Top Ten Tuesday – New Books Celebrating Women Change Makers and Trail Blazers!

Happy International Women’s Day! And what better way to celebrate than by reading some brand new books? In honor of the extraordinary, smart, determined, courageous women in the world, this week’s Top Ten list features some NEW books about inspiring change makers and trail blazers! I hope you find a new book to add to your collection.

NOTE: I’ve included the release date at the end of each descriptor as some of them are not yet out.

The Van Buren Sisters Vs. The Pants Police – J.F. Fox 

Two sisters break with all society rules when they decide to ride motorbikes across the United States wearing trousers to prove women could serve as motorbike couriers in WWI. But the year is 1916, when women are supposed to wear dresses, not trousers, and the fashion police are in hot pursuit! Historical details are incorporated into the illustrations and I enjoyed the graphic style illustrations with speech bubbles. Lively and lots of fun, as well as a great history lesson in gender norms. (Kids Can Press, Available May 2)

A Tulip in Winter: A Story About Maud Lewis – Kathy Stinson

Canadian artist Maud Lewis’ iconic folk art is celebrated around the world. Despite her beautiful art, however, she spent much of her life living in poverty with rheumatoid arthritis. This inspiring story tells how she pursued her passion while navigating the mobility issues caused by her condition. Maud’s story will inspire young readers to find and focus on the beauty in their worlds. (Greystone Books, Released March 7th – yesterday!)

Milloo’s Mind: The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women’s Education– Reem Faruqi

A powerful new picture book biography about Maryam Faruqi, the founder of the Happy Home Schools, which provided education to thousands of girls across Pakistan at a time when girls weren’t encouraged to go to school. Excellent introduction to the importance of gender equity in education. (Harper Collins, January 2023)

NOTE: If you are a GearPicks Pack subscriber, this book is included in your upcoming spring collection.

The Girl Who Heard the Music – Marni Fogelson

The true story of award-winning pianist and environmental activist Mahani Teave and her quest to help save her beloved island, Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island). I had never heard of Mahani but was fascinated and inspired by her story – both her determination to learn to play the piano and her later environmental activism. Told with child-friendly language and includes end matter will be useful for inquiry projects. A great STEAM book with a global perspective. (Sourcebooks Explore – available April 4)

Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine: Josephine Cochrane’s Bright Invention Makes a Splash – Kate Hannigan

Where would be be without dishwashers??? Celebrate the inventor of the dishwasher in this inspiring new STEM/STEAM picture book biography about Josephine Garis Cochrane, the brains behind one of the world’s most-used kitchen appliances. Don’t miss the author’s note at the back, which includes a list of notable women inventors, a timeline of fascinating inventions, and a list of sources. (Calkins Creek – available March 14)

The Brilliant Calculator: How Mathematician Edith Clarke Helped Electrify America – Jan Lower

New nonfiction picture book telling the story of Edith Clarke, first women electrical engineer in America and the inventor of the Clarke Calculator, a calculator which allowed for quick calculations of complex mathematical equations. Excellent book to add to your STEAM collection. Fantastic pictures and interesting back notes. (Calkins Creek – Available March 14)

Planting for Peace: The Story of Wangari Maathai – Gwendolyn Hooks

A brand new picture book biography about Wangari Maathai, women’s rights activist who began the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in the 1960s, which focused on environmental conservation and women’s rights. She inspired thousands across Africa to plant 30 million trees in 30 years and was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. (Crocodile Books, Feb. 7 2023)

You are a Star, Jane Goodall! – Dean Robbins

While there are many biographies about trailblazer Jane Goodall, I love her so am always excited to see new books about her. Apparently “You are a Star” is a new nonfiction series by Scholastic and I really like the unique mix of first-person narrative, hilarious comic panels, and essential facts. This one focuses on Jane’s lifelong mission to understand the chimpanzees and protect the planet. Unique format, engaging and interesting – I think kids will really enjoy this! (Scholastic, Released April 4, 2023)

Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines – Debbie Dadey

This is the story of Katalin “Kati” Kariko, a determined Hungarian-American scientist, who worked for decades to make mRNA vaccines work — just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic. The illustrations help explain the science behind vaccines in simple terms, and the timeline at the end of the book gives just the right amount of extra information. I especially liked the quotes included throughout the book. (Millbrook Press, Released March 7 – yesterday!)

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way – Kyo Maclear

Inspiring story of Gyo Fujikawa, a pioneering Japanese American artist, muralist, and illustrator who published one of the first picture books in America to feature multicultural and multiracial children interacting with each other. Everything about this book was wonderful, including the subject herself, a fiercely strong and independent woman who was not only an accomplished artist, but also an advocate for equal pay. Back matter includes a piece of information about how Gyo refused to work for publishers who didn’t pay their artists working wage. She was also one of the first illustrators to ask for royalties on her books, saying, “Let’s not follow the old rules. Let’s make new ones.” (Tundra Books, 2019)

Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement – Angela Joy

In 1959, 14 yr. old Emmett Till was brutally murdered when he visited the south. Amidst unimaginable grief, this is the story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s brave decision to hold an open-casket funeral for her son sparked the Civil Rights Movement. Her courage inspired generations of activists including Rosa Parks. Winner of numerous awards this year for both illustrations (Caldecott honour) and nonfiction writing (Sibert Medal), this is a heart-breaking, powerful story that needs to be told. (Roaring Press, Sept, 2022)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope these books inspire you and your students to blaze a new trail!

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!


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