Trail-blazing Women in Picture Books

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.  (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own)

Though this quote is a favorite of mine—and I appreciate its humor—it is also one that raises mostly negative emotions in me—frustration, dismay, and even anger.  Especially when I remember that it is historically true in many areas, not just literature.

Discoveries by women scientists were usually attributed to the men who worked with them.

When the first woman ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, race officials physically tried to force her off the course. (Kathrine Switzer just ran it again—50 years later!)

The story of the women mathematicians who were essential to the early space program was hidden for over 50 years.

And a teenage Pakistani girl was shot in the head for trying to go to school.

Children learn at an early age of the accomplishments of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Bill Nye (the science guy!), but both girls and boys need to learn about the early women who blazed a trail for today’s scientists, pilots, educators, and activists.  These new picture book biographies, many written for primary students, are an excellent place to start!



Caroline’s Comets : A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully. 9780823436644. 2017. Gr K-2.

Dorothea Lange : The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford (ill. by Sarah Green). 9780807516997. 2017. Gr K-2.

Grace Hopper : Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark (ill. by Katy Wu). 9781454920007. 2017. Gr 3-6.

Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss (ill. by April Chu). 9781939547330. 2017. Gr 1-3.

Lighter Than Air : Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith (ill. by Mark Tavares). 9780763677329. 2017. Gr 1-4.



Long May She Wave : The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation by Kristen Fulton (ill. by Holly Berry). 9781481460965. 2017. Gr K-2.

Malala : Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaele Frier (ill. by Aurelia Fronty). 9781580897853. 2017. Gr 1-4.

Margaret and the Moon : How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins (ill. by Lucy Knisley). 9780399551857. 2017. Gr PK-3.

Maya Lin : Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey (ill. by Dow Phumiruk). 9781250112491. 2017. Gr PK-3.



Miss Mary Reporting : The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy (ill. by C.F. Payne). 9781481401203. 2016. Gr 1-4.

Out of School and Into Nature : The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade (ill.  by Jessica Lanan. 9781585369867. 2017. Gr 1-4.

Shark Lady : The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating (ill. by Marta Alvarez Miguens). 9781492642046. June 2017. Gr K-3.

Trudy’s Big Swim : How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm by Sue Macy (ill. by Matt Collins). 9780823436651. 2017. Gr 2-4.

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