March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global event celebrating women’s social, cultural, political, and economic achievements. What started as a call-to-action for women’s equality across labor movements has now evolved into a universal mission to forge women’s rights. As we honor this special day, let’s curl up with some diverse, powerful, and inspiring books written by amazing women.
Early Childhood (Ages 4-11)
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
A lovely bedroom story for young children, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark showcases the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg through the lens of her famous dissents, or disagreements, fighting for equality for everyone everywhere. She shows that disagreeing doesn’t make you disagreeable.
Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
In the follow-up to her beloved debut, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Harrison introduces readers to trailblazing women such as writers, inventors, artists, and scientists, who have all changed the world in amazing ways.
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
Malala’s first picture book follows her life as a child in Pakistan and her wish for a magic pencil. This pencil would magically make everyone around her happy, remove the smell of garbage in the city, and give everyone an extra hour of sleep. As she grows up, Malala eventually sees a world that needs fixing. On that account, she knows there were more important things to wish for. So, she reprioritizes and strives to work hard to make her wishes come true.
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood
A poetic and visual celebration of iconic women throughout history, Susan Hood introduces fourteen revolutionary young women to the next generation of activists and trailblazers. This book is certainly one to inspire young minds.
Teens and Young Adult (Ages 12-18)
I strategically decided to add this book on International Women’s Day rather than last month’s recommendation list because I wanted to pay homage to the incredible work of all four women in this book. This #1 New York Times Bestseller is set from the 1930s through to the 1960s, a time when women were viewed as inferior to men. The biography follows the lives of four African-American women: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Christine Darden. Known as “coloured computers” (when this used to be a job title), these women overcome discrimination and racial segregation to become achievers in a highly challenging STEM-based career.
One True Loves by Elise Bryant
One True Loves follows Leonore Bennett, a star artist and style icon at her high school. She has plans to go to NYU in the fall but has an undeclared major, because she’s not sure about what she wants. Her parents constantly remind her that Black kids don’t have the luxury of not having a plan. Worried about her future, she and her family head out on a post-Mediterranean cruise. There, she meets a boy, Alex Lee, a hopeless romantic who has his life figured out on a 10-year plan. Throughout the story, Leonore is placed under the pressure of Black Excellence, but in a turn of events, finds everything she’s looking for in someone she didn’t realize she needs.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
As the first African American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls around the world. In her memoir, we follow Michelle through the experiences that have shaped her – her childhood in the South Side of Chicago, her career as an executive balancing motherhood and work, and her life in the White House. She highlights her triumphs and is not one to shy away from expressing her disappointments, as they made her stronger and allowed her to defy expectations and inspire us to do the same.
Playing Big by Tara Mohr
Written by a groundbreaking women’s leadership expert and popular conference speaker, Tara Mohr, gives women the practical skills to voice and implement the changes they want to see in themselves and in the world. Through her coaching and programs, she saw how women were “playing small” in their lives and careers, were frustrated by it, and wanted them to “play bigger.” The book offers tools to help every woman play bigger– whether she’s an executive, community volunteer, artist, or stay-at-home mom. This book is a recent addition to my library and is a hard one to put down.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This soulful story follows a woman who learns that a responsible mother is one who shows her children how to live. Through her recent divorce and newly-formed family, she realizes that her family is not dependent on structure but each member’s ability to bring his/her full self to the table. Glennon Doyle encourages every woman to trust in herself enough to set boundaries, make peace with her body, honor anger and heartbreak, and unleash her truest instincts, so she can become someone who can finally look at herself in the mirror and say: “There she is.”
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In a personal, eloquently-argued essay, Adichie, poses and answers the question: “What does ‘feminism’ mean today?” She offers a unique definition of the word for the 21st century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. In doing so, she showcases blatant discrimination as well as the institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world. Additionally, she touches upon her experiences in the U.S., her native country Nigeria, and around the world, offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why gender divide is harmful for women and men alike.
I hope you enjoy these recommendations. This is not an extensive list, as there are many more that could
be added but space wouldn’t allow me too. International Women’s Day and Month is a time to recognize not only powerful women who have made a difference in the world, but also celebrate the women in your life who constantly bring their full selves to the table every single day.