Children’s Books with Strong Female Leads

Written by Aimee Lacasse, Children’s Specialist

We’ve already suggested adult and young adult reads to celebrate Women’s History Month. Of course, we can’t forget about the kids!

For children 8 and under:

Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt – Maddi and Sofia are best friends. They live in the same neighborhood and go to the same school, but while Sofia’s home is full of nutritious food, Maddi’s fridge is empty. Maddi makes Sofia promise to keep her empty fridge secret, but Sofia worries that she’d do Maddi and her little brother more harm than good if she doesn’t tell her mother about their bad situation.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller – Alta can’t wait for the big parade. She’s finally going to see Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. Even though her old tennis shoes are full of holes, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. But what will happen when a new girl with shiny shoes challenges Alta to a race? Will Alta still be the quickest kid in Clarksville?

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale – Who says princesses can’t trade in their pink frilly dresses for a black superhero suit? Only Princess Magnolia can save her goats from the big blue monster in this step-up chapter book.

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon – Dory’s older siblings think she’s too young and annoying to play with them, but Dory doesn’t mind. She’s got a wild imaginary world of her very own!

For children 8+:

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin – Twelve-year-old Suzy is determined to prove that a rare jellyfish was responsible for her friend’s death, even if she has to go half way around the world to do so. Suzy’s story is one of perseverance, hard lessons, and an appreciation for scientific research.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper – When a burning cross set by the Ku Klux Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must find the strength to demand change in her segregated town. This novel is characterized not only by its poignant take on a dark era of American history, but also by its rich, musical prose.

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schlatz – This nonfiction work profiles twenty-six American women from the 18th through 21st centuries. One woman represents each letter of the alphabet, beginning with the activist Angela Davis and concluding with the author Zora Neale Hurston. The women come from a variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds and many are not often featured in similar women’s history books targeted to children.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage – Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, eleven-year-old Mo LoBeau hopes to one day find her “up-stream mother.” Nonetheless, Mo has found a happy home with an amnesiac man called “the Colonel” and his business partner, Miss Lana. But everything could change for Mo when she finds out that the Colonel seems to be implicated in a murder. In order to save the only family Mo’s ever known, Mo and Dale must become private investigators.

For more great books about strong girls and women for children from preschool through grade 6, consult JMRL’s Goodreads shelves: for grades K-3, for grades 4-6.


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