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There has been a glorious influx of picture books celebrating women and featuring strong female characters of late.
A study of 5,000 children’s books found that 25% had no female characters. Less than a fifth featured females with a job.
Gender disparity is alive and well in picture books. (Read more about it here.)
As a mother to 2 daughters and a son, I want to have bookshelves overflowing with books that celebrate females and picture books filled with independent, strong female characters.
Here are our 9 favourite picture books celebrating women.
Three Cheers for Women! By Marcia Williams
The stories of over 70 determined and amazing women are told in comic-strip style.
Each woman is given a double page spread and facts about each woman pepper the borders.
Learn about historical figures like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Marie Curie.
Feminists. Athletes. Astronauts.
This book is packed with quotes, jokes and facts.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Do you know a STEM-loving little person? This is the book for them.
Featuring 50 profiles of female scientists from the ancient to modern world, coupled with these insanely rad portraits, this is a fabulous celebration of some fierce females.
If you have a sports-mad little person in your life, the second book in this series, Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win is for them!
Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos and Grace Lee
This books features portraits by Grace Lee of 21 fierce females, spanning different generations and cultures.
Malala. Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Frida. Shami.
I find myself flipping through my own copy regularly just to remind myself of all the strong women who have gone before me and walk alongside me.
Shout Out to the Girls
This book features an incredible array of Aussie women who have stood up, stood out, been seen and taken up their rightful space. From Sia to Cate Blanchett to Julia Gillard to Stella Young.
Women from all walks of life.
This is a powerful and inspirational manifesto for any young woman’s bookshelf.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
The brains behind this book launched a crowdfunding campaign to see it published.
It has since become the most highly funded original book in the history of crowdfunding.
Over 100 stories about some of the most inspiring females across all fields are paired with portraits from a variety of illustrators.
There is space at the end of the book for young rebels to write their own story and draw their own portrait.
Check out the video in this article for the inspiration behind the book’s development.
I adore the following books because they feature strong female protagonists.
Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Colour by Julia Denos
“In a place where colours ran wild, lived a girl who was wilder still.”
Swatch is a colour tamer who cavorts across the pages, collecting and trapping colours in jars. Rumble-Tumble Pink. In-Between Gray. Bravest Green.
Yellowest Yellow, the King of all Yellows, refuses to be captured and reminds Swatch that colors are wild and untamable.
This is a book perfect for free spirits everywhere.
Sunday Chutney by Aaron Blabey
Sunday Chutney is one of my Girl Lit Heroes.
Self-proclaimed as unusual, her dad’s job sees her move frequently so she is always the New Girl.
Sunday owns and flaunts her quirkiness like nobody’s business.
She enjoys crumpets, drum solos and marine biology.
Sunday doesn’t like creamed corn or sand in her swimmers.
But doesn’t she get lonely? She responds to this question in the most Sunday Chutney of ways.
An excellent tale about embracing what makes you, you.
I once wrote the author a fan letter. Yep.
Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! By Lisa Shanahan and Binny
Ruby Lee is a sassy young lady with the BEST imagination.
She desperately wants to be the class messenger.
However Mrs Majestic-Jones always gives the role to Siena and Viena. Until one Monday when they are absent.
Ruby Lee gets her chance to step up into the role.
However it is a difficult responsibility to undertake when you have a vivid imagination.
How are you meant to run messages when you also have to contend with the Spockled Frocklewockle/ Squinker/ Shlurgle?
One of my favourite picture books from 2017.
The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
Erin Pike is the daughter of a fisherwoman. 2 fierce females in one book- how excellent is that?!
The people of Erin’s fishing village tell fearful tales about Black Rock.
Every day, Erin tries to hide on her mum’s boat in an effort to get out to see Black Rock.
One day, she is successful and learns something very important about Black Rock that must be shared with her fellow villagers.
This book has a subtle environmental message about caring for all living things. The reader is shown, in a non-didactic way, that the actions and convictions of one person can change the world.
I also adore that the illustrations remind me of a Wes Anderson film.
If you’re after more fabulous female picture book characters, check out this post I wrote over on Hello Wonderful.
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Some of the books in this post were provided free for review purposes. I always post my honest opinions and never post books that I do not rate.