This post highlights different picture books you can read to your upper elementary students to expose them to a variety of influential women.
Included are both Amazon affiliate links to help you quickly access the books and take a peek inside as well as YouTube links when applicable. YouTube gives you FREE access to many of these books being read aloud. Remember to also check out your school or local library to access many of these books for FREE or sign up for Epic, it's FREE for teachers and gives you access to a HUGE selection of books.
Amelia and Eleanor go for a Ride tells the story of an evening in April 1933, when Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, two very close friends, did the unprecedented. They snuck away during a White House dinner and took off on an adventure on an Eastern Air Transport plane while still dressed in their glamorous evening gowns.
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx tells the story of Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up in poverty and surrounded by prejudice. Against all these odds, she became the first Latino to be nominated to the US Supreme Court.
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story is the story about the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Growing up in a country where women were not allowed to receive an education, she spoke out against it even after an attempted assassination attempt on her.
Rosa is a tribute to Rosa Parks and retells the story of the significant part she played in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote tells the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and how she her determination to give women the right to vote lead her to gather a group of like-minded women to challenge the laws.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race recounts the true stories of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space.
A Computer Called Katherine chronicles the life of Katherine Johnson who played an instrumental part of getting the first man on the moon.
Mae Among the Stars is presented more as a primary book, however the message of the book is truly impactful and teaches readers that determination and will can help you reach your goals no matter what. It tells the story of how Mae Jemison found inspiration through her mother's words, and the end of the book includes a mini biography, great for upper elementary as well.
Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing tells the story of Margaret Hamilton who loved math. Her math skills led her to be able to write codes that would allow NASA spacecrafts' computers to solve any problems they may encounter. Without her code, many of NASA's missions at that time would not have been complete.
Here Come the Girl Scouts! tells the story of Juliette Gordon Low and how her yearning for adventure led her to form the Girl Scouts.
Who Says Women Can't be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell chronicles the life of a curious little girl in the 1830s who refused to accept the common belief that women were not smart enough to be doctors.
Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride tells the story of a girl born into slavery who was able to escape to freedom. However knowing that unless things changed, she would never truly be free, Sojourner began traveling across the country demanding equal rights for blacks and women.
Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust tells the gripping true story of Irena Sendler who took it upon herself to save 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman recounts the story of Wilma Rudolph whose left leg was paralyzed at five years old when she suffered from polio. They told her she would never walk again, but she refused to believe it. She ended up winning three gold medals in the Olympics.
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom is a poetic book that pays tribute to Harriet Tubman, her strength, humility, and devotion.
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald tells the story of a young Ella Fitzgerald who was a poor orphan and found refuge with jazz.
Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman recounts the story of the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license.
Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson tells the story of a young girl who was known for being trouble as a little girl. One day, her athletic talent is discovered. Through hard work and dedication, Althea Gibson becomes the first African American to ever compete in Wimbledon and ended up winning the Wimbledon Cup.
Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller paints an unforgettable portrait of the life of Helen Keller from her birth to her death and all the obstacles she was able to accomplish through determination and perseverance.
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code shares incidents and stories about a girl with a keen mind and a determined attitude who grows up to be the "queen of computer code."
Just Being Audrey tells the life story of Audrey Hepburn starting with her as a little girl in a Nazi-occupied Europe. She learns early on in life that kindness is an important quality. She became one of the first actresses to use her fame to help those in need, specifically impoverished children through her work with UNICEF.
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams tells the story of two sisters who learned to play tennis while gunshots rung around them. Without letting them anything deter them, including illnesses later in life, they became two of the best tennis players in the world.
Anne Frank recounts how a young girl kept a diary while living in hiding during the Holocaust. It is a great first introduction to the Holocaust for children.
Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa recognizes Celia Cruz's inspiring rise to worldwide fame after having to leaving her home country knowing she could never return again.
Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton tells the story of young Clara Barton the founder of the American Red Cross. It depicts the close relationship she had with her brother and how he inspired her to help others.
A Race Around the World: The True Story of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland highlights a moment in Nellie Bly's life, a report who used to put herself in the middle of the action to get the real facts on current events during a time where independent women were frowned upon. She wanted to circumnavigate the world in less than 80 days (the fast time recorded) unescorted. When a New York publication learned of her plan, they sent out Elizabeth Bisland to try to beat her.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles is an inspirational biography about Joan Procter who would later become an internationally recognized herpetologist and the curator of reptiles at the British National History Museum.
The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague tells the story of Raye Montague who was inspired to become an engineer when she first toured a German submarine as a young girl in the 1940s. Sexism and racial inequality proved to be grand challenges, but none-the-less she persevered and became a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World tells the stories of 13 American women who spoke up for what's right and persevered. 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 Hillary Clinton.
She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed the World is a book that features: Marie Curie, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Viola Desmond, Sissi Lima do Amor, Leymah Gbowee, Caroline Herschel, Wangari Maathai, Aisha Rateb, J.K. Rowling, Kate Sheppard, Yuan Yuan Tan, Mary Verghese and Malala Yousafzai.
Shaking Things Up: 14 Women Who Changed the World is another collection book that introduces the stories of 14 revolutionary women. The information is presented as poems, and some of the women included are Mary Anning, Ruby Bridges, Maya Lin, Molly Williams, Annette Kellerman, Nellie Bly, Pura Belpré, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, Frances Moore Lappé, Mae Jemison, Angela Zhang, and Malala Yousafzai.
Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon is an inspiring story about the very first woman to run in the Boston Marathon who as a young child was not even allowed to run on her school's track team because she was a girl.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist is the true story about about Eugenie Clark who was fascinated by sharks from a young age. Although she was discouraged to study sharks because she was a girl, she was determined to prove everyone wrong and succeeded.
Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight tells the story of Dr. Patricia Bath who had hopes of becoming an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor was not an acceptable career choose for women, especially African American women. Her perseverance led to the invention of a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and she became the first African American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.
How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine tells the inspiring story of Dr. Temple Grandin, an autism advocate, as a child who wanted to be hugged, but hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world.
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