Looking for biographies to read as you study women’s history in your homeschool? Here’s our list of children’s books about women who changed the world.
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This huge list of of children’s books celebrates women who come from all over the world and from different points on the timeline.
Despite those differences, they all have one important thing that connects them: they’ve made this world a better place.
Children’s Books About Women Who Changed the World
1. Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World – This beautiful book opens with instructions to take inspiration from fifty amazing women and girls and follow in their steps to shake things up.
Some of the women highlighted include Elizabeth I, Sacagawea, Emily Bronte, Maria Montessori, and Emmeline Pankhurst among a nice mix of household names and lesser-known world changers.
2. 100 Women Who Changed the World – This book overviews 100 women who’ve impacted the world by sharing interesting facts and fun illustrations about each women. Worth noting, this one is particularly good for kids who enjoy strong visuals and prefer to digest what they’re learning in smaller chunks rather than detailed narratives.
3. Women Who Dared – Looking for a book that explores brave women who defied societal expectations to change the world? Women Who Dared can help!
Worth noting, some of the women covered didn’t get it right in every area of their lives. If you’re not comfortable covering them with your kiddos, simply omit those few pages.
4. Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God – This inspiring book features women of faith like Mahalia Jackson, Amy Carmichael, Christine Caine, and Madeleine L’Engle who have used their gifts to share the Gospel and serve others.
5. Shaking Things Up stands out among the others because of the playful illustrations and inspiring poetry used to tell the stories of the women celebrated in its pages.
6. Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World – This one from Vashti Harrison celebrates women in every discipline and the way they have changed the world through dreaming big and then following those dreams. Worth noting, it includes household names, but also a nice selection of lesser-known women who have impacted the world for good.
Children’s Books About Women in STEM
7. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World – This collection of short biographies is a great one to have on hand if you want to focus on those who made contributions to world of STEM. An added bonus, the illustrations and layout in this one make it a joy to read.
8. Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom – This picture book biography tells the story of Wu Chien Shiung and her accomplishments in nuclear physics. Worth noting, a short biographical overview, glossary, and additional reading suggestions are included at the end of the book.
9. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures – This fun book from the Amazing Scientists series celebrates the incredible accomplishments of Dr. Temple Grandin, an inventor and spokesperson on autism.
10. Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science – There are several great picture books about the world’s first computer programmer, but my daughter and I especially enjoyed Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science. Ada’s story is interesting and inspiring on its own, but the fun and colorful illustrations make this book an unforgettable one.
11. 101 Black Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – This collection celebrates 101 brilliant and inspiring women who have greatly impacted STEM fields despite the racial barriers they faced.
12. How Emily Saved the Bridge – I love how this one tells the story of Emily Roebling and her contributions to one of New York’s most famous landmarks, the Brooklyn Bridge.
13. The Girl With a Mind for Math – This picture book about American naval engineer Raye Montague is extra awesome because of the timeline, biography, and chat with Raye Montague all featured at the end of the book.
14. Marvelous Mattie – If you’ve ever used a paper bag from a grocery store, you’ve been impacted by Margaret E. Knight and her inventions. You can read her story in Emily Arnold McCully’s Marvelous Mattie.
15. Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life – This one tells the story of actress Hedy Lamarr and the role she played in developing technology used by the United States Navy.
16. Hidden Figures – Based on the 2016 motion picture with the same name, Hidden Figures spotlights Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, four brilliant women who worked behind the scenes to make space travel happen.
In addition to the challenges they faced and overcame, this book includes detailed bios and a timeline weaving their contributions into the overall picture of modern space science.
17. Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer – Learn about Henrietta Leavitt and her discoveries regarding stars and their patterns through this picture book by Robert Burleigh.
18. Galaxy Girls – This collection showcases 50 women who impacted space science. In addition to the 50 featured women, it includes fun interactive pages that encourage readers to think of their own space travel.
19. Marie Curie’s Search for Radium – There are several good reading options for learning about Marie Curie, but this one does a good job mixing the facts with the excitement surround her radium discovery and her role in nuclear physics.
Books About Women in Natural History & Zoology
20. The Girl Who Drew Butterflies – If you’re learning about butterflies and caterpillars, you’ve got to include Maria Merian in your study time. This book is a comprehensive introduction to Maria, her life, and her history-making discoveries.
If you can’t find this one, look for Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer or Summer Birds. Both are about Maria Merian and are great picture book options of her story.
21. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World – This illustrated biography about Rachel Carson explores her childhood and how her environmental work changed our understanding of how humans impact the planet.
You can also look for Spring After Spring and Who Was Rachel Carson? if you’d like to read more about her with your kiddos.
22. The Tree Lady – Part biography, part inspirational story, The Tree Lady tells the story of trailblazer Kate Sessions and how she led the movement to shift San Diego from a desert town to the green garden city it’s known as today.
23. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor – While most girls were drinking tea and playing with dolls, Joan Proctor studied lizards and snakes in her bedroom. This book tells her story and celebrates her work with the first two Komodo dragons in Europe.
24. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps – Jeanette Winter’s picture book about Jane Goodall introduces us to Jane as an observant child and follows her as she makes her way to the African forests to live among the chimpanzees there.
25. Shark Lady – This fun picture book shares the true story of marine biologist Eugenie Clark and her work with sharks.
26. Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea – This picture book tells Marie Tharp’s story of being fascinated by maps at early age and how she used that interest to map the ocean floor as an adult and inform our understanding of plate tectonics in the process.
27. Wangari’s Trees of Peace – I love this story a little more each time I read it with my kids. It’s the true story of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai and how she impacted her tree-stripped Kenyan village.
If you can’t find this one, look for Mama Miti or Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees. Both are excellent picture books that tell her story.
28. Out of School and Into Nature – Is The Handbook of Nature Study a go-to resource in your homeschool? If so, you’ll want to read this lovely picture book about Anna Comstock, a pioneer in nature study and the author of that remarkable resource.
Children’s Books About Women in History
29. The Book of Queens – National Geographic’s Book of Queens features short biographies on women leaders across the timeline and globe.
30. Joan of Arc – Diane Stanley’s picture book biography is a great starting point for learning about Joan of Arc and the role she played in France gaining independence from England during the Hundred Years War.
31. Good Queen Bess – Similar to Joan of Arc, Diane Stanley’s Good Queen Bess is a fantastic picture book biography about Queen Elizabeth I.
32. Phoebe the Spy – This one shares the true story of Phoebe Fraunces, the daughter of a free black man who goes undercover as a housekeeper in the Washington home in efforts to stop a would-be assassin and save the president.
33. Leave It to Abigail is a nice picture book option for learning about Abigail Adams. It shares her role in the American Revolution, but also how she used her voice to “remember the ladies” in a time when it wasn’t too common.
34. Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton is my favorite picture book about the life and legacy of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton. This one does a fantastic job sharing her story, but also includes lovely illustrations, historical explanations, and recommended resources for further learning.
35. Phillis’s Big Test – Poet Phillis Wheatley should have never had to prove her authorship simply because of her status as an enslaved woman in colonial Massachusetts, but she did. This picture book tells her story beautifully and celebrates all she achieved.
36. Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers – I love this book and how it tells of Grace Bedell, a young girl who influenced Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign in a rather surprising way.
37. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom – This inspiring picture book celebrates the life and legacy of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Can’t find Moses? Who Was Harriet Tubman?, Before She Was Harriet, and A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman are also great choices for learning about her life.
38. My Name is Truth – This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of former slave Isabella Baumfree and the legacy she left behind as preacher and abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
39. Clara and Davie – There are lots of picture books about Clara Barton, but if you’re only going to choose one, this one from Patricia Polocco is a wonderful one to read.
Books About Women in Modern History
40. Suffragette: The Battle for Equality is one of the most comprehensive children’s books about women’s suffrage I’ve come across. At 128 pages, it covers the movement year by year, notable figures in the movement, and even spotlights suffrage leaders in other countries.
41. Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote – Written by United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Bold and Brave is an inspiring way to learn about the women’s suffrage movement. It features a short overview on 10 heroic women who paved the way for voting rights, incredible illustrations, and American history highlights featuring women and women’s rights.
42. Elizabeth Leads the Way is a lovely introduction to suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Not only did my daughter and I enjoy the presentation of her story and her motivations in this picture book, we couldn’t get enough of the illustrations.
43. Eleanor – I had no clue this Barbara Cooney picture book was about First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt until we read it, but it was a wonderful surprise. Though it focuses on her formative years, it’s a lovely biography that tells her story and celebrates her strength and compassion.
44. Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children – Learn about activist Mary Jones and how she used her voice to advocate for children and their rights in this fiery picture book.
45. Brave Girl – Speaking of activists, this picture book about Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl, tells the story of how she led the largest strike of women workers in history and greatly impacted the garment industry through her leadership.
46. The Only Woman in the Photo – Did you know Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet or that she was the driving force behind FDR’s New Deal? This book celebrates her incredible firsts and explores how she changed the world through her political work.
47. Separate Is Never Equal – This book does a wonderful job introducing Sylvia Mendez and spotlighting her role in the Mendez v. Westminster desegregation case and how it paved the way for the American Civil Rights Movement.
48. Rosa – Growing up in Alabama, Rosa Parks is one of the first people that comes to mind when I think of women who have changed the world. Through a seemingly small act of defiance — refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus after a long day — she sent a big message and greatly influenced the fight for racial justice. This book shares her story.
49. The Youngest Marcher – Looking for a book that reminds kids they’re never too young to help make this world a better place? This picture book about 9 year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks and her arrest in a 1963 civil rights protest will provide the inspiration you need.
50. Coretta Scott – Both alongside her husband Martin Luther King, Jr. and years after his murder, Coretta Scott fought for civil rights and truly changed the world by promoting his message for equality. This picture book biography beautifully tells her story and celebrates her work.
Worth noting, Who Was Coretta Scott King? is another good option for digging into her incredible story.
51. No Truth Without Ruth – This picture book is a good starting point for learning about Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her fight for equality as a lawyer and her role as Supreme Court Justice.
Want some other options for learning about Ruth Bader Ginsberg with your kiddos? Who Was Ruth Bader Ginsberg?, Ruth Bader Ginsberg (I Dissent), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality.
52. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead – This picture book tells the story of Hillary Clinton and celebrates her historic presidential nomination in 2016.
Children’s Books About Women in the Arts
53. For the Love of Music – Did you know there were two musical prodigies in the Mozart family? For the Love of Music introduces readers to Nannerl Mozart and sheds light on her relationship with her world-famous brother.
54. Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa – There’s no better way to jump into the world of jazz than with a book that celebrates the Queen of Jazz herself, Ella Fitzgerald. 🙂
Worth noting, Ella, Queen of Jazz is another great picture book option for learning about Ella Fitzgerald and her impact on the music world.
55. When Marian Sang – Marian Anderson’s historic 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial is the focus of this powerful picture book.
56. Queen of Tejano Music: Selena – This one explores the musical and cultural impact Selena made during her short life. In particular, it celebrates how she introduced many mainstream listeners to Latina music.
Books About Women Artists
57. Through Georgia’s Eyes – This picture book about the Mother of American Modernism focuses on seeing the world through her eyes to understand her life experiences and creative process.
58. Art from Her Heart is a beautifully touching celebration of folk artist Clementine Hunter and her thought-provoking work.
59. A Life Made by Hand – This beautiful book is a great way to introduce your children to Japanese-American sculptor Ruth Asawa. Also worth noting, it includes a detailed biography and project idea.
Related: you can find more books like these in our book list about women artists.
60. Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World – This book from Laurence Anholt’s artists series is a lovely introduction to Frida Kahlo and her art.
Want more reading suggestions about Frida Kahlo? See our list of Frida Kahlo books for kids. 🙂
61. Dancing Through Fields of Color – Get to know abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler in this picture book biography. Not only is it inspirational, it’s also loaded with gorgeous watercolor illustrations and even includes instructions for a fun art project at the end.
62. The Bluest of Blues – This picture book is such a cool way to learn about cyanotype photography (blueprints) and why Anna Atkins is often considered the first female photographer. This is also a great excuse to add some art fun to your learning by making sun prints!
63. Suzette and the Puppy – This picture book by Joan Sweeney is one of my favorite books about Mary Cassatt. It tells the story of how Cassatt’s Little Girl in the Blue Armchair came to be and includes discussion prompts
64. Mary Blair’s Unique Flair – Mary Blair may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of artists, but we experience her imagination and talent each time we ride It’s a Small World or watch a Disney film like Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella. This book tells her story and celebrates her legacy.
Books About Women Who Changed the World Through Words
65. Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen – This one is a lovely picture book biography if you want to explore the life and literary impact of Jane Austen, one of my favorite women authors. And it’s extra awesome because it features charming illustrations, a timeline, and popular quotes from Austen’s novels.
66. She Made a Monster – I love this fun picture book about Mary Shelley and her most famous novel, which is considered to be the world’s first sci-fi novel. It includes an author’s note with quite a bit of biographical information and boasts lovely illustrations.
67. Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark – There are lots of reading options for learning about author and activist Hellen Keller, but this is one of our favorites.
68. Rise! – Although it’s a picture book, Rise! is a wonderful way for older kids to learn about Maya Angelou’s early years in Arkansas, her work as an activist, and her prolific poetic and literary offerings.
69. A Picture Book of Anne Frank – Got a kiddo who isn’t quite ready to dive into The Diary of a Young Girl? This one is a nice option for learning about Anne Frank and the way she changed the world in her tragically short life.
70. Malala’s Magic Pencil – My daughter and I loved this picture book about Malala Yousafzai and how she used her words to speak up and make an incredible difference for those around her. Worth noting, her story itself isn’t an easy one to read even for adults, but this picture book handles it with great care and shares it in a kid-friendly way.
More Children’s Books About Women World Changers
This last section is a hodgepodge of children’s books about women world changers from different times, locations, and areas of impact. They’ve all made this world better, but don’t fit nicely into our other sections.
71. Julia, Child – Julia Child changed the world in a couple of ways. In particular, she not only made incredible cooking accessible to the general public, but she specifically made French cuisine approachable for the at-home chef. This sweet book tells her story.
72. Amelia Earhart – There are lots of good reading options for learning about the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Here are a few to check into:
- Amelia Earhart: Young Aviator (chapter book)
- Daring Amelia (leveled reader)
- I am Amelia Earhart (picture book)
- A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart (picture book)
- Who Was Amelia Earhart? (chapter book)
74. Oprah: The Little Speaker – Other than powerhouse, I can’t think of a single word that accurately describes Oprah Winfrey. She’s impacted the world through journalism, writing, acting, TV hosting, production, and more. This book shares her story.
75. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? – This colorful picture book about Elizabeth Blackwell tells of her journey to become the first woman to be issued a medical degree and how her determination paved the way for women in medicine across the world.
76. Here Come the Girl Scouts! – Unlike most girls of her time, Juliette Gordon Low loved adventuring in the outdoors and specifically wanted to make a difference in the world. This picture book explains just how she did that and celebrates the legacy she left behind through the Girl Scouts.
Do you know of some children’s books about women world changers that we missed? If so, share them with us in the comments so we can check into them. 🙂