First Book’s Empowering Women Book List

Countless women have fought to make the world a better place in a push for equality for all people – encouraging generations of young people to build upon the contributions of those that have held the door open for them.

Here are a few of our favorite inspiring true stories that model grit, innovation, courage, and compassion. Share them with all of your students today!

Awesome Books About Awesome Women (listed in alphabetical order by author):

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

(Recommended ages 13 – 18)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, Pénélope Bagieu

(Recommended ages 13 – 18)

With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

Malala: A Hero for All (Step Into Reading, Level 4), by Shana Corey

(Recommended ages 7 – 9)

This Step 4 Biography Reader shares the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, by Anika Aldamy Denise and Paola Escobar

(Recommended ages 4 – 9)

An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature. Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.

Born Curious: 20 Girls Who Grew Up to Be Awesome Scientists, by Martha Freeman and Katy Wu

(Recommended ages 7 – 12)

Discover the histories of twenty incredible female scientists in this inspiring biography collection. These groundbreaking women came from all kinds of backgrounds and had all kinds of life experiences, but they all had one thing in common: they were born curious.

Dream Big, Little One, by Vashti Harrison

(Recommended ages 0 – 3)

It’s never too early to learn about real-life heroes! Featuring 18 trailblazing black women in American history, Dream Big, Little One is the irresistible board book adaptation of the bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.

If you’re an educator serving children in need, visit the First Book Marketplace to find more quality books, and leave your own review!