WE CAN DO IT!...(and they DID!)


Build on this list of biographies of accomplished women with your own favorites.
Check out Women's History Month in the Activities Calendars for related weblinks.


Collective Biographies and General Reference

Atkins, Jeannine. Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters.
Henry Holt, 2010. Gr. 6-10
The lives of the three extraordinary women named in the title and the relationship with their respective daughters, Rose Wilder Lane, A'Lelia Walker, and Irène Joliot-Curie, are chronicled in this unique biographical volume. In separate sections, free verse poems depict the mother-daughter dynamic. A detailed timeline and references are appended.

Bolden, Tonya (Ed.). 33 Things Every Girl Should Know about Women’s History. Crown, 2002. Gr. 6 & above
Chronologically organized, this collection of essays, poems, photos, illustrations, and stories reveals many historical "firsts" for women.

Cheney, Lynne. A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. Illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Gr. 3-5
An alphabet book format introduces hundreds of women with an array of accomplishments. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations add interest. Only a snippet of information is offered about each woman, but this introduction will likely lead readers to longer biographies.

Chin-Lee, Cynthia. Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World. Illus. by Megan Halsey & Sean Addy. Charlesbridge, 2005. Gr. 4-6
A full page of text, including a quote and stunning mixed media art, introduces each of 26 20th-century women from different cultures. Alphabetized by their first names, most will be recognizable to readers, but some will be new subjects. Inspiring!

Colman, Penny. Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in America. Scholastic, 2000. Gr. 5-8
A well-researched text and accessible writing style explore the roles of girls (and women) in Native American societies and Colonial times through present day. Excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and period photographs provide the primary source material.

Cummins, Julie. Women Explorers: Perils, Pistols, and Petticoats. Illus. by Cheryl Harness. Dial, 2012. Gr. 4-6
Text relates the travels and adventures of 10 daring women who are likely not well known to students because women were not expected to go where they went or do what they did during the times in which they lived. Highly detailed illustrations complement the text.

Cummins, Julie. Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills. Illus. by Cheryl Harness. Dutton, 2008. Gr. 3-6
In a lively writing style, the author profiles 14 audacious performers who lived to tell about their exploits. Appealing artwork resembles posters advertising traveling acts of the past. Readers may not be familiar with these daredevil women, but they will be in awe of their courage.

George-Warren, Holly. The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the West. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. Gr. 4-8
Fascinating information about the women who ranched, rodeoed, and performed throughout the history of America's west. Some are familiar, but the most interesting stories are about the lesser known figures. Lots of photos, poster reproductions, and quotes.

Gherman, Beverly. First Mothers. Illus. by Julie Downing. Clarion, 2012. Gr. 2-5
Watercolor and colored pencil portraits complement this collection of anecdotes, quotes, and descriptions of the presidents' mothers. Entertaining reading. Bibliography included, but no source notes.

Hansen, Joyce. African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa’s Royal Women. Illus. by Laurie McGaw. Hyperion, 2004. Gr. 4-8
Each of the six chapters explores the life and times of one woman, beginning with Hatshepsut (c1497-1457 B.C.) to Elizabeth of Toro (1940- ). These inspirational stories are accompanied by a full-page portrait, photographs, and art reproductions.

Hansen, Joyce. Women of Hope: African Americans Who Made a Difference. Scholastic, 1998. Gr. 4-8
Developed from a series of posters issued by the Bread and Roses Cultural Project of the National Health and Human Service Employees Union (AFL-CIO), this book profiles 12 courageous African American women involved in a variety of occupations and causes. A single page of commentary, including quotes, accompanies each black-and-white photo. A good lead-in to additional reading.

Harness, Cheryl. Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women. HarperCollins, 2001. Gr. 3-6
Chronologically ordered, beginning with Virginia Dare, Harness presents biographical sketches, written in a conversational style, of 100 remarkable women, some lesser known than others. Packed with her signature illustrations and appended with a glossary, pictorial timeline, bibliography, and list of historical sites and women’s organizations, this volume is sure to inspire students to want to know more.

Harness, Cheryl. Rabble Rousers: 20 Women Who Made a Difference. Dutton, 2003. Gr. 3-7
Four timelines on abolition, women’s, labor, and civil rights movements provide the organizational backdrop for these profiles of 20 American feminists. Two pages are devoted to each woman, including a portrait, quotes, and dates. Places to visit, civil action tips, a glossary, and bibliography are appended.

Krull, Kathleen. Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought). Illus. by Kathryn Hewitt. Harcourt, 2000. Gr. 4-8
Women from around the world are presented with a discussion of her accomplishments and a tad bit of gossip. A full-page caricature of each woman introduces her brief biography.

Meltzer, Milton. Ten Queens: Portraits of Women of Power. Illus. by Bethanne Andersen. Dutton, 1998. Gr. 6-9
Set against the backdrop of the times in which they lived, Milton relates the stories of 10 determined monarchs across centuries. Expressionistic portraits of the women enhance the presentation.

Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. Illus. by Diane Goode. HarperCollins, 2014. Gr. 3-6
A timeline of women's history from 1765-1815 starts this collection of lively facts and stories about the women who helped shape America's beginnings. Detailed mixed media illustrations highlight the readable text.

Thimmesh, Catherine. The Sky’s the Limit: Stories of Discoveries by Women and Girls. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Gr. 5-8
Important discoveries of well-known (and less well-known) women and girls are highlighted in this book supplemented with collages of drawings and photos.

Welden, Amelie. Girls Who Rocked the World. Gareth Stevens, 1999. Gr. 5-8.  Also Girls Who Rocked the World 2 (2000).
Biographical sketches of 33 women, including athletes, artists, scientists, political leaders, and others, who accomplished “something extraordinary while under the age of twenty.” Photos of modern girls accompanied by quotes about how they plan to “rock the world” enliven the volume.

Winter, Jonah. Wild Women of the Wild West. Illus. by Susan Guevara. Holiday House, 2011. Gr. 3-5
Introductions to 14 women whose behavior in the early days of the West was considered a bit unconventional. Many professions are represented, not all of them lawful! Illustrated portraits accompany each biographical sketch. Map, timeline, and bibliography are appended.

Individual biographies and biographical fiction

The Arts - Art, Music, Dance, Drama, Literature
For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for these individuals: Laura Ingalls Wilder (February 7), Marian Anderson (February 27), Katharine Lee Bates (August 12), Phillis Wheatley (September 1), Beatrix Potter (September 4), Grandma Moses (September 7), Georgia O'Keeffe (November 15)

Alcorn, Stephen. Odetta: The Queen of Folk. Scholastic, 2010. Gr. 3-5
Extraordinary illustrations and a poetic text make up this stunning picture book biography of the "Queen of Folk." Much of the story is devoted to Odetta's young life, in which she was subjected to much racial discrimination. Her voice and talent eventually emerged to the point that she became an icon of folk music. Appended note offers additional details about her life.

Anderson, William. Prairie Girl: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illus. by Renee Graef. HarperCollins, 2004. Gr. 3-5
The harsh realities of pioneer life are documents in their reader-friendly biography of the beloved writer. Fans of her books will enjoy this birth-to-death account of her life. See also William Anderson’s Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Dan Andreasen (1998) for a bit younger audience.

Bedard, Michael. Emily. Illus. by Barbara Cooney. Doubleday, 1992. Gr. 3-5
A girl, new to the neighborhood, describes her first encounter (fictionalized) with the woman in the yellow house across the road--Emily Dickinson. The language and imagery in the writing is similar to what Dickinson herself might have used. Lovely oil paintings convey a long ago mood and sense of place.

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina. Illus. by Raúl Colón. Marshall Cavendish, 2011. Gr. 5-8
Free verse poems relate the life of ballerina Alicia Alonso from the time of her childhood in Cuba, to her courage to continue dancing even as she was losing her sight, her move to New York to continue her studies, and her eventual return to Cuba to establish a ballet company there. Superb illustrations capture her grace as a dancer. Appended biography, timeline, glossary, and resources.

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Frida: Viva la Vida! Long Live Life! Marshall Cavendish, 2007. Gr. 6 & above
Free verse poems that define turning points in the artist’s life are paired with color reproductions of her work in this Pura Belpré Medal winner. Appended matter includes quotes from the artist, a biography, and a chronology. A stunning book!

Bryant, Jen. Georgia’s Bones. Eerdmans, 2005. Gr. 2-4
The lyrical writing and richly textured illustrations in this picture book biography are a tribute to the artist’s appreciation for the color, shape, and space of the natural world and her ability to weave her observations into her paintings.

Clinton, Catherine. Phillis's Big Test. Illus. by Sean Qualls. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Gr. 1-4
On her way to an examination by a group of learned men to determine if she was indeed the author of a collection of poems she wrote, Phillis reflects on her life as a slave in pre-Revolutionary War Boston. Mixed media acrylic paintings and collage enhance the text.

FitzGerald, Dawn. Vinnie and Abraham. Illus. by Catherine Stock. Charlesbridge, 2007. Gr. 2-4
Vinnie Ream sculpted the life-size statue of Abraham Lincoln that stands in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. This picture book biography begins with her childhood in Wisconsin, continues through her young adult years in Washington (where, at age 14, she was one of the first women employed by the U.S. Postal Service), through her apprenticeship to a sculptor, and eventually, her commission to sculpt Lincoln.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell & Fradin, Judith Bloom. Zora! The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. Clarion, 2012. Gr. 6-9
Folklorist, novelist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston told so many tales about her life that biographers have never been sure of what is true and what isn't. This biography deals with all those inconsistencies in creating a portrait of her with a text that is accessible and fascinating. Well-documented and amply illustrated with photographs.

Freedman, Russell. The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights. Clarion, 2004. Gr. 5-9
Inspirational biography of Marian Anderson from the time of her childhood until she gives her historic 1939 performance at the Lincoln Memorial. Excellent use of archival materials and source notes.

Fritz, Jean. Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers. Putnam, 1994. Gr. 6-9
Well researched and written in a style that does not fictionalize, this biography places Harriet at the center of her influential family and follows her life as a bright, but shy, young woman, to the author who managed a busy life and still found time to write.

Gourse, Leslie. Sophisticated Ladies: The Great Women of Jazz. Illus. by Martin French. Dutton, 2007. Gr. 6 & above
The backgrounds and careers of 14 women from the time of Bessie Smith to present day are highlighted in this collective biography. The good times as well as the bad times of their lives are included. Particularly useful are the descriptions of their singing styles.

Herkert, Barbara. Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter. Illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. Holt, 2015. Gr. 2-4
Even as a child, Mary Cassatt was determined to become an artist, though such a pursuit was not considered proper for a woman. She studied in Paris, and a connection with Edgar Degas opened the door for her to paint as she wished. The book's multimedia illustrations are lush and allude to Cassatt's style and subjects, but some mismatches with the text may leave younger readers confused. Use as an introduction - then follow up with additional resources.

Hicks, Kyra E. Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria. Illus. by Lee Edward Fődi. Brown Books, 2006. Gr. 2-4
When Martha Ann Erskine was 12 years old, her father finally saved enough money to purchase the freedom of his family and took them to Liberia. There, Martha Ann learned to read and to quilt. She had a dream to visit Queen Victoria in person one day and give her a quilt. At age 76, she finally realized her dream. This story of determination is based on actual events.

Ingalls, Ann & Macdonald, Maryann. The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend. Illus. by Giselle Potter. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. Gr.
From the age of three, Mary amazed the adults around her with her extraordinary talent. When her family moves and she cannot take her organ, she makes music in her head! No one remembers how Mary started playing again, but everyone around seems to enjoy her music as she becomes more proficient. The final two pages show Mary performing as an adult, but an Afterword offers details about her accomplishments in the world of jazz.

Krull, Kathleen. Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women. Illus. by Carlyn Beccia. Walker, 2013. Gr. 3-5
Richly colored illustrations add to this aspect of Alcott's life that is perhaps lesser known - her time as a nurse in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. Her time there was short (she contracted typhoid fever), but she began writing when she returned home in order to pay the family's bills. One of the books was Little Women. Substantial back matter contributes to this illuminating story.

Lasky, Kathryn. A Voice of Her Own: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet. Illus. by Paul Lee. Candlewick, 2003. Gr. 4-6
Overview of the life of poet Phillis Wheatley, a slave girl purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston and educated by them. Acknowledged as the first African American woman to have a book published, excerpts from her poems appear in the text. Large-scale realistic paintings depict the time period of the American Revolution.

Lasky, Kathryn. Georgia Rises: A Day in the Life of Georgia O’Keeffe. Illus. by Ora Eitan. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009. Gr. 1-4
A period of one day encompasses the later years of the artist’s work, including the inspiration provided by her desert environment, flowers near her home, and the many objects she found on her walks.

Lyons, Mary E. Stitching Stars: The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers. Atheneum, 1993. Gr. 4-6
This biography of African American quilter Harriet Powers, who made quilts based on Bible stories and folk tales, is illustrated with color photographs of some of her quilts. Her story is set within the context of quilting by slaves on Georgia plantations.

Lyons, Mary E. Talking with Tebé: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist. Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Gr. 4-7
Lyons’ primary source research results in narratives that show her subjects as determined individuals who, in spite of life circumstances, teach themselves to create art from their experiences and become known for their craft. The author also examines the life and influences on the work another self-taught African American artist: Painting Dreams: Minnie Evans, Visionary Artist (1998).

McDonough, Yona Zeldis. Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott. Illus. by Bethanne Andersen. Henry Holt, 2009. Gr. 3-5
A useful introduction to the life of the writer, the easily accessible text focuses on events that influenced Alcott's life and work. The colorful illustrations are rather stylized, but provide a dramatic complement to the text. Back matter, including a dessert recipe, adds interest as well as information.

Nelson, Marilyn. Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial, 2009. Gr. 5 & above
Poems that capture the big-band sound and magnificent watercolor illustrations provide period details in this look at the all-girl swing bang that toured the U.S. from 1937-1946. Appended with a chronology and lengthy notes by the author and illustrator, this book is a feast of art, music, literature, and history.

Nikola-Lisa, W. The Year with Grandma Moses. Henry Holt, 2000. Gr. 1-4
Excerpts from the memoirs of Grandma Moses paired with some of her paintings form the basis of this book. The author provides a brief commentary that somewhat thematically connects with each piece of art. The book conveys the self-taught artist’s love for the beauty of nature.

Novesky, Amy. Me Frida. Illus. by David Diaz. Abrams, 2010. Gr. 2-5
Story focuses on the year that Frida Kahlo spent in San Francisco with her husband Diego Rivera while he worked on murals for the city. Never before out of Mexico, she gradually begins to gain confidence and uses the city and its surroundings as inspiration for her own paintings. The illustrations evoke Kahlo's own style.

Novesky, Amy. Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased. Illus. by Yuyi Morales. Harcourt, 2012. Gr. 2-4
The Hawaiian Pineapple Company brought Georgia to Hawaii to paint a pineapple to promote their product. When they refused to allow her to stay near the fields and paint, she left to travel around the islands. She painted the beauty that she saw (including flowers). Lush illustrations depict the Hawaiian scenery of the time. Appended notes.

Orgill, Roxanne. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald. Illus. by Sean Qualls. Candlewick, 2010. Gr. 3-5
Lively text and jazzy artwork pay tribute to legend Ella Fitzgerald, beginning with her very difficult young life singing for money on the streets to her introduction into a Harlem band in her early 20s. Bits of her famous songs are woven into the narrative. Rich illustrations match the story. Ample back matter provides additional information.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange. Viking, 1998. Gr. 6 & above
This superb photo-essay of the photographer whose photos of the Great Depression and Japanese internment camps have become iconic, uses diaries, interviews, letters, and personal recollections of the author (who knew Lange through her father), and is illustrated with about 60 of Lange’s photographs, all beautifully reproduced.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2004. Gr. 2-5
A cat named Scat Cat Monroe tells the story of the “Queen of Scat” in four “tracks” of her life. Lively writing and colorful scratchboard spreads evoke Fitzgerald’s energy.

Powell, Patricia Hruby. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Chronicle, 2014. Gr. 5-8
A lively free verse text and colorful energetic illustrations tell the life story of this extraordinary performer from her meager beginnings, through the years of enduring racism as she tried to make it in the United States, to her triumphs as a celebrity in Paris. Inspirational story. Spectacular book.

Ray, Deborah Kogan. Wanda Gág: The Girl Who Lived to Draw. Viking, 2008. Gr. 1-4
Richly colored illustrations add warmth to this tribute to the author of Millions of Cats and other early children’s books. This story is one of perseverance and determination, as Gág used her art to sustain her through difficult times.

Reef, Catherine. The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Clarion, 2012. Gr. 7-10
Set squarely within the social context of the times in which they lived, this well-documented and well-written account of the lives of the three literary sisters would be an excellent accompaniment to the reading of their novels. Quotes from the Brontes' poems and letters, summaries of their novels, and archival images supplement the text.

Reef, Catherine. Jane Austen: A Life Revealed. Clarion, 2011. Gr. 7-10
Reef used surviving letters and writings of people related to or acquainted with Jane Austen to limn her story of the author. Summaries of Austen's novels are incorporated into the text, accompanied by discussions of how family and friends reacted to her writing. Reproductions of paintings and letters along with illustrations from various editions of Austen's books appear throughout. Appended material includes a family tree, source notes, and bibliography.

Reich, Susanna. Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso. Clarion, 1999. Gr. 5-8
A well-researched biography illuminated with many primary source documents provides a compelling portrait of the child prodigy who became an accomplished composer and performer.

Rodríguez, Rachel. Through Georgia’s Eyes. Henry Holt, 2006. Gr. 1-4
Cut paper collages, particularly of O’Keeffe’s work, enhance a well-written text that begins with the artist’s childhood and art school and extends to her move to New York, and finally, to her home in the desert of New Mexico. That O’Keeffe expressed her life through her art is evident in this book.

Rusch, Elizabeth. For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart. Illus. by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher. Tricycle Press, 2011. Gr. 2-5
In a format organized like a piano sonata, this picture book biography depicts Maria as an accomplished pianist who shared fame with her younger brother Wolfgang during their childhood. However, her adult years saw her fade into the background as her brother became famous. Appended note contains excellent detail.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson. Illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 2002. Gr. 2-5
Striking paintings in a beautifully designed presentation traces the life of Anderson from her childhood in the church choir, through her years of struggle with racism, to her achievement as one the most extraordinary singers in the world.

Schroeder, Alan. In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage. Illus. by JaeMe Bereal. Lee & Low, 2009. Gr. 2-5
Readers may not be familiar with the work of Augusta Savage, even though she achieved some prominence during the Harlem Renaissance, but they will be inspired by her determination to become an artist from the time she was a young child. A lengthy Afterword contains additional details about Augusta's adult life.

Shea, Pegi Deitz. Patience Wright: American Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy. Illus. by Bethanne Andersen. Henry Holt, 2007. Gr. 4-6
Picture book biography of Patience Wright, an accomplished sculptor of wax images, who became a spy for the revolution by hiding messages in the sculpted busts she sent from England to America. Large pastel and gouache illustrations depict Wright, her sculptures, and period costumes in remarkable detail.

Sills, Leslie. Visions: Stories about Women Artists. Albert Whitman, 1993. Gr. 5-8
The lives of Mary Cassatt, Betye Saar, Leonora Carrington, and Mary Frank are profiled. The text examines the challenges each faced in becoming accepted as an artist. Reproductions of their work are included, plus black-and-white photos of the artists.

Stauffacher, Sue. Bessie Smith and the Night Riders. Illus. by John Holyfield. Putnam, 2006. Gr. 3-5
Told from the viewpoint of a little girl who peeks through the tent flaps to see the famous blues singer, readers learn a fictionalized account of an incident in which Smith scared off a group of Ku Klux Klan members threatening her.

Tallchief, Maria, with Rosemary Wells. Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina. Illus. by Gary Kelley. Viking, 1999. Gr. 2-4
Maria Tallchief was a gifted dancer and pianist as a child on the Osage Indian reservation. At the age of 12, she chose ballet as the area she wished to pursue. The remainder of this lovely text follows her rise to stardom. Large pastel illustrations in soft colors mirror the eloquence of the words. A superb introduction to this iconic dancer.

Wallner, Alexandra. Beatrix Potter. Holiday House, 1995. Gr. 2-4
This introduction to the life of the creator of some of children's literature's most beloved characters begins with her lonely childhood, covers her writing career, and concludes with her life as a farmer. Her love of animals and nature shines throughout. Folk art-like paintings reflect the times in which Potter lived. No reproductions of her art are included.

Wallner, Alexandra. Grandma Moses. Holiday House, 2004. Gr. 1-4
Illustrations reminiscent of the artist’s own work highlight this biography that traces the life of Anna Mary Robertson from the time of her childhood, through her adult years as a wife and mother, and on to her later years when she began painting as “Grandma Moses.”

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century. Illus. by Raul Colón. Knopf, 2014. Gr. 2-5
Lyrical text and vibrant watercolor and pencil illustrations highlight the life of the world-famous opera singer. As a child in the Mississippi delta region, Leontyne listened to opera on the radio and followed the career of Marian Anderson. Although she had supportive parents, she never thought she would have opportunities to achieve her goals .However, perseverance and the ability to overcome obstacles in her way eventually led her to the Metropolitan Opera and to Broadway. Beautiful to look at and inspiring book.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Becoming Billie Holiday. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, 2008. Gr. 8 & above
Nearly 100 first person poems illuminate the life of the singer from birth until the debut of her signature song, “Strange Fruit,” at age 25. Nostalgic illustrations that resemble antique photographs add to the emotion of the poems. Harsh topics. Captivating book.

Whitehead, Kathy. Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter. Illus. by Shane W. Evans. Putnam, 2008. Gr. K-3
This picture book biography tells the story of the self-taught folk artist who worked on a plantation and painted life as she saw it on any surface she could find, but who could not view her initial gallery exhibitions with other visitors because of her race.

Winter, Jeanette. Beatrix. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. Gr. K-3
Potter led a lonely life as a child, but her interest in drawing and her animal friends helped to shape her future as a writer and illustrator. The first person narrative uses some of Potter's own words. The small square shape of the book and the illustrations surrounded by considerable white space are reminiscent of Potter's books.

Winter, Jeanette. My Name Is Georgia. Harcourt, 1998. Gr. 1-3
Overview of Georgia O’Keeffe’s life beginning with her earliest training in art, following her to cities, and ultimately settling with her in the desert, which inspired a great deal of her work.

Winter, Jonah. Frida. Illus. by Ana Juan. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2002. Gr. 2-5
Brightly colored expressionistic paintings fill the pages of this biography of the Mexican-born artist Frida Kahlo, illuminating her zest for life in spite of early difficulties (polio and a near fatal bus accident).

Winter, Jonah. Jazz Age Josephine. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman Atheneum, 2012. Gr. 2-4
A rhythmic text relates the story of Josephine Baker who grew up in extreme poverty, but eventually became a famous dancer. She danced in New York until she was cast in a chorus line, appearing in blackface and stereotypic costume. Josephine headed for Paris, where she became an instant celebrity. There, her fans adored her for the rest of her life. Expressionistic gouache and ink paintings in vivid reds, blues, and yellows bounce across the pages with the same energy as Josephine's dancing.

Younger, Barbara. Purple Mountain Majesties: The Story of Katharine Lee Bates and “America the Beautiful.” Illus. by Stacey Schuett. Dutton, 1998. Gr. 2-4
The origins of the famous song are revealed in this picture book biography of its lyricist, who was inspired to write it after seeing the stunning scenery of Colorado. Full color paintings enhance the story.

Social Activism, Civil Rights, and Suffrage
For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for these individuals: Rosa Parks (February 4), Harriet Tubman (March 10), Amelia Bloomer (May 27), Jane Addams (September 6), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12), Sojourner Truth (November 26)

Alexander, Elizabeth & Nelson, Marilyn. Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Wordsong, 2007. Gr. 6 & above
Twenty-four sonnets, set within the political and social context of the times, tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her school for African American girls in Canterbury, Connecticut, in the 1830s. Mixed media illustrations add to the impact of the poetry.

Allen, Thomas B. Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent: How Daring Blacks and Free Slaves Spied for the Union during the Civil War. National Geographic Society, 2006. Gr. 5-8
This volume documents Tubman's roles as a spy and secret agent along with accounts of ex-slaves and free blacks who served the Union cause in a variety of ways. Archival images, maps, a timeline, bibliography, and extensive source notes make up this excellent resource.

Bausum, Ann. With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote. National Geographic, 2004. Gr. 6 & above
Detailed source notes, a chronology, numerous photographs, and an attractive layout contribute to this well-researched overview of the women's suffrage movement.

Bridges, Ruby. Through My Eyes. Scholastic, 1999. Gr. 3-8
Illustrated with sepia photos, this memoir brings considerable emotion to the events of 1960-61, the year Bridges became the first African-American child to integrate the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. This powerful personal narrative is accompanied by excerpts from newspaper articles, comments by her teacher, and a timeline that places her story within the context of the Civil Rights Movement.

Clinton, Catherine. When Harriet Met Sojourner. Illus. by Shane Evans. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2007. Gr. 2-4
Through life stories revealed on alternating pages, the author draws parallels between the lives of these two legendary women. Expressive illustrations enhance the text.

Coles, Robert. The Story of Ruby Bridges. Illus. by George Ford. Scholastic, 1995. Gr. 1-4
Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was the only African American child to attend an all-white elementary school after court-ordered desegregation in 1960. Her story of sitting alone in her classroom learning her lessons every day, despite the events occurring outside the school, is a moving one. Watercolor illustrations depict a strong child, supported by a loving family.

Corey, Shana. You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! Illus. by Chesley McLaren. Scholastic, 2000. Gr. 1-4
Feminist Amelia Bloomer was not conventional, especially when it came to her mode of dress. Instead of ruffles and corsets and billowy skirts, Amelia favored a shorter skirt over gathered pants. This look was eventually named for her--"bloomers." Colorful gouache illustrations are delightful.

Dray, Philip. Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist. Illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Peachtree, 2008.
Gr. 3-5
Picture book biography of the daughter of slaves who became a journalist and launched a lifelong crusade against the practice of lynching. Digitally scanned, hand-tinted watercolor illustrations create additional drama.

Edwards, Pamela Duncan. The Bus Ride That Changed History: The Story of Rosa Parks. Illus. by Danny Shanahan. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Gr. 2-4
Told in a repeating refrain style (similar to "The House That Jack Built"), this book outlines the circumstances that led Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat on the bus. Watercolor and ink cartoon-like illustrations contain characters who use speech balloons to ask questions and offer information on the history of segregation.

Engle, Margarita. The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. Henry Holt, 2010. Gr. 6-10
In exceptional use of voice and word choice, the author effectively alternates the voices of the three characters: Fredrika Bremer, a Swedish suffragette; Cecilia, a teenage slave brought from the Congo to Cuba; and the fictional Elena, a wealthy sugar plantation owner's young daughter. Freedom is the underlying theme of the book. An appended historical note and references round out the book.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell & Fradin, Judith Bloom. Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. Clarion, 2000. Gr. 5-9
Well researched biography of the journalist and activist whose primary mission in life was denouncing the practice of lynching. Supplemented with photographs.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell & Fradin, Judith Bloom. Fight On!: Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration. Clarion, 2003. Gr. 6-9
Well written and researched biography of a courageous woman who spent nearly 60 years of her life fighting for racial equality. Ample primary source material.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell & Fradin, Judith Bloom. The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine. Clarion, 2004. Gr. 6-10
Biography of Daisy Bates, who founded a weekly newspaper in Arkansas with her husband, and became actively involved with the 1957 integration of Central High School in Little Rock.

Fradin, Judith Bloom & Fradin, Dennis Brindell. Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy. Clarion, 2006. Gr. 5-9
The activism of social reformer Jane Addams and the establishment of Hull House are set within the historical context in which she lived in this detailed biography. Primary source documents supplement the information.

Giovanni, Nikki. Rosa. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Henry Holt, 2005. Gr. 2-5
Several events from the Civil Rights Movement are woven into this story of Rosa Parks, including her involvement in activities which led to her refusal to give up her seat on the bus and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The watercolor and collage illustrations are spectacular.

Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009. Gr. 6-12
Though much less well-known than Rosa Parks, Colvin, at the age of 15, refused to give up her seat on a bus in 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, and was subsequently arrested. Interviews, photos, and additional primary source material add depth to this well-researched text that was a 2009 National Book Award nominee.

Johnson, Jen Cullerton. Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace. Illus. by Sonia Lynn Sadler. Lee & Low, 2010. Gr. 2-4
Drawing upon Wangari Maathai's autobiographical writing, this picture book biography examines her education, her formation of the Green Belt Movement, her imprisonment, and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Colorful scratchboard illustrations with shapes outlined in white provide a stunning accompaniment to this important story.

Kanefield, Teri. The Girl from the Tar-Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement. Abrams, 2014. Gr. 5-8
Though not well-known, Johns was important to the Civil Rights Movement. Disturbed by the education that she and her fellow students were receiving at their segregated "tar-paper" school, Johns organized peaceful demonstrations to call attention to their situation. Well researched text supplemented by photos.

Markel, Michelle. Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2013. Gr. 2-4
Powerful picture book biography of Clara Lemlich, the immigrant girl who called for a workers' strike in the garment industry factories to protest the horrible working conditions. Superb mixed-media illustrations, some based on archival photographs, with bits of stitching and fabric accenting the pages, enhance the text. Appended note about the garment industry. Include this title in a study of lives of immigrants in early 20th century America.

Myers, Walter Dean. Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told. Illus. by Bonnie Christensen. Amistad/HarperCollins, 2008. Gr. 3-6
Good overview of the writer and speaker who worked for the rights of African Americans and women and waged a life-long battle against lynching. Quotes from her autobiography are scattered throughout. Watercolor illustrations contribute to the understanding of the times.

Murphy, Claire Rudolf. Marching with Aunt Susan. Illus. by Stacey Schuett. Peachtree, 2011. Gr. 2-4
In this introduction to the women's suffrage movement based on a real individual, young Bessie is dismayed by her brothers' insistence that girls can't do things. Susan B. Anthony is in California, however, to help promote the vote for women. Bessie and her friend Rita become involved in making signs, attending rallies, and participating in marches with Aunt Susan. Endpapers contain primary source material. Information about the real Bessie, a biographical sketch of Anthony, a timeline, photos, and additional resources are appended.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Mama Miti. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Simon & Schuster, 2010. Gr. 1-4
Rich oil paintings and collages complement a lyrical text in this story of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Appended matter includes a short biographical note and a glossary of Swahili and Kikuyu words used in the text. Pair this title with other pictures books about Maathai.

Nivola, Claire A. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. Gr. 2-4
After returning to Kenya from studying abroad, Wangari Maathai discovers that the trees that were once so much a part of the lives of her people are gone and initiates a plan to replant them by involving the women.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion, 2009. Gr. 1-4
The rhythmic cadences and superb word choice combined in an almost conversational style make the writing exceptional in this book highlighting the accomplishments of Sojourner Truth. Bold black lines against background washes in yellows and blues in the illustrations contribute to the lively text. Additional facts about Sojourner Truth and suggestions for further reading are appended. A good choice for a read-aloud biography.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. Amistad/HarperCollins, 2008. Gr. 2-6
This blues-y account (by a guitar-playing hound) of Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat and overview of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is illustrated in magnificent swirling ink lines and bright color washes. The text emphasizes how difficult and lengthy the boycott actually was. An author's note with additional information is appended.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters. Illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Harcourt, 2000. Gr. 4-6
An engaging storytelling style and superb oil paintings present biographies of 10 African American activists for civil rights. Numerous quotes are included in the text that ranges from the subjects' childhood to the accomplishments of their adult lives.

Ray, Deborah Kogan. Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012. Gr. 3-6
A lengthy picture book text recounts the life of the remarkable activist who used her education and skills as a speaker to seek justice for her people whose traditional way of life was being threatened by the onslaught of settlers and miners. Quotations from Winnemucca's autobiography bring her voice to the story. Luminous full-page illustrations add drama. An informative author's note, timeline, map, and bibliography are appended. Compelling. Excellent.

Ringgold, Faith. If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks. Simon & Schuster, 1999. Gr. 2-5
A talking bus, the "Rosa Parks Bus," tells a little girl about Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the dramatic life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Richly colored acrylic on canvas paper illustrations depict some the people and events discussed in the text.

Rockwell, Anne. Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Knopf, 2000. Gr. 2-4
Slave Isabella was sold three times before she was 13. This picture book biography follows her life through the acquisition of her freedom, a successful court case in which she won the freedom of her son, and her travels around the country as "Sojourner Truth," advocating for human rights.

Shange, Ntozake. Coretta Scott. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2009. Gr. 3-8
Compelling oil paintings illustrate this biographical poem of civil rights leader, Coretta Scott King. Readers will find her commitment to the partnership with her husband in their cause of peace and humanity to be inspirational. Good for reading aloud.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote. Illus. by Rebecca Gibbon. Henry Holt, 2008. Gr. 1-3
As a girl, Elizabeth made the commitment to change the plight of women, thus leading to her life of activism. Folk art-like illustrations enhance the text. An appended note provides further information about Stanton's role in women's suffrage.

Warren, Sarah E. Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers. Illus. by Robert Casilla. Two Lions, 2012. Gr. 2-5
Inspirational picture book biography about the woman activist who advocated for migrant farm workers and co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. Watercolor and pastel illustrations convey the determination of the workers and their extraordinary leader.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Illus. by Ekua Holmes.
Candlewick, 2015. Gr. 5-8
Free verse poetry tells the story of the civil rights activist from her early life as the daughter of sharecroppers to her emergence on the national scene as one who spoke openly about her treatment during her pursuit of the right to vote. Striking illustrations. Extensive back matter. This exceptional portrait of determination and perseverance belongs on every library shelf.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Hyperion, 2006. Gr. 2-5
Focusing primarily on Tubman's religious inspiration, poetic writing tells of her escape from slavery and subsequent role as a guide on the Underground Railroad. Large dramatic paintings enhance the text in this Caldecott Honor Book.

White, Linda Arms. I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005.
Gr. 2-4
From an early age, Esther Morris was determined. This spirited woman who championed the causes of women and anti-slavery helped to get the vote for women in Wyoming, became the first female judge, and was the first woman to hold political office. Chalk illustrations add humor to the cheerful story. Appended author's note contributes additional information.

Winter, Jeanette. Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story of Africa. Harcourt, 2008. Gr. K-4
Beginning with just nine seedlings, Wangari Maathai fulfills her dream of building prosperity and restoring beauty in her home country of Kenya by organizing the women to plant trees.

Wooldridge, Connie Nordhielm. When Esther Morris Headed West: Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote. Illus. by Jacqueline
Rogers. Holiday House, 2001. Gr. 2-4
Lively watercolor illustrations spice up this tale of perseverance in the name of Esther Morris, who assisted in the passing of women's suffrage in Wyoming and later ran for justice of the peace, making her the first woman in the U.S. to hold public office.

Politics (including First Ladies), Education, Media
For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for these individuals: Nellie Bly (January 25), Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller (April 14), Victoria Woodhull (September 23), Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11)

Alexander, Sally Hobart & Alexander, Robert. She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer. Clarion, 2008. Gr. 4-8
An illness at a young age resulted in Laura Bridgman's loss of her sight and her hearing. She learned to read and write and became internationally known for her educational accomplishments. Photos and prints illustrate the text.

Appelt, Kathi. Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers. Illus. by Joy Fisher Hein. HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 1-3
The author traces Lady Bird Johnson's interest in flowers from the time she was a child in Texas to her creation of the Highway Beautification Act as First Lady. Luscious floral landscapes in the illustrations exhibit flowers in minute detail. A lovely-to-look-at book about a First Lady's passion that was a bit unique.

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. Ballots for Belva. Illus. by Courtney A. Martin. Abrams, 2008. Gr. 2-5
Although women did not yet have the vote, Belva Lockwood ran for president in 1884. She waged a powerful campaign, against all odds, gained respect AND votes. She lost to Grover Cleveland, but made a statement for the potential of women as political figures. Additional information in an author's note, a timeline of the women's suffrage movement, a glossary, and bibliography are appended. Colorful paintings depict her determination.

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Sonia Sotomayor: Supreme Court Judge. Illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. Marshall Cavendish, 2010.
Gr. 6 & above
This story of the U.S. Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice is presented in a collection of free verse poems that cover her education, her challenges with diabetes, her activism, and eventually her appointment to the Court. Richly illustrated. Includes a glossary of Spanish words, a timeline, and end notes.

Brown, Don. Dolley Madison Saves George Washington. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Gr. 1-4
When British soldiers attack the White House in 1814, First Lady Dolley Madison manages to save the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington as well as other government documents from destruction. Watercolor illustrations effectively depict the times. Author's note provides additional information.

Butcher, Nancy. It Can't Be Done, Nellie Bly!: A Reporter's Race around the World. Illus. by Jen L. Singh. Peachtree, 2003. Gr. 3-6
This enjoyable biography follows the reporter, Nellie Bly, from New York to locations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, culminating in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1889. How she traveled, her difficulties with filing stories, and her problems with obtaining travel documents are included.

Christensen, Bonnie. The Daring Nellie Bly: America's Star Reporter. Knopf, 2003. Gr. 2-5
Women had limited opportunities in Nellie Bly's time, but she became one of the first women newspaper reporters, a writer of exposés, a world traveler (she made it in 72 days), and a war correspondent in World War I. Colorful illustrations are as full of action of Nellie was!

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Helen Keller: The World in Her Heart. Illus. by James Ransome. Collins, 2008. Gr. K-3
Luscious paintings complement this story, told from Keller's point of view, about the relationship between Helen and her teacher Annie Sullivan. A lyrical text provides an excellent introduction to these remarkable women.

Cooney, Barbara. Eleanor. Viking, 1996. Gr. 1-4
The focus of the picture book biography of Eleanor Roosevelt is on her childhood. Although she was from a privileged family, her mother considered her to be ugly and awkward and her alcoholic father was not a constant in her life. The end of the story finds Eleanor at a boarding school in England, where she grew to realize her gifts. Exquisitely detailed illustrations.

Cooper, Ilene. A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country. Illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley. Abrams, 2014. Gr. 5-9
In the first 128 years of the United States, no women served in the House of Representatives or Senate. Cooper relates the stories of those women who finally broke the "glass ceiling" with facts, anecdotes, and quotes in this attractive and appealing book. Excellent!

Fleming, Candace. Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life. Atheneum, 2005. Gr. 5 & above
An extraordinary design, which includes abundant use of archival photographs, letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, inset sidebars packed with information, an appended timeline and family tree, and numerous citations of sources, is the vehicle for this well-written birth-to-death account of the life of the remarkable Eleanor Roosevelt.

Freedman, Russell. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. Clarion, 1993. Gr. 5 & above
As is typical of Freedman's other biographies, impeccable research and a highly readable writing style make this book a valuable resource into the life of the remarkable Eleanor Roosevelt. Abundant black and white photos complement the text. Must reading!

Hopkinson, Deborah. Annie and Helen. Illus. by Raul Colón. Schwartz & Wade, 2012. Gr. 1-4
In her typical lyrical prose and interspersed with excerpts from Sullivan's letters, Hopkinson tells the story of the early relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher. She also subtly weaves information about language acquisition into the story. Gentle watercolor illustrations enhance the mood of the story. Photographs of Annie and Helen adorn the endpapers. A familiar story freshly told.

Jurmain, Suzanne. The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and her Students. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Gr. 5-9
Well-sourced informative account of Crandall's school for young girls of color in Connecticut. Faced with considerable racism, Crandall and her students showed a great deal of courage. Appended note tells what happened to the principal people involved.

Krull, Kathleen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams of Taking Flight. Illus. by Amy June Bates. Simon & Schuster, 2008. Gr. 2-5
The theme of "flight" underscores this overview of Hillary Clinton's life, from the time she wrote to NASA expressing an interest in becoming an astronaut, through her college years, and eventually to her political achievements. Inspirational quotes appear throughout. An extensive author's note concludes this picture book biography.

Krull, Kathleen. A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull. Illus. by Jane Dyer. Walker, 2004. Gr. 3-6
An advocate for women's rights and the first woman to run for president (in 1872), this picture book biography of Victoria Woodhull paints a fascinating picture of her life (without some of the more scandalous episodes). Realistic watercolor illustrations reflect the spirit of the times.

Marx, Trish. Jeannette Rankin: First Lady of Congress. McElderry, 2006. Gr. 3-6
Born in Montana, Rankin pioneered suffrage in her home state and was elected to Congress in 1916. In 1919, she was the only woman who voted for a bill that eventually became the 19th Amendment. A strong peace advocate, she voted against the US entry into WWII. The text's short sentences give it the appearance of free verse. Paintings and pencil sketches evoke the times in which she lived.

Miller, Sarah. Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller. Atheneum, 2007. Gr. 5-9
Based on Annie Sullivan's letters and narrated in first person, this story imagines Sullivan's experiences teaching Helen Keller. Her character and strong personality are prominent in the text. A chronology, photos, and bibliography are appended to this moving story.

Plourde, Lynn. Margaret Chase Smith: A Woman for President. Illus. by David McPhail. Charlesbridge, 2008. Gr. 3-5
Beginning with Smith's childhood in Maine and moving through her involvement in women's organizations, this story introduces readers to the woman who ran for president before Hillary Clinton. When her husband died, Smith took his place in the US House of Representatives and then won the elections herself, serving for 32 years. Illustrated with watercolor and ink paintings. A timeline runs at the bottoms of the pages.

Rappaport, Doreen. Eleanor, Quiet No More. Illus. by Gary Kelly. Hyperion, 2009. Gr. 3-8
A well-written narrative moves smoothly through the life of Eleanor Roosevelt from her lonely childhood, through her education in Europe, and into her marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Each page ends with one of Eleanor's thought-provoking quotes. Sumptuous paintings illustrate this story of a remarkable humanitarian.

Rappaport, Doreen. Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller. Illus. by Matt Tavares. Hyperion, 2012. Gr. 1-4
This lusciously illustrated biography begins when Helen is a baby and follows her life through her adult years as a social activist. Helen's own words appear on every spread. Readers will realize what a courageous and determined individual this impressive woman really was.

Thimmesh, Catherine. Madam President: The Extraordinary, True (and Evolving) Story of Women in Politics. Illus. by Douglas B. Jones. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Gr. 4-7
The author profiles 23 women who have been involved in politics in the United States and around the world. The text highlights the main achievements of each one plus a quotation. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations add tidbits of information. A timeline and source notes are appended.

Wallner, Alexandra. Abigail Adams. Holiday House, 2001. Gr. 2-4
The text depicts Abigail Adams as a bright and capable woman who managed the family farm and finances while her husband, John Adams, was away. The reference in her letters to her husband about the rights of women and slaves is addressed. Folk art illustrations adequately reflect colonial times.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Oprah: The Little Speaker. Illus. by London Ladd. Marshall Cavendish, 2010. Gr.
This picture book biography of the media legend focuses entirely on her childhood, living in poverty on a pig farm in Mississippi. The importance of her grandmother, her ability to read at an early age, the influence of religion in her life, and her abilities as a speaker are prominently portrayed. Large, colorful paintings effectively depict the time period and setting.

Winter, Jonah. Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx. Illus. by Edel Rodriguez. Atheneum, 2009. Gr.
Reared in the projects in the Bronx by a single mother who was determined to make a good life for her children, Sotomayor studied, read, dealt with obstacles (diabetes), and dreamed of her future as a judge. A commitment to excellence enabled her to realize her dream. Pride in her Latina heritage and firsthand experience with poverty gave her a unique perspective on the cases that came before her, a quality which eventually led to her appointment to the Supreme Court. An appended author's note provides additional details.

Science, Invention, Medicine
For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for these individuals: Maria Mitchell (October 1), Marie Curie (November 7)

Anholt, Laurence. Stone Girl, Bone Girl. Illus. by Sheila Moxley. Orchard, 1999. Gr. 1-4
Mary Anning made a remarkable discovery when, at age 12, she uncovered the first full skeleton of an ichthyosaur in the cliffs above her home in England. This story focuses on her early years, in which her father inspired her interest in fossils and she started a small business selling these "curiosities" to tourists after he died. Book sets the stage for her eventual acclaim as a paleontologist.

Atkins, Jeannine. Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon. Illus. by Michael Dooling. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999. Gr. 2-4
This story focuses on the single year in young Mary Anning's life in which she scraped away of the sand and stone to uncover the fossil of an ichthyosaur. Her persistence and patience are admirably reflected. Beautiful oil paintings depict the English countryside. Appended author's note gives information about Anning's adult discoveries.

Brown, Don. Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Gr. 2-4
Inspiring account of Anning's childhood discovery of an ichthyosuar and her subsequent dedication to science. Subtle watercolor illustrations depict the seasides of her fossil-hunting explorations.

Burleigh, Robert. Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer. Illus. by Raúl Colón. Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2013. Gr. 2-4
While engaged in her rather routine job of measuring the position and size of starts in photographic images, Henrietta Leavitt made a discovery about changes in the brightness of stars, which led to further research on the distance of stars from the earth. Watercolor and colored pencil illustrations illuminate the text, especially the nighttime scenes. Substantial appended information.

Demi. Florence Nightingale. Henry Holt, 2014. Gr. 2-5
This gorgeously illustrated picture book begins with Florence Nightingale's privileged childhood and follows her through her study of hospital practices to the time for which she is best known - as a nurse who changed the profession.

Ehrlich, Amy. Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 2-5
This picture book introduction to the activist and nature writer touches on bits of her life and may lead readers interested in the environment to seek additional resources. Large watercolor and gouache paintings provide a superb backdrop.

Engle, Margarita. Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. Illus. by Julie Paschkis. Henry Holt, 2010. Gr. K-3
When Maria Merian was a teen in 17th century Germany, people believed that "summer birds" (butterflies) were born from mud. Maria watched the metamorphosis of caterpillars and documented her observations with meticulous watercolor paintings. Told in Maria's voice, this story of the scientist and artist who dreamed of putting her paintings into a book so that everyone could learn from them makes the concept of metamorphosis accessible to younger readers.

Gerber, Carole. Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer. Illus. by Christina Wald. Pelican, 2011. Gr. 3-5
Annie Jump Cannon's love for astronomy dates back to her childhood when she learned to identify constellations from her mother. This illustrated biography tells the story of the woman who developed a system for classifying stars from hottest to coldest, and to this day, has identified more stars than any other astronomer (nearly 400,000).

Hopkinson, Deborah. Maria's Comet. Illus. by Deborah Lanino. Atheneum, 1999. Gr. K-3
This biographical fiction depicts Maria as a dutiful daughter who helps with her siblings, but also as a curious girl who is fascinated by stars and wishes to explore them. That childhood dreams can become a reality is a theme of the lyrical text. An author's note describes her later accomplishments.

Kulling, Monica. It's in the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up. Illus. by David Parkins. Tundra, 2011. Gr. 2-4
As a child, Mattie liked to make things from wood. At the age of 12, she was working in a cotton mill and saw a worker injured by a shuttle that had come loose on the loom. This inspired her first invention, a stop-motion device. Best known for her invention of the machine for making flat-bottomed paper bags, Margaret Knight is credited with more than 90 inventions. Inspirational biography of a determined woman.

Lasky, Kathryn. Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker. Illus. by Nneka Bennett. Candlewick Press, 2000. Gr. 2-4
This highly readable text traces the life of Madame C.J. Walker from her childhood as a laundress, through her life as a young single mother, to her work with developing formulas for hair care products for African American women, and the eventual establishment of her own company. Pencil and watercolor illustrations add to the text. An impressive book about the resourcefulness of this remarkable entrepreneur.

McClafferty, Carla Killough. Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2006. Gr. 5-10
Detailed account of the life and work of Marie Curie, focusing on her marriage to scientist Pierre, her discoveries (which were never patented), her Nobel Prizes, and her eventual death as a result of long-term exposure to radium. Source notes and occasional photos.

McCully, Emily Arnold. Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006. Gr. 2-4
Highly readable introduction to the little-known inventor of the machine that made flat bottomed paper sacks. When someone stole her invention, she went to court to claim legal rights and won. Ink and watercolor illustrations add interest and depict Mattie as a determined woman. An appended author's note provides additional biographical information.

Nivola, Claire A. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012. Gr. 1-4
This story of Sylvia Earle begins with her early interest in nature and highlights her career as a renowned oceanographer. Facts about ocean creatures are effectively integrated into the narrative, and numerous quotes based on the more than 7000 hours Earle spent underwater appear throughout. The watercolor and gouache illustrations are vibrant and richly detailed, particularly the underwater scenes. An appended author's note (bordered by labeled ocean animals) provides additional information about Earle and makes a plea to save our oceans.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. Henry Holt, 2013. Gr. K-3
Lively biography of the woman who would not be deterred from going to medical school (even after 28 rejections!) and eventually graduated at the top of her class from the one school that would accept her (initially as a joke perpetuated by the male students). The conversational tone of the text and vivid artwork will appeal to readers. An appended note offers information about Elizabeth's work as a doctor after her graduation.

Thimmesh, Catherine. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Gr. 5-8
Collective biography of women and girls who used their creativity and ingenuity to invent items that changed the world. The book also encourages young readers to start inventing themselves and lists resources to get them started.

Aviation and Travel Pioneers

Atkins, Jeannine. Wings and Rockets: The Story of Women in Air and Space. Illus. by Dušan Petričic. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003.
Gr. 5 & above
Each chapter tells the story of one woman who was a pioneer in the field of aviation. Some invented dialogue, but filled with fascinating historical tidbits. Subjects include Katharine Wright (Orville and Wilbur's sister), Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Blanche Stuart Scott, Jackie Cochran, Shannon Lucid, and Eileen Collins, among others.

Borden, Louise & Kroeger, Mary Kay. Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman. Illus. by Teresa Flavin. McElderry, 2001. Gr. 1-4
In a rhythmic text, this story of perseverance follows Bessie Coleman as she overcomes childhood adversity, struggles to get an education, and eventually becomes the first African American woman to obtain a pilot's license.

Brown, Don. Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa. Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Gr. 2-4
Spending her early adult years caring for ailing parents, Mary escaped through books. At age 30, she left England to travel extensively in Africa, a place she adopted as her own. She eventually wrote and lectured about her discoveries there. Impressionistic illustrations support the text of this picture book biography about an admirable woman.

Brown, Don. Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David-Neel's Journey to Lhasa. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Gr. 3-5
David-Neel, the first Western woman to visit the Tibetan capital, gave up a comfortable life to pursue her interest in traveling in this part of the world. Quotes from her are scattered throughout the text of this intriguing picture book biography.

Brown, Don. Alice Ramsey's Grand Adventure. Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Gr. K-3
Accompanied by three other women, Alice became the first woman to drive across the United States in a car. They faced mechanical difficulties, flooded streams, bad weather, and other calamities, but persevered. Watercolor illustrations complement the text.

Brown, Don. Ruth Law Thrills a Nation. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Gr. K-3
In 1916, this little-known person from aviation history flew from Chicago to New York (590 miles) in a small plane, breaking a record at the time. Watercolor illustrations add interest to the fascinating details in the text.

Cummins, Julie. Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America's Heart. Illus. by Malene R. Laugesen. Roaring Brook, 2013. Gr. 1-3
Ruth Elder wanted to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She didn't make it--she crashed and was rescued--but that didn't diminish her resolve. She believed that women were just as capable as men when it came to flying. To prove it, in 1929, she and 19 other women (including Amelia Earhart) flew across the country. Lovely paintings capture the spirit of Elder and her times.

Cummins, Julie. Tomboy of the Air: Daredevil Pilot Blanche Stuart Scott. HarperCollins, 2001. Gr. 5-8
On the aviation scene before Amelia Earhart, Scott was the first woman to fly a plane in America, the first woman test pilot, and a stunt pilot in airshows. Not everyone appreciated her talents, however, as attempts were made on her life, but Scott was not deterred. Archival photographs supplement the story of this amazing woman.

Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Schwartz & Wade, 2011. Gr. 5-8
Dual narratives that include biographical information about Earhart alternating with an account of her final flight tell the story of the acclaimed flyer. Maps, archival documents, and photos illuminate the text. Packed with details, this book is a fascinating read.

Grimes, Nikki. Talkin' About Bessie. Illus. by E.B. Lewis. Orchard, 2002. Gr. 3-6
In a unique fictionalized format, Bessie Coleman is "remembered" in poetic vignettes by 21 people who are attending her funeral. Extraordinary watercolor illustrations in sepia tones match the poems.

Joseph, Lynn. Fly, Bessie, Fly. Illus. by Yvonne Buchanan. Simon & Schuster, 1998. Gr. 1-3
Beginning with Bessie Coleman's childhood and ending with her entrance to a career as a pilot (first African American woman to do so), this biography relates how she overcame discrimination in order to achieve her goals. Her early death in a plane crash is not mentioned until the concluding author's note. Ink and watercolor illustrations enhance the presentation.

Klier, Kimberly Wagner. You Can't Do That, Amelia! Illus. by Kathleen Kemly. Calkins Creek, 2008. Gr. 1-4
Even as a child, Amelia Earhart was a dreamer, never discouraged by the admonishment of family and friends, "You can't do that, Amelia!" Her dreams eventually led her to the skies as one of the world's first women pilots. Vividly colored illustrations reflect Amelia's spirit. Additional information about Amelia, a timeline, and resources are appended.

Lindbergh, Reeve. Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of "Brave Bessie" Coleman. Illus. by Pamela Paparone. Candlewick, 1998. Gr. K-3
Text in the form of a narrative poem tells the life of aviator Bessie Coleman. Acrylic folk art illustrations effectivley depict the various locales of Bessie's life. Readers will respond to this story of realizing one's dreams.

Moss, Marissa. Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee. Illus. by Carl Angel. Tricycle Press, 2009. Gr. 2-4
Maggie Gee dreamed of becoming a pilot as a young girl, and when World War II dictated the need for more pilots and the WASP was formed, she entered flight training and became one of only two Chinese American women to become WASP pilots. The first person narrative brings readers into the story, and the vibrant acrylic and pencil illustrations beautifully depict people and events. Actual photographs of Maggie and her family are appended.

Moss, Marissa. Brave Harriet: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel. Illus. by C. F. Payne. Harcourt, 2001. Gr. 1-3
In a first-person narrative (fictionalized), Harriet Quimby tells the story of her determination to fly across the English Channel and her eventual success. Her accomplishment was overshadowed, however, by the sinking of the Titanic, which occurred the same day. Realistic mixed-media illustrations complement the story. Appended author's note offers additional information.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick, 2009. Gr. 5-7
Victims of gender prejudice, the 13 women who sought to enter NASA's astronaut training program in the early 1960s are profiled in this well-researched account of their efforts. Photos, primary source documents, and interviews are included. Inspiring stories of courage and determination.

Whitaker, Suzanne George. The Daring Miss Quimby. Illus. by Catherine Stock. Holiday House, 2009. Gr. 2-4
Writer Harriet Quimby was the first woman in the U.S. to get a pilot's license and to fly solo across the English Channel. This picture book biography relates her adventurous spirit, her fame as an aviator, and her early death in a flying accident. Energetic watercolor illustrations reflect Quimby's zest for life. A timeline of women in aviation, an author's note, and recommended sources are appended.

Yolen, Jane. My Brother's Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me. Illus. by Jim Burke. Little, Brown 2003. Gr. 1-4
Katherine Wright, younger sister of Wilbur and Orville, tells about their fascination with flight, starting with a toy flying machine they had as children, through the building of bicycles, and onto their manned airplane flight. Highly detailed realistic illustrations.

For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for Althea Gibson (August 25)

Adler, David. America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle. Illus. by Terry Widener. Harcourt, 2000. Gr. 2-4
This picture book biography covers the life of Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel (in 1926) while beating the men's existing record by almost two hours. Stylized acrylic paintings evoke the time period and add to the inspiring story. More about her life is appended.

Corey, Shana. Mermaid Queen Illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. Scholastic, 2009. Gr. 2-5
This story features Annette Kellerman, a record-setting swimmer, diver, and creator of water ballet in the early 1900s who also pioneered the modern women's bathing suit. Filled with period detail, the colorful illustrations show Kellerman performing to appreciative audiences.

Deans, Karen. Playing to Win: The Story of Althea Gibson. Illus. by Elbrite Brown. Holiday House, 2007. Gr. 1-3
Born to poor sharecroppers, Althea spent most of her childhood years in Harlem, a bit of a wild child. She channeled her energy into sports and excelled, rising to fame as a champion tennis player. Mixed media collage illustrations enhance this biography of a woman who helped break down racial barriers.

Freedman, Russell. Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion. Clarion, 1999. Gr. 5 & above
This engaging biography of the record-breaking (in MANY sports) athlete allows readers to get to know her as a person as well as an athlete. Numerous photos enhance the highly readable text. Excellent!

Green, Michelle Y. A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson. Dial, 2002. Gr. 4-6
One of only three women to play professional baseball, the voice of Mamie Johnson tells her own story in this uplifting biography about overcoming the odds. Lively reading with a few photos.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Illus. by Terry Widener. Atheneum, 2003. Gr. 2-4
Told in first person, this story of Alta Weiss begins with memories of playing catch as a child and follows her into a career in baseball as the first woman to pitch for a male semi-pro team. The "innings" of her life are divided in the book by an insignia of a ball and bat. A timeline of women in baseball and an author's note about Alta are appended.

Hubbard, Crystal. Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream. Illus. by Randy DuBurke. Lee & Low, 2005. Gr. 1-3
Although she knows that options are limited for African American women, Marcenia dreams of playing baseball when she's grown and is better than most of the boys with whom she plays. When a Major League manager runs a free baseball camp, he doesn't allow her to participate because she is a girl. Her talent wins out, however, and her road to her dream becomes a reality. A concluding note tells that she changed her name to Toni Stone and was indeed the first woman to play professional baseball.

Krull, Kathleen. Wilma Unlimited. Illus. by David Diaz. Harcourt, 1996. Gr. 2-4
This inspiring story takes Rudolph from her childhood, when she contracted polio and was never expected to walk again, through her appearance in the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic competition. Stunning artwork.

Malaspina, Ann. Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper. Illus. by Eric Velasquez. Albert Whitman, 2012. Gr. 2-4
Free verse poems provide this introduction to the Olympic medal-winner, beginning with her childhood in Georgia when she learned to jump over a crossbar made from rags and sticks, through her opportunity to attend the Tuskegee Institute where she competed in track and field events, and finally to her performance in the 1948 Olympics, in which she became the first African American woman to win a gold medal. Oil paintings reflect her determination. An appended author's note includes photographs of Coachman and her medal.

Rappaport, Doreen & Callan, Lyndall. Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of Young Women Who Won the World Championship.
Ilus. by E.B. Lewis. Dial, 2000. Gr. 2-4
A fictional girl relates the outcome of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's 1946 championship game between the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles. Period details in both text and illustrations create a compelling story. Games stats and an author's note are appended with archival photos of the Belles and the Peaches on the endpapers.

Rappaport, Ken. Ladies First: Women Athletes Who Made a Difference. Peachtree, 2005. Gr. 5-8
Profiles women athletes representing a variety of sports, includes personal information and their accomplishments. Lively writing, some quotes, no source notes, black-and-white photographs.

Stauffacher, Sue. Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson. Illus. by Greg Couch. Knopf, 2007. Gr. 2-5
Everyone in her Harlem neighborhood agreed that Althea was nothing but trouble as a child. When Buddy Walker, a local play leader, noticed her ability to play street tennis with a wooden paddle, he arranged for her to get a racket and start to practice. The rest is women's tennis history, as Gibson became the first African American to win a Wimbledon championship. The rhythmic text and acrylic illustrations bring her story to life.

Wallace, Rich & Wallace, Sandra Neil. Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Calkins Creek, 2014. Gr. 6-10
Babe was an extraordinary athlete. She broke numerous records as a golfer, an Olympic track-and-field athlete, and as a basketball player, and excelled at other sports as well. She paved the way for women athletes of the future. Set within the historical context of the time and supplemented with quotes, photos, and anecdotes, this biography will captivate readers.

Brave and Unique
For additional book titles, weblinks, and activities, visit the Activities Calendars for these individuals: Annie Oakley (August 13), Molly Pitcher (October 13), Grace Bedell (October 15), Sarah Josepha Hale (October 24), Sacagawea (December 20)

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Sacagawea. Illus. by Dan Brown. Holiday House, 2000. Gr. 2-4
Text describes how Sacagawea was kidnapped at a young age, sold to a trapper/trader who interpreted for Lewis and Clark, and assisted the expedition. Other picture book biographies of women featured in the series: A Picture Book of Helen Keller (1990), A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt (1991), A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman (1992), A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale (1992), A Picture Book of Rosa Parks (1993), A Picture Book of Anne Frank (1993), A Picture Book of Sojourner Truth (1994), A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart (1998), and A Picture Book of Harriet Beecher Stowe (2003).

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution.
Illus. by Matt Faulkner. Simon & Schuster, 2008. Gr. 4-6
This jam-packed nonfiction picture book highlights the contributions of familiar names, such as Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, and Deborah Sampson, but also introduces nearly 50 more women who disguised themselves as soldiers, sewed for armies, boycotted British goods, participated in protests, raised money, served as spies, and defended their homes, among other activities in support of the war effort. Watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations in cartoon style add interest with humorous word bubbles and insets of information placed in decorative ovals.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. Illus. by Matt Faulkner. Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Gr. 2-4
Alarmed that Thanksgiving was a dying holiday, Sarah Josepha Hale wrote letters to presidents for 38 years until Abraham Lincoln agreed that it should be a national holiday. The illustrations contain much visual humor with images from the past and the present. Appended information provides additional facts about the Thanksgiving holiday and Sarah Hale.

Barasch, Lynne. Hiromi's Hands. Lee & Low, 2007. Gr. 1-3
Hiromi's path to becoming a sushi chef paralleled that of her father. The important difference was that in America, she was not bound to the traditional Japanese belief that a woman's hands would spoil the fish, making it impossible for her to learn to prepare it. An Author's Note about Hiromi Suzuki, as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide, is appended.

Bolden, Tonya. Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America. Abrams, 2014. Gr. 6-8
Sarah Rector and her family were "Creek freedmen," black members of the Creek Indians, who were forced to resettle west of the Mississippi in the 1800s. They each received an allotment of land. Sarah's Oklahoma property contained rich oil deposits. As a result, she became very wealthy and the object of media attention, much of which was inaccurate. This book is a blueprint for conducting historical research, as Bolden found many gaps in the information about Sarah. Photographs and extensive back matter make this little-known aspect of history a valuable library addition.

Bruchac, Joseph. Pocahontas. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 6-10
This detailed historical novel presents the story in alternating viewpoints - those of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. Smith's perspectives are based on excerpts from his writings; the views of Pocahontas come from stories in the Powhatan tradition. Myths are dispelled. Explanatory notes, glossary, and sources are appended.

Bruchac, Joseph. Pocahontas. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 6-10
This detailed historical novel presents the story in alternating viewpoints - those of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. Smith's perspectives are based on excerpts from his writings; the views of Pocahontas come from stories in the Powhatan tradition. Myths are dispelled. Explanatory notes, glossary, and sources are appended.

Bruchac, Joseph. Sacagawea. Harcourt, 2000. Gr. 7-10
Adhering closely to journals kept by Lewis and Clark, this novel depicts the expedition through two voices - Sacagawea and Clark. Compelling writing moves this fascinating story along.

Corey, Shana. Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure. Illus. by Hadley Hooper. Scholastic, 2012. Gr. 2-4
As a "proper young lady" growing up in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette wanted excitement and adventure and "to make a difference in the world." Inspired by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in England, she started the first group of Girl Scouts in 1912, and the idea caught on. Quotes from the Girl Scout manual appear on most pages. Colorful illustrations have a nostalgic feel. Biographical information is appended.

Demi. Mother Teresa. McElderry, 2005. Gr. 3-5
Rich paint and ink illustrations combine with a readable text in this biography of the remarkable nun whose life was dedicated to service. The story focuses on her assistance to the sick and orphaned, her work with the Missionaries of Charity, and her many awards and honors.

Erdrich, Lise. Sacagawea. Illus. by Julie Buffalohead. Carolrhoda, 2003. Gr. 3-5
Large oil paintings enhance this biography of the Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition as guide and interpreter. Historical facts as they are known are incorporated into the text, leaving some gaps in Sacagawea's life.

Fern, Tracey. Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud. Illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014. Gr. 2-4
Courageous Eleanor learned to sail and navigate from her father. In this story, she navigates a clipper ship with her husband on a voyage of 15,000 miles around Cape Horn, taking passengers and cargo to the Gold Rush. Spectacular watercolor illustrations place readers at sea with those on the ship.

Hartland, Jessie. Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child. Schwartz & Wade, 2012. Gr. 2-5
In an engaging design of naive art rendered in cartoon style with hand-lettered text that utilizes print and cursive, the author dishes up a thorough portrait of the youth and career of the delightful chef. Loaded with detail (including a 37-step recipe!), the overall effect is humorous as well as informative. Readers will be charmed with the book...and with Julia!

Hopkinson, Deborah. Fannie in the Kitchen. Ill. by Nancy Carpenter. Atheneum, 2001. Gr. 1-3
A young girl is not initially thrilled that Fannie Farmer has come to her Victorian family to help with the cooking, but she soon changes her attitude when Fannie exhibits her culinary talents and even writes instructions for others to follow (no doubt a precursor to her cookbook). Humorous illustrations.

Kerley, Barbara. What To Do about Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! Illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. Scholastic, 2008. Gr. 2-4
The story of Theodore Roosevelt's spirited oldest daughter, whose exuberance for life often created havoc for those around her, including her president father. Matched by illustrations that are equally lively, this book will enchant readers.

Klass, Sheila Solomon. Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson. Henry Holt, 2009. Gr. 6-9
Sold into indentured servitude, Deborah educated herself, dressed as a boy, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War for more than a year. Going by the name of Robert Shurtliff, her gender was not known until an illness led a doctor to discover she was a young woman. Filled with details, Sampson's story comes to life in an exciting read.

Krull, Kathleen. Pocahontas: Princess of the New World. Illus. by David Diaz. Walker, 2007. Gr. 2-5
Lavishly colored cut-paper illustrations accompany this overview of the life of Pocahontas. The facts are supported by primary source material and places Pocahontas within the context of the world in early 1600s Virginia.

Landau, Elaine. Heroine of the Titanic: The Real Unsinkable Molly Brown. Clarion, 2001. Gr. 5-8
This well researched biography clarifies some of the misconceptions and confusion surrounding the vivacious and strong-willed socialite and activist, Margaret Brown, who is perhaps best known as a survivor from the Titanic disaster.

Macy, Sue. Bull's-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. National Geographic Society, 2001. Gr. 4-6
Well-documented with many period photos, this engaging account of the famous woman of the west begins with the life of Phoebe Ann Moses as a child living under difficult circumstances in Ohio. The remainder of this biography deals with her early skill with a gun, her marriage to Frank Butler, and her life as a performer.

McCann, Michelle R. (as told by Luba Tryszynska-Frederick). Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen. Illus. by Ann Marshall. Tricycle Press, 2003. Gr. 5-8
Believing she is a nurse, the Nazis send Luba from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, where she discovers 54 babies and children abandoned in a field and left to die. She manages to feed them and keep them safe until the camp is liberated. The horrors of the camp are downplayed in both the text and illustrations.

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington's Slave Finds Freedom. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. Gr. 2-4
Oney, a slave, was an accomplished seamstress and treated well by Martha Washington. In spite of her position in the household, Mrs. Washington did not allow her to earn extra money sewing and scoffed at her request to learn to read. When the President's family moved to Philadelphia, Oney saw free blacks for the first time and begins to think about freedom.

Montgomery, Sy. Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. Gr. 5-9
This riveting biography relates the life and accomplishments of the woman who overcame incredible odds in order to become the animal scientist known for her inventions of facilities designed for the humane treatment of animals raised for food. The author includes a discussion of autism. Photographs and diagrams complement the story of this admirable woman.

Mora, Pat. A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Inés. Illus. by Beatriz Vidal. Knopf, 2002. Gr. 2-4
Highly detailed watercolor and gouache illustrations beautifully establish the setting in this biography of 17th century Mexican scholar and poet, Juana Ines. The narrative follows the life of Juana from birth to death, highlighting her determination for an education, which she accomplishes in part by immersing herself in the library at the viceroy's palace.

Poole, Josephine. Anne Frank. Illus. by Angela Barrett. Knopf, 2005. Gr. 5-8
This compelling biography focuses on Anne as a young girl instead of the famous diary (though it does appear later). The story is set within the context of the persecution of the Jews in Germany and Holland, where Anne's family eventually goes into hiding. Realistic paintings depict some of the horrors of the streets consistent with Anne's viewpoint. A chronology is appended. Likely to send readers to the diary for further reading.

Reich, Susanna. Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat. Illus. by Amy Bates. Abrams, 2012. Gr. 1-3
This delightful feast of a tale, anchored with quotes from Child's autobiography and letters, uses the cat Minette to introduce the famous chef. The story takes place in Paris and follows Julia to the marketplace, to her Le Cordon Bleu classes, and to her own kitchen for experiments in cooking. The text is playful, and the watercolor and pencil illustrations have a French feel to them. An afterword, author's note, and glossary of French words with pronunciation guide are appended.

Rockwell, Anne. They Called Her Molly Pitcher. Illus. by Cynthia von Buhler. Knopf, 2002. Gr. 3-6
It's difficult to separate fact from myth in the legend of Molly Pitcher (Mary Hays), but this book provides a good introduction. Filled with drama, it recounts Molly's bringing of water to heat-stricken soldiers in battle and manning the cannon vacated by her injured husband. The folk art illustrations have a crackled look that makes them appear old.

Rosenstock, Barb. Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith. Illus. by Scott Dawson. Dutton, 2010. Gr. 2-4
A fast-paced text and action-filled illustrations relate the story of the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Spunky daredevil Louise Smith crashed her first car at age 7 and, for the most part, never stopped driving until her death at age 90. She competed in races in the U.S. and Canada in the series that would become NASCAR. Detailed author's note is appended.

Rubin, Susan Goldman. Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto. Illus. by Bill Farnsworth. Holiday House, 2011. Gr. 5-8
In this picture book for older readers, the story of Polish social worker Irena Sendler's transportation of hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto to safety is told in great detail, complemented by full-page oil paintings that reflect the gravity of her activities.

Stamaty, Mark Alan. Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq. Knopf, 2004. Gr. 2-5
Graphic novel artwork in pen-and-ink helps convey the story of Alia Muhammad Baker's heroic efforts to sneak away the 30,000 books in at the Basra Central Library for safekeeping when destruction of the building seems imminent from bombing in the area. Endnotes provide information about Iraq's role in the history of libraries. A compelling story.

Van Allsburg, Chris. Queen of the Falls. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Gr. 2-4
Story of Annie Edson Taylor, who, at age 62, decided to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel in an effort to earn some money. Van Allsburg's signature illustrations add tension to the text, particularly the scenes inside the barrel, in this beautifully designed book.

Vaughan, Marcia. Irena's Jar of Secrets. Illus. by Ron Mazellan. Lee & Low, 2011. Gr. 5-8
Irena Sendler was a Polish social worker who worked with an underground network to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto before they could be taken to the death camps with their parents. Irena promised to keep records of their real names and new identities, so that the families could one day be reunited. She buried these records in jars and never revealed to authorities where the jars were hidden. Dark and somber oil paintings reflect the drama. Extensive author's note, glossary, and sources.

Wadsworth, Ginger. First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low. Clarion, 2012. Gr. 4-7
This well documented, highly detailed biography relates the life of the plucky and fearless founder of the Girl Scouts. Set within the historical context of the times, the story identifies some of her flaws, but it's her leadership qualities and lively personality that dominate the text. Period photos, reproductions of other primary source material, and chapter headings that look like Girl Scout badges give the book an engaging design. Appended material includes an author's note, source notes, timeline, bibliography, and song lyrics.

Wallner, Alexandra. Betsy Ross. Holiday House, 1994. Gr. 2-4
Brightly colored folk art paintings that depict scenes from colonial America accompany this story of Betsy's life based on facts that are known, primarily her marriages, her skill as a seamstress, and her upholstery business. An afterword addresses the conflicting accounts of Ross as the maker of the first flag. The book ends with directions for folding and cutting a five-pointed star.

Winnick, Karen B. Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers. Boyds Mills, 1996. Gr. 1-3
Colorful paintings accompany this fictionalized story about Grace Bedell, the little girl who wrote to Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that his face might look less thin if he grew whiskers.

Winter, Jeanette. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. Harcourt, 2005. Gr. 1-4
As war looms, Alia and her friends furtively remove 30,000 books from the library and take them to their homes to save them from the bombings. Acrylic paintings effectively depict the setting and establish the mood of the story. This story of a heroic and courageous woman reminds readers that war affects people in many different ways.

Selected fiction and poetry

Clinton, Catherine (Comp.). A Poem of Her Own: Voices of American Women Yesterday and Today. Illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Abrams, 2000. Gr. 6-10
Magnificent mural-like illustrations complement the voices of 25 women poets across American history as they tell stories from their lives through their poems.

Hale, Shannon & Hale, Dean. Rapunzel’s Revenge. Illus. by Nathan Hale. Bloomsbury, 2008. Gr. 5 & above
This graphic novel retelling of the classic tale is set in the old West and features a spunky resourceful Rapunzel who teams up with Jack (of Beanstalk fame) to save a kingdom. Lots of humor and adventure.

Hearne, Betsy. Seven Brave Women. Illus. by Bethanne Anderson. Greenwillow, 1997. Gr. 2-4
A narrator introduces seven generations of remarkable women who, in spite of wars and other difficult conditions, courageously and creatively made a difference in the lives of those around them. Understated illustrations effectively portray each woman.

Henson, Heather. That Book Woman. Illus. by David Small. Atheneum, 2008. Gr. 1-3
In this lovely tribute to the packhorse librarians, an Appalachian boy doesn’t see the value of reading in the same way his sister does until a woman on horseback delivers books to their remote mountain home in all kinds of weather.

Hollyer, Belinda (Sel.). She’s All That!: Poems About Girls. Illus. by Susan Hellard. Kingfisher, 2006. Gr. 3-7
This anthology of 80-plus poems by well-known poets and children's book authors contains a variety of topics and issues that appeal to girls.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Stagecoach Sal. Illus. by Carson Ellis. Hyperion, 2009. Gr. K-3
When spunky Sal finally gets her opportunity to make a mail run alone on her father's stagecoach, she meets up with Poetic Pete, a slippery-tongued robber, and must use all of her cunning to outsmart him. Interspersed with period songs, this tale begs to be read aloud.

Karr, Kathleen. Mama Went to Jail for the Vote. Illus. by Malene Laugesen. Hyperion, 2005. Gr. 2-4
Narrator Susan accompanies her suffragist mother to rallies and to picket the White House. When her mother is arrested, Susan takes up her cause, calling for her release from jail and eventually attracting the attention of President Wilson. Historical background included in end note.

Lewis, J. Patrick. Vherses: A Celebration of Outstanding Women. Illus. by Mark Summers. Creative Editions, 2005. Gr. 4-7
This collection of poems celebrates the accomplishments of 14 women from a wide range of fields, most of whom will be known to students. Lovely illustrations. Useful introduction to the women.

Morrison, Lillian (Comp.) More Spice than Sugar: Poems about Feisty Females. Illus. by Ann Boyajian. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. Gr. 4-8
Whether the poems in this collection are about fictional women or real people, they are inspiring and accessible. End notes provide details about people mentioned in the poems.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. A Maze Me: Poems for Girls. Illus. by Terre Maher. HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 5-10
This inspiring collection connects to girls in thoughtful ways through observations of school, nature, and home. In the introduction, Nye encourages readers to write three lines about what they notice in a notebook every day and make the connections.

Paul, Ann Whitford. All By Herself. Illus. by Michael Steirnagle. Harcourt, 1999. Gr. 4-6
In a variety of poetic styles, 14 girls/women, some better known than others, are remembered for acts of daring and heroism. Concluding notes provide needed historical detail. A good resource for sending readers to additional information about the featured subjects.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride. Illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 1999. Gr. 2-4
Inspired by a true incident, this slice of life has Amelia Earhart taking Eleanor Roosevelt for a plane ride over Washington, D.C. after the two have dinner. Extraordinary black and white illustrations highlight this tale of two extraordinary women.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Show Way. Illus. by Hudson Talbott. Putnam, 2005. Gr. 3-6
Based on the author’s own history, the story tells of eight generations of women, from slavery times to the Civil Rights Movement to modern day (the author herself and her daughter). What connects them is the quilt-making tradition of Show Ways, quilts that contain secret meanings. Exquisite multimedia art that utilizes watercolors, chalk, and cloth complements the lyrical text. A book not to be missed!

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