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The best feminist children's books for Women's History Month 2019

These bold stories inspire girls of all ages to be all they can be.
/ Source: TODAY

Remember when books aimed at girls were covered in pink and glitter? Today, all those princesses seem to be surrounded by small, raised fists.

Now, children can celebrate feminism inspired by the many books — like “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” and “She Persisted” — that celebrate the achievements of real women.

Fictional picture book heroines explore science, math and political activism. Even board book babies are feminists now.

So in honor of Women's History Month, here are 26 girl-power books to inspire the boys and girls in your life:

  • 1. "Turning Pages: My Life Story," by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Lulu Delacre, $12 (usually $18), Amazon

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's picture book autobiography is an ode to the power of books, and a book with its own power to inspire new readers.

  • 2. "Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face," by Larissa Theule and Kelsey Garrity-Riley, $18, Amazon

In the 1890s, women were warned that if they tried to ride bikes, they might get "bicycle face," with bulging eyes and a clenched jaw. "Born to Ride" tells the story of one girl determined to hop on two wheels anyway.

  • 3. “Mary Wears What She Wants,” by Keith Negley, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

Mary Edwards Walker, the suffragist who became a doctor and was given a Medal of Honor in the Civil War, didn't want to wear dresses. Her determination in the face of criticism helped change everything.

  • 4. “Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge,” by Rachel Dougherty, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

Emily Roebling learned alongside her husband as he engineered the Brooklyn Bridge. When he fell ill, all her knowledge helped her complete the job.

  • 5. “Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World” by Susan Hood and 13 illustrators, $15, Amazon

Illustrated by 13 different female artists, this compilation of poems about earth-changing women features well-known figures like Nellie Bly and Frida Kahlo alongside the first female firefighter, the inventor of the modern swimsuit and more.

  • 6. "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2" by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, $35, Amazon

“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2,” a follow-up to the original New York Times best-seller, features 100 stories about extraordinary women, including well known women and lesser known scientists, artists and revolutionaries.

  • 7. "Princesses Save the World," by Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim, $15, Amazon

Savannah Guthrie and Alison Oppenheim followed their hit "Princesses Wear Pants" with a story that celebrates friendship. "They are confronted with a problem that needs a fix and they work together to solve it," Savannah said. "I really like that message of girl power, girls really cooperating not competing."

  • 8. “Malala’s Magic Pencil” by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet, $16, Amazon

Malala tells her story of seeing a world that needed to change, and wishing for a magic pencil to change it. When education is taken from girls, and tragedy finds her, she discovers a different kind of magic.

  • 9. “Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova,” by Laurel Snyder and Julie Morstad, $15 (usually $18), Amazon

This lyrical biography of the most famous prima ballerina of all time will inspire young dancers with grace and grit.

  • 10. “Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten,” by Laura Veirs and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, $11 (usually $18), Amazon

This moving biography tells the story of Elizabeth Cotten, who learned to play guitar backwards, and at age 11 wrote one of the most famous folk songs of the 20th century.

  • 11. “She Persisted” boxed set by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

This follow-up to the best-seller “She Persisted” introduces young readers to more women who changed the world, including Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai.

  • 12. “Charlotte the Scientist Finds a Cure” by Camille Andros, illustrated by Brianne Farley, $9, Amazon

This sequel to "Charlotte the Scientist is Squished" finds Charlotte surrounded by sick animals in the forest. She uses the scientific method to formulate some hypotheses, test them and find a cure.

  • 13. “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts, $16 (usually $18), Amazon

Like her predecessor “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” Ada Twist is born for STEM. In this rhyming romp, she sets out to find out what smells so bad, with a series of elaborate experiments.

  • 14. "I Am Enough" by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, $14 (usually $19), Amazon

This lyrical ode to self-love tells girls to rise like air, grow like trees and soar like birds. Though we are all different, we are all enough.

  • 15. “A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon,” by Suzanne Slade and Veronica Miller Jamison, $13 (usually $19), Amazon

Based on the true story of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, this book will encourage young girls to prove the naysayers wrong and reach for the moon.

  • 16. “Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller,” by Doreen Rappaport and Linda Kukuk, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

The inspiring story of the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

  • 17. “Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World” by Vashti Harrison, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

Forty women are highlighted in this follow-up to "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History," including Frida Kahlo and Marie Curie. Each is illustrated in a pose of sweet serenity.

  • 18. "Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker," by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo, ($14 usually 18), Amazon

Alice Guy-Blache was one of the first filmmakers, though her work is often overlooked.

  • 19. “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley, $13 (usually $19), Amazon

This illustrated story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes her from childhood to the Supreme Court, emphasizing all the ways she stood up for herself and others along the way.

  • 20. "Mera: Tidebreaker," by Danielle Paige, illustrated by Stephen Byrne, $12, (usually $17), Amazon

The first in a series of graphic novels from DC Entertainment envisions Aquaman’s girlfriend as a rebel princess bent on overthrowing repression.

  • 21. “The Moon Within,” by Aida Salazar, $16 (usually $18), Amazon

Aida Salazar's novel in verse about a girl's changing body is a worthy successor to "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret."

  • 22. "Shout," by Laurie Halse Anderson, $12 (usually $18), Amazon

Twenty years after "Speak," her groundbreaking semi-autobiographical novel about rape, Laurie Halse Anderson is back with this novel-in-verse that's perfect for the #MeToo era.

  • 23. “We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World,” by Malala Yousafzai, $13 (usually $19), Amazon

Nobel Peace Prize winner Yousafzai follows up her books for younger readers with a young adult recounting of a few of the stories of millions of people displaced worldwide.

  • 24. “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women,” by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, $12 (usually $18), Amazon

This collection of biographies features the inventors of a paper bag folding machine and a solar-powered lantern for refugees, among others.

  • 25. “History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You to Know,” by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams, $13 (usually $20), Amazon

These profiles of lesser-known women in history spans from the third century to the 20th, telling stories of rebels, creators and scholars who shook things up.

  • 26. "Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women" by Aitziber Lopez and Luciano Lozano, $12, Amazon

This book features the stories behind 15 of the twentieth century's key inventions by trailblazing women, each of whom made a unique contribution to the history of science and technology.

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