The 30 Best Children’s Books for Girls of All Time

Bedtime story is key to inspiring young girls to dream big. The books we read as children have a great power in shaping who we eventually become as adults, which is why promoting quality children’s books that empower young girls is crucial to raising the next generation of trailblazing women. So, please, next time you share a bedtime story with your daughter (or your niece, or your friend’s child!), make sure it’s a story that will inspire her for a lifetime. Here’s a list of the 30 best children’s books for girls that celebrate extraordinary women. Pick one!

1. Hilda Folk

Hildafolk - Best Children's Books for Girls

Hilda Folk is a gorgeous little graphic novel from Luke Pearson and Nobrow Press. It’s 24 pages of sweetness and cuteness as Hilda spends a night under canvas and then heads out into the hills for a day of drawing. And she finds a fine adventure, meets a scary Rock Troll, discovers the secret of the Wood Man, experiences dangers, excitement and much more besides. And by the end, Hilda finds that there’s a pleasure to be had from adventure, although it might be an unexpected pleasure, where it’s the experience, not the result that matters. (Age 10 and up)

2. Rosie Revere, Engineer

rosie_revere_engineer - best children's books for girls

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, the cultural icon representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II) 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. (Age 5-7)

3. Viva Frida

viva_frida - best children's books for girls

Viva Frida is a picture book biography of Mexican painter Frida Kalho. In simple, lyrical words and enchanting photo-illustrations, this dreamlike bilingual beauty by Mexican writer/illustrator Yuyi Morales and photographer Tim O’Meara tells the story of one of humanity’s most remarkable artists. “Growing up in Mexico, I wanted to know more about this woman with her mustache and unibrow. Who was this artist who had unapologetically filled her paintings with old and new symbols of Mexican culture in order to tell her own story?”, asks Morales in the afterword. A testament to the notion that we can transcend external limitations to define our scope of possibility, the life of Frida Kahlo is one that every little girl should know about. (Age 4-8)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

4. Josephine

josephine - best children's books for girls

In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine‘s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself. One of the 10 best children’s books of 2014. (Age 7-10)

5. Todos Fazemos Tudo

todos_fazemos_tudo - best children's books for girls

You really won’t mind that this book has no English translation (yet), because Todos Fazemos Tudo has no words and works as a game. There are characters – men, women, young and old – and a wide variety of activities that these characters can do. Readers are able to make different combinations. By turning the pages you can make changes and observe how, at least in this wonderful book by Planeta Tangerina, there are no prejudices or preconceived ideas. Grandparents surf, fathers do the laundry, mothers repair cars. (Age 5-7)

6. Eloise: A Book for Precocius Grown Ups

eloise - best children's books for girls

Eloise is a classic children’s book series written in the 1950s by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York. She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person. Henry James would want to study her. Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal. The New York Jets would want to have her on their side. Lewis Carroll would love her (once he got over the initial shock). She knows everything about The Plaza. She is interested in people when they are not boring. She has Inner Resources. If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did. (Age 6-9)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

7. Wilma Unlimited

wilma_unlimited - best children's books for girls

Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she’d run. And she did run–all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad. This dramatic and inspiring true story is illustrated in bold watercolor and acrylic paintings by Caldecott Medal-winning artist David Diaz. (Age: Preschool)

8. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora_and_Ulysses - best children's books for girls

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell. (Age 8-12)

9. Persepolis

persepolis - best children's books for girls

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. (Age 11 and up)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

10. Lumberjanes

lumberjanes - best children's books for girls

Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons. How could we possibly resist them? Created by the acclaimed cartoonist Noelle Stevenson, Lumberjanes is Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls and features five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls wailing on monsters and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake. Originally planned as an eight-part series, the comic was quickly made an ongoing series following strong sales and critical acclaim. (Age 10 and up)

11. A Wrinkle in Time

A_Wrinkle_in_Time - best children's books for girls

50 years after its publication, the classic science-fiction book A Wrinkle in Time is taken to a new level as a graphic novel illustrated by Hope Larson. It’s the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. Perfect for delighting old fans and winning over new ones, this graphic novel adaptation is a must-read. (Age 10-14)

12. Through Georgia’s Eyes

Through Georgia's Eyes - best children's books for girls

A gorgeous, evocative biography of one of America’s most beloved artists and the mother of American modernism. Georgia O’Keeffe saw the world differently from most people. As a child she roamed the prairie with a sketch pad in her hand, struggling to capture on paper what she saw all around her. At art school she learned to speak in paint on canvas. But Georgia felt confined by city life. She longed for vast expanses of space, and she found it in the red hills and silent deserts of New Mexico. Lyrical and vivid, this is a portrait of an exceptional artist, a woman whose eyes were open to the wideness and wonder of the world. (Age 5-8)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

13. The Watcher: Jane Godall’s Life with the Chimps

The_Watcher - best children's books for girls

Great children’s books celebrating science are few and far between, and in a general publishing landscape where only 31% of books for young readers feature female protagonists, great children’s books celebrating female pioneers of science are especially rare. How refreshing, then, to come upon this picture book biography of legendary primatologist Jane Godall, the great observer of chimpanzees. We follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, observing chimps as they play, hold hands, kiss, and fight – and confirming empirically her deep intuition that we share a great deal more than previously thought with our misunderstood evolutionary relatives. (Age 4-8)

14. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink

Not_All_Princesses_Dress_In_Pink - best children's books for girls

“Not all princesses dress in pink. Some play in bright red socks that stink, blue team jerseys that don’t quite fit, accessorized with a baseball mitt,and a sparkly crown!”. Yes, princesses come in all kinds. They can jump in mud puddles and climb trees, play sports and make messes—all while wearing their tiaras! From author Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Yolen Stemple comes a classic that all young ladies will love, even those who secretly like pink!. (Age Preschool)

15. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

little_melba_and_her_big_trombone - best children's books for girls

Melba Doretta Liston loved the sounds of music from as far back as she could remember. As a child, she daydreamed about beats and lyrics, and hummed along with the music from her family s Majestic radio. At age seven, Melba fell in love with a big, shiny trombone, and soon taught herself to play the instrument. By the time she was a teenager, Melba’s extraordinary gift for music led her to the world of jazz. She joined a band led by trumpet player Gerald Wilson and toured the country. Overcoming obstacles of race and gender, Melba went on to become a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century. (Age 6-10)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

16. Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

jessie-hartland-bon-appetit - best children's books for girls

Legendary chef Julia Child (August 15, 1912–August 13, 2004) not only revolutionized the world of cookbooks, but was also a remarkable beacon of entrepreneurship and perseverance more than a decade before women started raising their voices in the media world. Her unrelenting spirit and generous heart cast her as one of modern history’s most timeless role models, and that’s precisely what writer and illustrator Jessie Hartland celebrates in the endlessly wonderful Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child — a heartening illustrated biography of the beloved chef, intended to enchant young readers with her story but certain to delight all of us. (3 and up)

17. One Crazy Summer

one-crazy-summer - best children's books for girls

In this Newbery Honor novel, New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them. Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. When they arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with her, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer. One of the best children’s books for girls of all time. (Age 8-12)

18. Seeds of Change

seeds-of-change - best children's books for girls

As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her―from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river. Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time. (Age 7 and up)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

19. She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story

shelovedbaseball - best children's books for girls

Effa always loved baseball. As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium just to see Babe Ruth’s mighty swing. But she never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team. Or be the first—and only—woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. From her childhood in Philadelphia to her groundbreaking role as business manager and owner of the Newark Eagles, Effa Manley always fought for what was right. And she always swung for the fences. From author Audrey Vernick and illustrator Don Tate comes the remarkable story of an all-star of a woman. (Age 4-8)

20. Anja’s Ghost

Anjas_Ghost - best children's books for girls

Anya’s Ghost is an award-winning supernatural graphic novel by Vera Brosgol. Anya Borzakovskaya is an immigrant from Russia who lives in the United States, alongside her mother and brother, Sasha. Anya is unpopular at her New England private school, aside from her best friend Siobhan and fellow Russian immigrant Dima, who Anya avoids due to being too “fresh off the boat,” and wishes to join the popular kids, including Sean, the object of her affections, and Elizabeth, Sean’s girlfriend. Walking to school one day, Anya falls down a large hole in the forest where she finds a true friend in a ghost who has been dead for a century! (Age 12-17)

21. Olivia

Olivia - best children's books for girls

Everyone’s favorite porcine diva is back and with fanfare! There are going to be fireworks tonight, and Olivia can hardly wait to hear the band. But when she finds out that there isn’t going to be a band, she can’t understand why not. How can there be fireworks without a band?! And so Olivia sets to putting a band together herself…all by herself. Using pots, pans, her brother’s toys, and even her father’s suspenders, Olivia forms a band spectacular enough to startle any audience. Lavishly brought to life in Ian Falconer‘s signature style, and introducing an eye-catching shade of blue, here is Olivia doing what Olivia does best — making noise. (Age 3-8)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

22. Violet the Pilot

violet-the-pilot - best children's books for girls

By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch: mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen? Something involving her bestever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself! A classic underdog story full of humor and sweetness and retro pizzazz, Violet the Pilot is both endearing and adorable. A classic picture book for girls that will fly right into your heart. (Age 4-8)

23. Madeline

Madeline - best children's books for girls

Madeline truly needs no introduction. One of the best children’s books for girls of all time, Madeline continues to enchant readers more than seventy years after its first publication. Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. To Madeline, a trip to the hospital is a grand adventure. Madeline was written by Ludwig Bemelmans and published in 1939. Bemelmans wrote five sequels between 1953 and 1961. Later books in the series were written by Bemelmans’ grandson John Bemelmans Marciano. The books focus on a group of girls in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Madeline is the smallest of the girls. She is seven years old, and the only redhead. She is the bravest and most outgoing of the girls. (Age 3-7)

24. Judy Moody, Girl Detective

Judy_Moody - best children's books for girls

Judy Moody is a classic children’s book series. Judy is always in a mood. A sleuthing, Nancy Drew kind of mood. So what’s a WBMS (world’s best mystery solver) to do? Go find a mystery, that’s what! And she doesn’t have to snoop for long: when Mr. Chips, a beloved crime-dog-in-training, goes missing, Judy Drewdy and her chums, agents Dills Pickle (Frank), Spuds Houdini (Rocky), and James Madagascar (Stink) find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a real life, scare-your-pants-off whodunit. Was Mr. Chips stolen by dirty dognappers? And why are chocolate-chip cookies disappearing all over town? Watch out for red herrings—along with clever references to classic Nancy Drew mysteries—as Eagle Eye Moody and company are hot on the case! (Age 6-9)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

25. Drum Dream Girl

DrumDreamGirl - best children's books for girls

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba‘s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere. (Age 4-7)

26. The Name Jar

the-name-jar - best children's books for girls

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey. (Age 4-8)

27. Harriet the Spy

harriet_the_spy - best children's books for girls

Harriet the Spy is a children’s novel written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh that was published in 1964. It has been called “a milestone in children’s literature” and a “classic”. Eleven-year-old Harriet M. Welsch is an aspiring writer who lives in New York City’s Upper East Side. A precocious and enthusiastic girl, Harriet enjoys writing and hopes to become a writer. Encouraged by her nanny, Ole Golly, Harriet carefully observes others and writes her thoughts down in a notebook as practice for her future career, which she dedicates her life to. She follows an afternoon “spy route”, during which she observes her classmates, friends, and people who reside in her neighborhood. Her best friends are Sport, a serious boy who wans to be a CPA or a ball player, and Janie, who wants to be a scientist. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together? (Age 8-12)

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.

28. Miss Rumphius

MissRumphiusBookCover - best children's books for girls

Miss Rumphius is a classic picture book for girls. Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication, 1982. One of the best children’s books for girls of all time. (Age 5-8)

29. Brown Girl Dreaming

brown_girl_dreaming - best children's books for girls

Raised in South Carolina and New York, acclaimed writer Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. One of the best children’s books for girls of all time. (Age 10 and up)

30. Grace for President

grace-for-president-cover - best children's books for girls

“Where are the girls?”. When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election! Author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought–and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders. (Age 5-9)

Download our Free Science Comic about Maria Sibylla Merian, the extraordinary woman who in 1699 sailed from Germany to South America to discover the metamorphosis of the butterflies.



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