girl’s Bill Of Rights reads a bit like a lyrical affirmation, and to be honest, it has a few lines I should probably be speaking into the mirror every once in a while. This book pushes back on the many societal expectations women, girls, and other femmes are faced with, like the pressure to avoid making people “uncomfortable” with your feelings, or to shy away from being proud of your achievements.

Despite the depth of the subject matter, the illustrations by Addy Rivera Sonda are so fun, and I love that they depict such a diverse cast of characters.

I also love that A Girl’s Bill Of Rights can be used to teach children both how they deserve to be treated, and how they should be treating others. While this is a great book for encouraging girls to stand up for themselves and speak up about how they feel, I think it is an equally important read for boys. I can’t wait to start reading this book to my son so he will know from an early age how I expect him to treat women.

If you’re looking for an empowering book to introduce human rights, I would highly recommend A Girl’s Bill of Rights. It is available now wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Amy Mucha is a children’s book author based in Chapel Hill, NC who is passionate about empowering women and girls. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at amybmucha.com.

Addy Rivera Sonda is an illustrator, animal lover, vegan, and avid activist in various animal rights groups like Animal Save, Anti-Speciesist Action, and Casa Animal “Animal House”. To learn more abotu her and her work, please visit her website at addyriverasonda.wixsite.com.

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of A Girl’s Bill of Rights. It was an absolute delight to read!

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The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

If you’re looking for a picture book about bravery and passion, I have the perfect pick for you today!

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung is a phenomenal picture book biography detailing the life of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Despite being born during a time when racial bias was rampant against Chinese people in the United States, Hazel Ying Lee wasn’t afraid of anything. Hazel fell in love with flying when she was in an airshow with a friend. She worked an “invisible job” as an elevator operator to pay for flying lessons. Regardless of both the gender and racial barriers of her time, she would go on to serve as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.

I appreciate that The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee doesn’t shy away from the obstacles faced by Hazel, specifically the racism she faced. From an encounter with a farmer who mistook her for a Japanese fighter when she crash-landed in a Kansas field mid-training, to Hazel’s family’s fight to bury her in a whites-only cemetery when Hazel died in service to her country at the age of 32, these examples give us a great introduction to talk to young readers about the racism directed towards Asian Americans, which seems to all too common during the time of COVID-19.

Even with these hard lessons of injustice, The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is a beautiful book celebrating the accomplishments of a groundbreaking woman. I really appreciated the beautiful illustrations by Julie Kwon.

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Julie Leung is a children’s book author based in New York. She is also the author of one of my favorites: Paper Son: The Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jleungbooks.com.

Julie Kwon is an artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is her debut picture book. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at julikwonart.com.

Many thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for generously providing me with a review copy of The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee. I’m so grateful to have a part in sharing Hazel’s story.

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Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators

Are you looking for a picture book biography about an inspiring woman serving her country during wartime?

Might I suggest Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators by Claudia Fridell?

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of Grace Banker before I read this book, but I can’t wait to share her story with you now!

In 1917, a 25-year-old Grace Banker answered an ad seeking French-speaking telephone operators to join the Signal Corps of the United States Army. Though she couldn’t vote yet, Grace was selected as a chief operator and led a team of thirty-three operators who translated commands and transferred secret codes on the front lines during World War I.

These women were some of America’s first female soldiers and they kept communications open despite the explosions, fires, and poor weather conditions they faced. Their skill and dedication to their work played a vital role in the victory of World War I, though they remain unsung heroes today.

Working closely with Grace Banker’s family, Claudia Friedel and Elizabeth Baddeley have created a biography that feels personal. Quotes from Grace’s diaries are used throughout the book to truly highlight her voice.

The backmatter offers plenty of additional information about Grace and The Service Corps to inform young readers of the historical significance of their achievements, as well as their fight to receive veteran recognition.

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Claudia Friddell is a former elementary school teacher and the author of several non-fiction children’s books. She is passionate about sharing true stories from history, and currently lives in Baltimore with her husband. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at claudiafriddell.com.

Elizabeth Baddeley is the illustrator of many biographies and non-fiction books for children, including the New York Times bestselling I DISSENT: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark. She currently lives in in Kansas City with her husband and son. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at ebaddeley.com.

Thank you so much to Calkins Creek and Boyds Mills & Kane for providing me with a review copy of Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call. I’m so glad to be able to share such an amazing story.

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Standing On Her Shoulders – Celebrating the Women Who Came Before Us

I’m so excited to share Standing on Her Shoulders: A Celebration of Women by Monica Clark-Robinson with you all today.

I originally thought this book was going to be a collection of biographies about women throughout history, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s something a little bit different.

Standing on Her Shoulders combines the elements of a love letter to our children, a tribute to our ancestors, and a biography collection, creating something altogether unique.

This book is a beautiful reminder of how strong women are when we lift one another up, how far we have come, and how far the next generation will take us. Standing on Her Shoulders is not a heavy historical text, but rather a poetic tribute to honor the legacy of women who worked to achieve the freedoms women enjoy today.

Monica Clark-Robinson’s lyrical text is paired perfectly with Laura Freeman’s illustrations, allowing us to look in on one Black family’s conversation with the next generation about the numerous women who came before them, paving the way for us all.

The back matter contains one sentence biographies of the twenty-six women featured in the illustrations (from Sacajawea to Simone Biles), opening the door to further conversations about the historic accomplishments of each woman.

My favorite part about this book however is that it doesn’t just emphasize the importance of honoring those who came before us, but also reminds young readers that someone will be standing on their shoulders someday.

Standing On Her Shoulders officially releases next week (February 2, 2021), but you can preorder today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Monica Clark-Robinson is an author, professional actor, and voice-over artist who is passionate about stories. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, daughters, and many cats. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at monicaclark-robinson.com.

Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree who has illustrated over thirty books for children, including Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice and The New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at lfreemanart.com.

Thank you to Orchards Books and Scholastic for sending me a copy of Standing On Her Shoulders. I can’t wait to share this inspiring book with my nieces.

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Ten Little Dumplings

Ten Little Dumplings by Larissa Fan is a precious picture book inspired by the true story of a family with ten sons.

Set in Taiwan, where having one son is considered lucky, this family is well known in their community for their ten sons. How lucky they must be!

The parents call their sons their ten little dumplings, and in this book, we follow those ten little dumplings as they grow into ten fine men.

But if you look very closely, you will see someone else there with all those little boys.

As it turns out, there is a daughter in this family, too, and she has a story of her own.

I love that this book is based on the author’s family and that she used this book to tell the story of an overlooked aunt among the story of her many uncles.

The illustrations by Cindy Wume are phenomenal. Not only are they adorable, but I love that there is a search-and-find element, as you look for the hidden daughter of the family on every spread.

Ten Little Dumplings officially releases next Tuesday (January 5, 2021) but you can preorder it today wherever you normally purchase books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please Note: These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links at no additional cost to you. This commission will be used to maintain this website and continue to bring content to you.)

I would like to thank Penguin Random House Tundra Books for providing me with a review copy of Ten Little Dumplings. It was an absolute joy to read!

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Little Feminist – A Diverse Book Subscription Box For Young Readers

I am so excited to tell you all about an amazing subscription box today! Started by Brittany Murlas in 2017, Little Feminist is a subscription box focusing on intersectional feminism, designed to bring diverse and inclusive books to your kid’s bookshelves.

We are big fans of subscription boxes in our home. From snacks, to plants, to clothing, we have tried LOTS. So many in fact that we have a tradition where my husband and I always open them for one another, revealing the surprise inside with a bit of dramatic game show flair. I was kindly provided a sample box to review, and I have to tell you all, I literally squealed when my husband revealed it to me.

Not only did the box contain a title I’ve been wanting to add to our little one’s shelves, but there was an awesome parent’s letter explaining why the title was selected, as well as some really great discussion questions for young readers. Granted, the question are over Sully’s head, since he’s still working on talking, BUT I will be keeping the bookmark in the book for when I read it to nieces or nephews. (You know, when this global pandemic is over and we all actually see our extended families on a regular basis again.)

The title I received was The Maiden and The Princess by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, illustrated by Becca Human. This is a stunning queer fairy tale where all the main characters are people of color. This sweet picture book tells the story of a maiden who attends a ball thrown by the royal family intended to find a bride for the prince. Our maiden does find love at the ball…just not with the prince. (Available at Bookshop and Amazon)

I love that this box has more than the “white feminism” option and doesn’t erase the experience or existence of children of color, LGBTQ folks, disabled people, or other marginalized communities while promoting feminism. Intersectional feminism for the win!

Starting at $23/month, Little Feminist offers four different boxes for different age ranges. Each box contains 1-2 books, an age-appropriate activity, discussion questions by age group, and a parent’s letter giving lots of additional information on the title.

Little Feminist would make a perfect holiday gift for the young readers in your life! As of today (12/11/2020), there are still 3 days left to order for Christmas delivery, so be sure to order yours at littlefeminist.com today!

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Our Era Is Now – A Diverse And Inclusive Feminist Biography Collection

Teen author Zoe Yu hopes to inspire young girls and relay the message that women of all colors can achieve what they put their minds to. I think she has done just that with her debut Our Era Is Now.

As the title implies, Our Era is Now is a wonderful collection of mini-biographies of 14 remarkable women who “rewrote history”, paired with fun portraits of those women. Written and self-published by teen author Zoe Yu, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was reading the words of a remarkable woman in the making.

Though she’s only sixteen-years-old, Zoe saw a need for a diverse collection of strong female protagonists, so she decided to write one herself.

I have read quite a few of these feminist/girl power biography collections, but I have never seen one that provides such a diverse collection of women. From scientists and doctors to artists and singers, Zoe has highlighted powerful female stories from women across the board.

If you’re looking for a book to inspire young readers, I would definitely recommend this one. You can pick up your own copy of Our Era Is Now on Amazon. (Please note: This is an affiliate link, from which I will receive a small commission. This commission allows me to maintain this website and continue to bring content to you on a regular basis.)

Thank you to Zoe Yu for reaching out and providing me with a copy to review this book. I look forward to seeing what she writes next!

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