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Friday, March 10, 2017

Ten Powerful Picture Book Girls

Women's History Month is a great time to study the accomplishments of women throughout history. Women have invented, dreamed, built, and explored, just like men, since the beginning of time, though their accomplishments may be less known. (After all, for every 1.03 men born, 1 woman is brought into this world. By the time we pass the age of 65, there are only .805 men for every woman on this earth. Women do have a longer life expectancy!¹) Covering up women and their achievements doesn't only occur in history books, but in other books as well. Until quite recently, boys nearly always took center stage when it came to literary entertainment. Now, more and more girls have begun to take their rightful place on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and homes. We've dug through picture books from the past several years and picked our favorites that feature girls as main characters. These girls are powerful and strong, inventive and inquisitive, proud and compassionate, but above all, they refuse to take "No" for an answer just because they're girls.

Tía Isa Wants a Car
Meg Medina and Claudio Muñoz (illustrations)
Based on a true story from Meg Medina's childhood, a young girl helps her aunt save for a car so that they can visit the beach and still save enough to help their family come to America.

Interstellar Cinderella
Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt (illustrations)
Cinderella doesn't need saving in this charming adaptation. This girl mechanic rescues the prince. (And no, they don't get married.)

Ada Twist, Scientist
Andrea Beaty and David Roberts (illustrations)
Little Ada is inquisitive and she wants to know everything. What will this budding scientist discover next?!

Suki's Kimono
Chieri Uegaki and Stéphane Jorisch (illustrations)
No matter what anyone says or thinks, Suki wants everyone to see her favorite thing in the world: the kimono her grandmother gave her. When she brings it to school for show and tell, she wins over her whole class and spreads the joy and fun of her Japanese heritage.

Mango, Abuela, and Me
Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez (illustrations)
When Mia's grandmother moves in with her family, a language difference proves to be a big barrier to communication. Mia saves the day by coming up with creative ways to interact with her grandma.

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
Jeanette Winter 
Nasreen's grandmother enrolls her in a secret school for girls when her parents are taken by the ruling Taliban party in Afghanistan. Surrounded by other girls learning math, history, and reading, Nasreen blossoms in this beautiful story about the power of friendship and women.

Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
Edwidge Danticat and Leslie Staub (illustrations)
When Saya's mother is sent to an immigration detention facility, she and her daughter share messages and stories via cassette. Saya's father tries to free her mother, but it is Saya herself who saves the day.

New Shoes
Susan Lynn Meyer and Eric Velasquez (illustrations)
Two enterprising young girls won't be stopped by Jim Crow laws. They find a creative way to fix their problem and help fill a need in their community.

This is Sadie
Sara O'Leary and Julie Morstad (illustrations)
Sadie has been a mermaid, a sailor, and a fairy tale hero. She fashions her own playscapes, using couch cushions, blankets, and even hammer, nails, and wood. This is a hearty salute to the power of a girl's imagination.

Zephyr Takes Flight
Steve Light
Zephyr loves planes; she's going to be a real pilot some day! For now, she flies around the world, taking off from her very own room.

Look for more book lists about women in the next few weeks as we celebrate Women's History Month. Until next time, happy reading!

¹CIA World Factbook

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