An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Role Models: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about role models?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to role models. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about role models.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about role models, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Paper Bag Princess to popular sellers like A Wrinkle in Time to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Secret Garden.

We hope this list of kids books about role models can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Share this list
Add to list
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Written by Elena Favilli & illustrated by Francesca Cavallo
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It is a bit more expensive than others, but in my opinion, it's completely worth it to have in my library. I think everyone should read this book and learn about the amazing women who have stood up for their rights and changed the world! With each women highlighted, there's a stunning illustration of the woman along with a short story about her, who she is/was, and what she accomplished. This book is so inspiring and I learned about so many women I hadn't heard of before that have been so influential. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this book, it is one of my absolute favorites.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
A children's book that reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 great women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.
Add to list
The Secret Garden
Thoughts from The Goodfather
The Secret Garden is one of my favorite stories from my childhood. I love Mary's self discovery and her help to Colin and ultimately Mr. Craven along the way. I love the way she gains color in her cheeks as she experiences the joy of playing and working outside and nurturing a garden and befriending a robin, joys that Martha and Dickon help her discover. I love that she feels the happiness that comes as she moves from a very self-centered character to thinking of others and putting their needs and wellbeing above her own. She also is lovingly forthright and frank with Colin, which helped him develop, too.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
Add to list
This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5
Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training! Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might. Little trailblazers cause great big changes. In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
Add to list
Ada Lovelace
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Zafouko Yamamoto
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
New, in the My First Little People, Big Dreams series: Introduce your littlest one to the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. Told in simple sentences, this young reader edition of the best-selling series is perfect to read out loud to little dreamers. This empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world – and is now in available in a board format for little hands! These books make the lives of these role models accessible for the youngest children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
Add to list
Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom)
Written by L.M. Montgomery
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
Anne of Green Gables is such a fun tale! Her imagination is simply fascinating and so intriguing. It makes me want to learn all kinds of new words and enjoy fancy places. Of course, she creates many of these places through her thoughts and that was so fun to think that if life is ever boring we can make it brighter by thinking it so.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Puffin in Bloom is a charming assortment of classic novels with coming-of-age themes, aimed at the young reader. Bond, a stationary artist with Rifle Paper Co. renowned for her floral patterns, puts her signature touch on the covers in this line, because just as a flower blossoms, a young child comes into her own.
She Persisted Around the World book
Add to list
This Little Explorer book
Add to list
Rosie Revere, Engineer book
Add to list
Amelia Earhart book
Add to list
  • She Persisted Around the World - “Introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe”—Front jacket flap.

  • This Little Explorer - B is for Bookworm -

    I love this book! Definitely one of my favorites, containing little bios for important people in history. This book has great content and facts without making the text too long. Plus, the illustrations are amazing! The only thing that could make this book better for me would be for a few more influential women to be included in the main portion of the book, but I love the women that are included and think they are fantastic role models for girls and boys alike! Plus, there are more explorers in the back to learn about (women and men)! :)

  • Rosie Revere, Engineer - Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck’s class, is available in September 2016.

  • Amelia Earhart - The Book Snob Mom -

    A great board book introduction to an amazing woman who pushed the boundaries. It's simple and truthful without making morbid the fact that Amelia never made it back :) Plus, the illustrations are super cute!

Add to list
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.
Add to list
The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch & illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This one is a classic in my book, turning the tale of a damsel in distress (which, don't get me wrong, can still be excellent) right on its head. The illustrations are so expressive and I love that not only does Princess Elizabeth throw fashion to the wind and use her smarts to outwit the dragon (without violence!), but also takes her new-found confidence and realizes that her prince is actually not as great as she once thought he was.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Over five million copies in print! When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble? Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.
Add to list
She Persisted
Written by Chelsea Clinton & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted. Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted. She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.
Add to list
Coco Chanel
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Ana Albero
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I think this darling board book is a great introduction to Coco Chanel. I love that it talks about her being herself and living her dreams. It also does a good job of telling the story of her journey to becoming a fashion designer.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Meet Coco Chanel, the world famous fashion designer! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of the iconic first lady of fashion, from her early life in an orphanage – where she is a genius with needle and thread – to her time as a cabaret singer, hat maker and, eventually, international fashion designer. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
Add to list
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Written by Laurie Wallmark & illustrated by Katy Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper's incredible accomplishments to life.
Malala's Magic Pencil book
Add to list
I Am Rosa Parks book
Add to list
Willow book
Add to list
Olivia book
Add to list
  • Malala's Magic Pencil - Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

  • I Am Rosa Parks - Recounts Rosa Parks’ daring effort to stand up for herself and other African Americans by helping to end segregation on public transportation.

  • Willow - Miss Hawthorn’s room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that’s how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn’s classroom comes young Willow. She doesn’t color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.Willow is the first joint writing effort for sisters Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan. Denise’s other Sleeping Bear Press books include Someday Is Not a Day of the Week and My Grandma Likes to Say. She lives in Howell, Michigan. Rosemarie Brennan juggles careers as a writing teacher and an author. She lives in Brighton, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and cassette and CD covers. She is the illustrator of I Love You, Stinky Face and I Miss You, Stinky Face. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

  • Olivia - It’s everyone’s favorite pig…it’s OLIVIA! The Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times #1 bestseller is now available in a sturdy format perfect for pig-loving toddlers everywhere!

Add to list
Lily Wool
Written & illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children's picture books.
Add to list
Emily Writes
Written by Jane Yolen & illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
An imagined and evocative picture book account of Emily Dickinson’s childhood poetic beginnings. As a young girl, Emily Dickinson loved to scribble curlicues and circles, imagine new rhymes, and connect with the natural world around her. The sounds, sights, and smells of home swirled through her mind, and Emily began to explore writing and rhyming her thoughts and impressions. She things about the real and the unreal. Perhaps poems are the in-between. This thoughtful spotlight on Emily’s early experimentations with poetry offers a unique window into one of the world’s most famous and influential poets. Christy Ottaviano Books
Add to list
I Look Up To... Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Written by Anna Membrino & illustrated by Fatti Burke
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
If you can see it, you can be it! Introduce your child to your role models with this series of inspirational board books. It's never too early to introduce your child to the people you admire! This board book distills Ruth Bader Ginsburg's excellent qualities into deliciously illustrated little baby-sized bites, with text designed to share and read aloud. Each spread highlights an important trait, and is enhanced by a quote from RBG herself. Kids will grow up hearing the words of this influential woman and will learn what YOU value in a person! The I LOOK UP TO . . . series aims to shine a spotlight on women making a difference in the world today, and to encourage young kids to follow in their footsteps!
Add to list
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
The newest picture book from the creators of *Iggy Peck, Architect*; *Rosie Revere, Engineer*; and *Ada Twist, Scientist* stars Sofia Valdez, an activist and community leader who stands up for what she believes in! Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can't build a park because she's just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.
Add to list
Chicks Rule
Written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & illustrated by Renee Kurilla
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Nerdy Chick has been waiting all day for the Rocket Club meeting. But when she gets there, she finds a disturbing sign tacked to the door: “NO CHICKS ALLOWED!!!” Puzzled, then baffled, then just plain mad, Nerdy Chick sets out to change the rules. Along the way, she meets other chicks who are just like her: passionate and determined. From Soccer Chick to Science Chick and Wordy Chick to Yoga Chick, these chicks aren’t willing to take “NO” for an answer. They rally together, march to the barn at the center of town, and—when they hear “NO” once again—chart their own path forward (or, rather, up, up, and away!). A celebration of girl power and community action, Chicks Rule! is the playful, diverse, victorious anthem chicks everywhere will love.
Dear Girl, book
Add to list
Harriet the Invincible book
Add to list
For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for "America the Beautiful" book
Add to list
Chrysanthemum book
Add to list
  • Dear Girl, - A #1 New York Times bestseller which Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb calls, “a beautiful, beautiful book” New York Times bestselling author of I Wish You More, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and her daughter Paris Rosenthal collaborate to bring you the heartwarming and inspiring Dear Girl, Dear Girl, is a remarkable love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world. Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she’s great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops. Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out. Dear Girl, This book is for you. Wonderful, smart, beautiful you. If you ever need a reminder, just turn to any page in this book and know that you are special and you are loved. —Amy and Paris A perfect gift for all occasions.

  • Harriet the Invincible - Harriet Hamsterbone is not your average princess. For one thing, she’s a hamster. For another, she prefers sword-fighting and fractions to sighing and fainting. So when Harriet finds out that she was cursed at birth to fall into a deep sleep at the age of twelve, she doesn’t exactly react the way her parents were expecting. After all, no good curse goes to waste, and so until the age of twelve, Harriet realizes she’s . . . invincible! Of courses, there is still that whole curse thing, but she’ll worry about that later.

  • For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for "America the Beautiful" - Katharine Lee Bates first wrote the lines to “America the Beautiful” after a stirring visit to Pikes Peak in 1893. But the story behind the song begins with Katharine herself, who pushed beyond conventional expectations of women to become an acclaimed writer, scholar, suffragist, and reformer. Katharine believed in the power of words to make a difference, and in “America the Beautiful,” her vision of the nation as a great family, united from sea to shining sea, continues to uplift and inspire us all.

  • Chrysanthemum - She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….

Add to list
Me . . . Jane
Written & illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true. One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young--and young at heart.
Add to list
She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch
Written by June Smalls & illustrated by Yumi Shimokawara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
She is the Queen. The matriarch. She leads her daughters and their daughters. Inspiring text and striking illustrations follow the empowering journey of an elephant matriarch as she leads her family through the wilds of Africa. With facts about African elephants on every spread and a message that will encourage young girls to be the trailblazers of their generation, She Leads offers an incredible story and an unforgettable tribute to the strength of a true leader. Open your eyes, princess. One day you will lead.
Add to list
The Tree Lady
Written by H. Joseph Hopkins & illustrated by Jill McElmurry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens. Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees. Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city. Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.
Add to list
Bo the Brave
Written & illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are in this brilliantly funny medieval adventure. Once, there lived a little girl called Bo. Bo wanted to be just like her brothers and capture a fearsome monster. Bo is small, too small to catch a monster―or so her brothers say. But Bo isn't one to take no for an answer, so she sets off on a quest to catch a monster of her own. Can she defeat the furious griffin, conquer the hideous kraken, and triumph over the monstrous dragon? Or has Bo got the wrong idea who the real monsters are? Author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin, the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Little Red, employs her signature style in this original fairy tale with a clever twist. Readers are sure to fall in love with Woollvin’s newest vibrant and sassy protagonist.
Add to list
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist
Written by Jess Keating & illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens and Jess Keating
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A beautifully illustrated biography of Eugenie Clark, a scientist as impressive as the sharks she studied At nine 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. Despite many obstacles in her path, including trying to break into the scientific field as a woman, Eugenie was able to study the creatures she loved so much. From her many discoveries to the shark-related myths she dispelled, Eugenie's wide scientific contributions led to the well-earned nickname "Shark Lady," as she become a fixture in the world of ocean conservation and shark research.
Elizabeth Warren's Big, Bold Plans book
Add to list
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science book
Add to list
Unbeatable Betty book
Add to list
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History book
Add to list
  • Elizabeth Warren's Big, Bold Plans - Discover the inspiring story of Senator Elizabeth Warren and her lifelong commitment to working hard and advocating for equality in this compelling and accessible picture book biography. Elizabeth Warren always has a plan. As a child, she wanted to help others by becoming a teacher. When discrimination forced her to surrender that dream, she found another path: She became a lawyer. Then life changed again, and Elizabeth became a professor of law—and she didn’t stop there. No matter her job title, Senator Elizabeth Warren has always worked to ensure that people with more power help those with less. She leads by example, inspiring young people across the nation to pursue their dreams despite obstacles like prejudice and inequality. Known for her dedication and willingness to adapt, Elizabeth Warren has persisted and become a voice for fairness and positive change. Now a presidential candidate, Senator Warren is a role model for the young people who will one day assume the mantle of leadership. And this gorgeously written, beautifully stylized picture book provides a pitch-perfect look at all they can accomplish.

  • Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science - From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer. Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind. A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.

  • Unbeatable Betty - An inspiring picture book biography of the first woman to win a gold medal in track and field. Young readers intrigued by the Summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be inspired by this story. With Joanie Stone’s colorful illustrations and Allison Crotzer Kimmel’s inspirational text, this biography is a reminder of how it takes more than sheer talent to be a champion; an unbeatable spirit of determination and hard work is also needed. At only sixteen years old, Betty Robinson became the first female gold medalist in track and field in the 1928 Olympics and an overnight sensation. She was set for gold again and had her eyes on the 1932 Olympics. Her plans changed forever when a horrible plane crash left her in a wheelchair, with one leg shorter than the other. But Betty didn’t let that stop her. In less than five years, she relearned how to stand, to walk, and finally to run again and try to taste gold once more in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Perfect for Women’s History units, as well as for reports on lesser-known sports heroes, Unbeatable Betty includes an author’s note narrating Betty’s later life after her win, as well as a bibliography.

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History - A NEW YORK TIMES INSTANT BESTSELLER!A USA TODAY BESTSELLER! This beautifully illustrated book introduces readers of all ages to 40 women who changed the world. Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things - bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.

Add to list
Curveball
Written by Derek Jeter and Paul Mantell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the fifth book in the New York Times bestselling middle grade series inspired by the life of iconic New York Yankee Derek Jeter, Derek spends the summer with his grandparents in Pequannock Township, New Jersey. Sometimes, you were looking for role models. And sometimes, you were being one yourself. Derek is having the best summer yet! Fun on the lake with his cousins, baseball, and a visit from his best friend, Dave: what more could he ask for? It gets even better when Derek gets to go to a Yankees game and meets a bunch of kids who play ball near the stadium, and they’re good. Awesome, actually, especially Jumbo and Tiny. Derek can’t wait to introduce them to Dave, but Grandma says if he wants to go to another Yankees game, he’ll have to earn some of the money for tickets himself. This means spending quality time with Grandpa mowing lawns and learning the meaning of hard work. Derek brings Dave to meet Tiny and Jumbo, whom Derek admires. But when Jumbo tries to convince Derek to do something he’s sure will get him in trouble, Derek has to rethink who his role models are.
Add to list
Just Like Daddy
Written & illustrated by Ovi Nedelcu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A vivdly illustrated day in the life of a little boy and his daddy, this charming picture book paints a gently ironic comparison of how the day unfolds for each of them. The toddler is filled with glee as he tackles each new challenge, while the dad faces his day with a a more grown-up combination of perseverance and resignation--yet he finds himself inspired by his son's open-hearted optimism. Spreads alternate between perspectives--the little boy's excitement at driving his toy car around compared with his father trying to navigate traffic, for example. The tension is resolved by a transcendent final spread that shows what makes it all worthwhile. In its unvarnished yet loving acceptance of the travails of being a working parent, Just Like Daddy is a perfect Father's Day gift for today's dads.
Add to list
Suki's Kimono
Written by Chieri Uegaki & illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
On her first day of first grade, despite the objections of her older sisters, Suki chooses to wear her beloved Japanese kimono to school because it holds special memories of her grandmother's visit last summer.
Add to list
The Heart of a Boy
Written & illustrated by Kate T Parker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 0-12
In her international bestseller Strong Is the New Pretty (with 329,000 copies in print), the photographer Kate T. Parker changed the way we see girls by showing us their truest selves—fearless, messy, wild, stubborn, proud. Now it’s time to talk about our boys. Prompted by #metoo, school shootings, bullying, and other toxic behavior, there’s a national conversation going on about what defines masculinity and how to raise sons to become good people. And Kate Parker is joining in by turning her lens to boys. The result is possibly even more moving, more eloquent, more surprising than Strong. The Heart of a Boy is a deeply felt celebration of boyhood as it’s etched in the faces and bodies of dozens of boys, ages 5 to 18. There’s the pensive look of a skateboarder caught in a moment between rides. The years of dedication in a ballet dancer’s poise. The love of a younger brother hugging his older brother. The unself-conscious joy of a goofy grin with a missing tooth. The casual intimacy of two friends at a lemonade stand. The shyness of a lone boy and his model boat. The intensity in a football huddle. The proud, challenging gaze of a boy bald from alopecia—and the same kind of gaze, but wreathed in tenderness, of a boy a few years younger with flowing, almost waist-length hair. There are guitarists, fencers, wrestlers, star-gazers, a pilot—it’s the world of our sons, in all their amazing variety and difference. The photographs feel spontaneous, direct, and with so much eye contact between the viewed and the viewer that it’s impossible to turn away. And throughout, words from the boys themselves enrich every photo. What a gift for boys and anyone who is raising them.
Add to list
My Name is Not Isabella
Written by Jennifer Fosberry & illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Isabella imagines she is a variety of prominent women throughout history, including Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, and Marie Curie.
Matilda book
Add to list
A Wrinkle in Time book
Add to list
Courageous People from Washington Who Changed the World book
Add to list
The Best Man book
Add to list
  • Matilda - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

  • A Wrinkle in Time - B is for Bookworm -

    I love how brave the children are in trying to save their father, and I love the great female leads in this story. While I think this interesting classic should be read, it's not my personal favorite and I felt like there were just a few things that weren't resolved in the story.

  • Courageous People from Washington Who Changed the World - From the creative vision of Merce Cunningham to the brave voice of Bernie Whitebear, Courageous People from Washington Who Changed the World is a young child’s first introduction to the brave people from their home state who made a difference. Simple text and adorable illustrations tell the contributions of more than a dozen courageous Washingtonians: Chief Seattle, George Washington, Catherine Montgomery, Bertha Knight Landes, Dixie Lee Ray, Merce Cunningham, Bernie Whitebear, Gary Locke, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Pearl Jam (of course). A quote from each hero is included on each spread along with colorful, delightful artwork.

  • The Best Man - Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos. Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school. But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story. In pages that ripple with laughter, there’s a teardrop here and there. And more than a few insights about the bewildering world of adults, made by a boy on his way to being the best man he can be.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Suggested Links