Strong women can change the world: a booklist

Published on: 03 May 2017

Rachel Ignotofsky has written a book about women in science. She's been on the lookout for other books with brilliant role models for girls - and here are her favourites.

Girls and boys both need to grow up knowing that they can dream big and become leaders, but that can be hard when some children's books aimed at girls are about damsels in distress or princesses.

We need young girls to feel empowered to face our world's biggest problems and become part of the solution. That's why I wrote Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. My book is filled with real women throughout history who saved lives, made new discoveries and changed our understanding of the universe.

This book is a part of a larger movement to introduce young girls and boys to stories about strong women, and I believe that the best way to break harmful stereotypes about gender is through storytelling.

Six books for your daughter

Here are a few books that I think will have your daughters exploring the unknown, learning more about the world around them, and, most importantly, knowing that they are the main character in their own adventure.

1. Ada Twist, Scientist

Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts; Abrams Books

This book is a gorgeously illustrated fiction book that will have your kids asking big questions about their world, just like Ada does as she performs experiments to quench her curiosity. The book is also written in a delightful rhyme, making it the perfect bedtime book.

Read our review

2. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Kate Pankhurst, Bloomsbury

This picture book is filled with a range of women throughout history that have greatly changed our world. From learning about the courage of Rosa Parks, to the talent of Jane Austen, this book truly has a story for every young child to relate to.

Read our review

3. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Houghton Mifflin

This book tells the stories of objects you interact with every day. Did you know that the windshield wiper was invented by a woman? How about Kevlar fabric, the chocolate chip cookie, or the first complex computer language? These stories show their how women's creativity and resourcefulness allowed them to overcome obstacles and create solutions to everyday problems.

4. Marie Curie (Little People, Big Dreams)

Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Frau Isa; Frances Lincoln Children's Books

This is one book in an amazing biography book series, presenting Marie Curie's life and the challenges she faced to be able to peruse her love of science. Her determination led to the discovery of radiation and made her the first person to win a Nobel Prize in two different disciplines. Adorably illustrated and simply explained, this book is great for the youngest scientist-to-be.

5. Ada's Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer

Fiona Robinson, Abrams Books

Ada Lovelace was a genius and a dreamer, and her love of the apparently separate pursuits of poetry and mathematics gave her the skills to become the first person to write a computer language. Ada's imagination allowed her to correctly hypothesise that one day computers would do much more than just add numbers.

This book's beautiful collage-like illustrations capture the dreaminess of the young Ada Lovelace perfectly and it's a must-have for any young girl's bookcase.

6. Interstellar Cinderella

Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt; Chronicle Books

This Cinderella is not waiting for a pretty dress to go to the ball, but instead is a young rocket engineer who saves her space prince with her mechanical know-how. Find out how she makes her dreams come true with this fun picture book!

Read our review


Check out our booklist of our favourite heroines in fiction

Topics: Features