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Women’s History Month may have ended in March, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop reading books about amazing women! Picture book biographies will forever be my favorite kind of books…and those that highlight amazing women from history? Well, those just might be my favorite of all. Today I want to share with you 5 incredible picture book biographies featuring strong and fearless women from history! These 5 women are women who stood up for what they believed…strong women who made a huge difference!
Marjory Saves the Everglades- The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas
I am not a gal to play favorites…but…if I were (which I’m not…)…Marjory Saves the Everglades would have to be right up at the top. This is an example of a picture book biography perfection in my eyes. Why? Well, for starters, it is absolutely jam-packed with information. The pages are brimming with facts and history about Marjory’s Stoneman Douglas’ life. It transports you straight into the 1940’s, making you feel as though you are a fly on the wall of Marjory’s life. Author Sandra Neil Wallace truly captured the fire and passion that was Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She seemed like such a no-nonsense spitfire of a woman who would stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Not only is it packed with information, but it is gorgeous. This is another must-have for me in terms of a great picture book. The illustrations have to suck you in…and artist Rebecca Gibbon absolutely meets the mark there. We just returned home from a trip through the Everglades and every time we drive through we think of Marjory and the work she did.
Marjory Saves the Everglades is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas didn’t intend to write about the Everglades but when she returned to Florida from World War I, she hardly recognized the place that was her home. The Florida that Marjory knew was rapidly disappearing—the rare orchids, magnificent birds, and massive trees disappearing with it.
Marjory couldn’t sit back and watch her home be destroyed—she had to do something. Thanks to Marjory, a part of the Everglades became a national park and the first park not created for sightseeing, but for the benefit of animals and plants. Without Marjory, the part of her home that she loved so much would have been destroyed instead of the protected wildlife reserve it has become today.
Sanctuary- Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women
This next book is a new one for me. I was kindly sent a copy of this book from my friends at Candlewick Press and I was immediately blown away. Sanctuary is a perfect example of WHY picture book biographies are incredible. They introduce you to people that have made such amazing contributions that you may have never heard of before. I had never heard of Kip Tiernan, but what an incredible human she was! It is a story about how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many. Kip saw a need. Homeless women were being forgotten. Homelessness wasn’t seen as an issue that affected women, but Kip saw firsthand that it was. So she took that knowledge, and lots of love and kindness and created the first shelter for women. Such a moving story of compassion and love. (Stay tuned for a flip-through reel on Instagram)
Sanctuary is written by Christine McDonnell with illustrations by Victoria Tentler-Krylov. It is published by Candlewick Press.
“Justice is not three hots and a cot. Justice is having your own key.”—Kip Tiernan
When Kip Tiernan was growing up during the Great Depression, she’d help her granny feed the men who came to their door asking for help. As Kip grew older, and as she continued to serve food to hungry people, she noticed something peculiar: huddled at the back of serving lines were women dressed as men. At the time, it was believed that there were no women experiencing homelessness. And yet Kip would see women sleeping on park benches and searching for food in trash cans. Kip decided to open the first shelter for women—a shelter with no questions asked, no required chores, just good meals and warm beds. With persistence, Kip took on the city of Boston in her quest to open Rosie’s Place, our nation’s first shelter for women.
Christine McDonnell, a former educator at Rosie’s Place, and illustrator Victoria Tentler-Krylov bring warmth to Kip Tiernan’s story of humanity and tenacity, showing readers how one person’s dream can make a huge difference, and small acts of kindness can lead to great things.
Fearless- The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Defender of Free Speech
Fearless- The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Defender of Free Speech is a powerful story of the freedom of speech and the power of the press. This is another person that I had never heard of but I am so incredibly glad that I have now. Daphne was a brave and fearless woman. She was a courageous writer and journalist who worked diligently to uncover crime and wrongdoing. Daphne’s bravery and writing has inspired many to also speak out for what is right. Fearless is written an illustrated by Gattaldo, who was a dear friend of Daphne. He wrote this book as a way to honor her memory and to share her story of bravery! Fearless is published by Candewick Press. Huge thank you for sending this my way for review!
As a little girl, Daphne wanted to be a writer, to be brave and use words and pictures to share important stories about her country, Malta. Growing up, she always had her nose in books, which she said taught her never to let other people think for her. As she got older, when she saw bad things happening in her country, she believed she could change people’s lives through peaceful protest. She would ultimately follow her dream by working for a national newspaper, becoming an influential and courageous political journalist who took on criminals the only way she knew how—through her writing. In the end, despite increasingly dangerous—and ultimately fatal—efforts by her adversaries to silence her, Daphne made a difference and was an inspiration to all who believe in freedom of speech and the power of the press. In this compelling picture book, followed by a biographical note, debut author-illustrator Gattaldo explores the life and legacy of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a fearless advocate for truth and justice.
Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells- The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist
From one daring journalist to another…Yours for Justice Ida B. Wells is the incredible story of former slave Ida B. Wells. I am sad to say, this is another woman that I had very little knowledge of! Ida B. Wells was a strong and courageous woman who used her position as a journalist to speak out about injustice. She was outspoken against lynchings after a friend of hers is killed. Ida did this knowing that she was making herself a target for lynchers…but she knew that someone had to stand up for what was right. She knew the power of the press…and used this power to educate others. Yours for Justice Ida B. Wells is written by Philip Dray with mesmerizing illustratios by Stephen Alcorn. Yours for Justice is published by Peachtree Publishing who were kind enough to send me a copy for review!
In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in America’s promise of “freedom and justice for all,” young Ida held her family together, defied society’s conventions, and used her position as a journalist to speak against injustice. But Ida’s greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the looming “shadow of lawlessness”?
Author Philip Dray tells the inspirational story of Ida B. Wells and her lifelong commitment to end injustice. Award-winning illustrator Stephen Alcorn’s remarkable illustrations recreate the tensions that threatened to upend a nation while paying tribute to a courageous American hero.
The Voice that Won the Vote- How One Woman’s Words Made History
Last, but certainly not least, is The Voice that Won the Vote- How One Woman’s Words Made History. This is the story of Febb Burn. Have you ever heard of her? I know I hadn’t! Febb was a strong-willed woman who loved learning. Febb was also fed-up with women not having the right to vote. So one day she sat down and began a letter… “Dear Son” she wrote…and off that letter went to the youngest lawmaker in Tennessee. That lawmaker ended up having to be the tie-breaker in a vote of whether or not women would be allowed to vote. That young man made a very smart decision that day…he decided to listen to his mother and say YES to women voting. This was such a fantastic book. Another book about another amazing woman that I had never heard of…but one that I can thank for my ability to cast my ballot!
The Voice that Won the Vote is written by Elisa Boxer with absolutely gorgeous illustrations by Vivien Mildenberger. The Voice that Won the Vote is published by Sleeping Bear Press who sent this my way for review!
In August of 1920, women’s suffrage in America came down to the vote in Tennessee. If the Tennessee legislature approved the 19th amendment it would be ratified, giving all American women the right to vote. The historic moment came down to a single vote and the voter who tipped the scale toward equality did so because of a powerful letter his mother, Febb Burn, had written him urging him to “Vote for suffrage and don’t forget to be a good boy.” The Voice That Won the Vote is the story of Febb, her son Harry, and the letter than gave all American women a voice.
For More Info
There you have it, 5 incredible picture book biographies of 5 courageous women from history. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many absolutely stunning picture book biographies out there that tell the stories of women who changed history.
Here is another great title to check out
For a list of some of my other favorite picture book biographies featuring amazing women from history click the link here.
Thank you so much for reading. Drop a comment below and let me know if you have any favorite books I should check out!