Women who Changed the World

Women Who Changed the World

Get inspired by women whose work and lives made the world different.  Read these stories for Women's History Month or anytime of year.

Compiled by:
Ellen A.
Anne Frank

Stephen Krensky
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Frank Kre)
Series: DK Life Stories

In this kids' biography, discover the incredible story of Anne Frank, the courageous young writer who hid from the Nazis during World War II.

Becoming Emily

Krystyna Poray Goddu
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Dickinson God)

A middle-grade introduction to the life of the celebrated poet challenges popular misconceptions about her reclusive nature to explore her unusually high level of education, her close ties to friends and family members, and the poems she shared through her prolific correspondence.

Before She Was Harriet: The Story of Harriet Tubman

Lesa Cline-Ransome
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Tubman Cli)

A lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman honors the woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life, discussing her roles as a slave, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, a nurse, a Union spy, and a suffragist.

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon

Suzanne Slade
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Johnson Sla)

Shares the story of the pioneering African American mathematician, Katherine Johnson, who helped calculate America's first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world's first trip to the moon. 

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression

Carole Boston Weatherford
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 770.92 Lange Wea)

Describes the life and career of the famous photographer, from her childhood struggles with polio to her iconic photographs of the Great Depression.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music

Margarita Engle
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Eng)

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.

Florence Nightingale

(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Nightingale Dem)

A picture book introduction to the female pioneer in medicine chronicles how Florence Nightingale revolutionized health care by promoting cleanliness, nutrition and organization in hospitals. 

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Catherine Thimmesh
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 609.2 Thi)

An updated edition of the best-selling guide features seven new chapters that reflect today's diverse and increasingly technological world.

Herstory: Women Who Changed the World

Ruth Ashby, Deborah Gore Ohrn
- Editors
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 920 He)

A very special collection of short biographies offers insightful sketches of the lives and accomplishments of 150 of history's most influential and brilliant women, including Clara Barton, the legendary Trung Sisters of medieval Vietnam, and many others.

Ida B. Wells: Fighter for Justice

Diane Bailey
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Wells-Barnett Bai)
Series: Discovering History's Heroes

A portrait of African American journalist and activist Ida B. Wells describes the experiences that inspired her work fighting against racial inequality, political discrimination and lynching in the late 19th-century South.

The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown

Mac Barnett
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Brown Bar)

A picture-book biography of the legendary author of Goodnight MoonRunaway Bunny and other children's classics shares insights into her life and enduring literary influence.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World

Vashti Harrison
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 920.72 Har)

Presents the lives of women creators throughout history, including profiles of Ada Lovelace, Bessie Blount Griffin, Yayoi Kosama, and Calypso Rose.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Vashti Harrison
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 920 Har)

Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words

Karen Leggett Abouraya
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Yousafzai Abo)

The inspiring true story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who has become an international activist for universal education, with beautiful collage illustrations by award-winning artist Susan L. Roth.


Patrick McDonnell
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mcd)

Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, young Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzan books, and dreams of living in Africa and helping animals. Includes biographical information on the prominent zoologist.

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom

Teresa Robeson
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Wu Rob)

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school. But her parents named their daughter "Courageous Hero" and encouraged her love of science. This biography follows Wu as she battles sexism at home and racism in the United States of America to become what Newsweek magazine called the "Queen of Physics" for her work on how beta decay.

Rise: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Bethany Hegedus
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Angelou Heg)

A biography of African American writer, performer, and activist Maya Angelou, who rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime. Includes afterword, author's note, and sources.

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World

Susan Hood
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.4 Hoo)

An ensemble of leading women picture book creators join together to promote education and celebrate the Women's March through tributes to 14 of history's young female revolutionaries, including Malala Yousafzai, Molly Williams and Nelly Bly. 

She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed the World

Chelsea Clinton
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 920 Cli)

Profiles the lives of thirteen women who have left their mark on world history, including Caroline Herschel, Marie Curie, Mary Verghese, and Malala Yousafzai.

Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams

Howard Bryant
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 796.34292 Williams Bry)

Tells the story of the highly successful tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, laying out their humble beginnings, hard work, mutual support, and their resulting extraordinary achievements in tennis.

Viva Frida

Yuyi Morales
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 750.92 Kahlo Mor)

Bilingual text, accompanied by colorful photographs, explores the famous artist's life, and illuminates the laughter, love, and tragedy that influenced her work.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Carole Boston Weatherford
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 323.092 Wea)

Presents a collage-illustrated treasury of poems and spirituals inspired by the life and work of civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer.

A Voice Named Aretha

Katheryn Russell-Brown
(Juvenile Nonfiction -J 780.92 Franklin Rus)

In this stirring biography of a true artistic and social icon, young readers learn how Aretha Franklin's talent, intelligence, and perseverance made her a star who will shine on for generations to come.

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

Franck Prevot
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Maathai Pre)

A picture book introduction to the achievements of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai describes her non-violent advocacy of democracy in Africa and her organization's diligent environmental efforts.

Wilma's Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller

Doreen Rappaport
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Mankiller Rap)
Series: Big Words

Wilma's courageous dedication to serving her people led to her election as the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. As leader and advocate, she reinvigorated her constituency by empowering them to identify and solve community problems.