March 8th is International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day. It’s a global day to recognize and celebrate women’s and girls’ social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It’s also a time to raise awareness of the progress made towards achieving gender equality and the work remaining to be done. This year’s theme is Women Inspiring Women. Here are some picture books that I find very inspiring. 

First, some non-fiction titles. When I was growing up, the only biographies of women were wives of famous men. My, how times have changed. Women have made huge contributions to the world! 

The Girl Who Thought In Pictures: the Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca. Describes the life and accomplishments of the animal scientist and designer of cruelty-free livestock facilities, from her early life and autism diagnosis through her journey to become a livestock expert.

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton Johnson.  A biography of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a female scientist who made a stand in the face of opposition to women's rights and her own Greenbelt Movement, an effort to restore Kenya's ecosystem by planting millions of trees.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating. At 9 years old, Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. At the time, sharks were seen as mindless killing machines, but Eugenie knew better and set out to prove it. This is her story of becoming a shark scientist, even when people told her she couldn’t.

June Almeida, Virus Detective!: The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus by Suzanne Slade. When June was 34 years old, she discovered the first human coronavirus. Her groundbreaking work continues to help researchers today in the fight against illnesses caused by viruses, including COVID-19.

Becoming A Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. School is not the only place to find a teacher. In this picture book adaptation of Sy Montgomery and Rebecca Green's "How to Be a Good Creature," learn the many surprising lessons animals have to teach us about friendship, compassion, and how to be a better creature in the world

Another trend in picture books that I love are the fictionalized books based on strong females from history Here are just a few. 

Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem by Lauren Soloy.  Etty Darwin and her famous father go for a walk to ponder life, science . . . and fairies! Inspired by the real-life daughter of Charles Darwin. Shows that girls can be thinkers, just as well as their famous father scientists. 

The Ocean Calls: a Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina M. Cho. Haenyeo are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju, whose livelihood consists of harvesting a variety of mollusks, seaweed, and other sea life from the ocean. They are known for their independent spirit, iron will, and determination. This is a picture book based on that tradition. 

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom. When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource. Inspired by the many indigenous-led movements across North America, this picture book shows that girls can be leaders. 

For more strong girls and amazing women, head to this booklist. 

-Angela J. Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator 

 Find more picture book recommendations on Instagram @picturebookpile_angela

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