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Six Popular Biography Series Featuring Women Heroes

by Peggy Reimers
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When I was teaching, biographies were limited to encyclopedias or to a rainbow-colored covered book called “Biography Today.(Yes, I am that old.) It was published once a year, and I located it in the school library. It said right on the cover, “Profiles of People of Interests to Young Readers.” But today, I visited my local library and searched the internet. WOW. The selection of biographies available today is astonishing. I am amazed and thrilled at what I found. Check out these six series that will have you celebrating Women’s History Month (WHM) every day of the year.

1. Ordinary People Change the World 

Author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos were determined to create biographies highlighting American heroes. Brad’s motto is, “It’s a time in America where we need goodness, kindness, and Kermit the Frog lessons.” In this series of picture books and graphic novels for K-2 students, each biography includes influences, timelines, and photos. And each hero exhibits a trait that makes them a role model for the reader. Check out supplemental resources on their website. Here are some titles specific to WMH:

  • Marie Curie
  • Malala Yousafzai
  • Billie Jean King    
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Anne Frank
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Sacagawea
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Jane Goodall
  • Helen Keller
  • Lucille Ball
  • Rosa Parks
  • Amelia Earhart

2. Who HQ

This series of illustrated biographies written by multiple authors is packed with history, culture, and illustrations on each page. Appropriate for grades 3-7, each biography offers timelines to include personal life and world events. Check out the educator section on this website. The selection for female biographies is extensive, and here is just a small sampling:

  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Celia Cruz
  • Selena
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Venus and Serena Williams
  • Princess Diana
  • Lucille Ball
  • Jacqueline Kennedy
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Julia Child
  • Rachel Carson
  • Dolly Parton
  • Abigail Adams
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Michelle Obama
  • Maria Tallchief
  • Annie Oakley

3. Little Feminist Board Book Sets

If you’re looking for something to highlight women heroes to younger learners, these durable books are perfect for infants to age two. These board books, written by Emily Kleinman and illustrated by Lydia Ortiz, feature colorful portraits of women. And each woman has made a historical impact on the world. Here is a list of the sets offered, and each set comes with four books:

  • Little Feminist
  • Little Feminist Activists
  • Little Feminist Pioneers
  • Little Feminist Artists
  • Little Feminist Leaders

4. She Persisted

These picture and chapter books, written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, are great for students in grades K-3. Each picture book tells the story of more than 10 women who never took no for an answer. These women always, inevitably, and without fail, persisted. Chelsea and Alexandra invited other authors and illustrators to write a series of chapter books about women who spoke up and defied the odds. You can join the monthly book club for an author video and Q&A and get the downloadable guide here.

Picture Books:

  • She Persisted
  • She Persisted in Science
  • She Persisted Around the World
  • She Persisted in Sports

Chapter books:

  • Harriet Tubman
  • Claudette Colvin
  • Sally Ride
  • Virginia Apgar
  • Nellie Bly
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Florence Griffith JOyner
  • Ruby Bridges
  • Clara Lemlich
  • Maragret Chase Smith
  • Maria Tallchief
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Wangari Maathai
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Helen Keller

5. Little People, Big Dreams

These biographies, by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and various illustrators, are for younger readers in grades K-3. And they each have adorable illustrations for readers to enjoy. Each life is told as a story with facts and a photo section at the back of the book. There are more than 100 titles! A selection geared to WMH includes:

  • Kamala Harris
  • Yoko Ono
  • Iris Apfel
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Mary Shelley
  • Amanda Gorman
  • Ella Fitzgerald

6. You Should Meet

This nonfiction biography series was written by Laurie Calkhoven and various other authors. It focuses on inspirational people who have achieved amazing success in their field. These paperbacks are Ready-to-Read Level Three books for first grade and up. Female titles include:

  • Misty Copeland
  • Mae Jemison
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Roberta Gibb
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Yayoi Kusama

For more books with a STEM focus, check out this blog. Or for more WMH books, click here.


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