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Brilliant Books to Celebrate Women’s History Month in 2024

25+ children’s books about women and girls who have accomplished amazing and unexpected things

Published on: March 15, 2024

Brilliant Books to Celebrate Women’s History Month in 2024

Teenage girl lying in the grass reading a young adult book

Young adult titles

Book coveer of Mary's MonsterAudacity” by Melanie Crowder 

This award-winning book tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought for equal rights. Clara worked in the factories of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and refused to accept substandard work conditions. She was instrumental in organizing and inspiring the famous Uprising of the 20,000. This book is written in verse and reads like poetry; a beautiful way to tell such an inspiring story.

Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World” by  Lynn Hill

In the male dominated word of rock climbing, Lynn Hill is one of the best in the world. She has done climbs that no one else (of any gender) has even been able to repeat. This book is an engaging telling of her life story, including her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her youth as a stunt artist for Hollywood, and the tragedies and triumphs of her life in the vertical world. If you’ve got a fan of adventure or sports in your house, this book should be on their list  

Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein” by Lita Judge

Mary Shelley’s storied life defies conventional biographies. The acclaimed 19th-century author left home as a pregnant teenager. She had family and romantic relationships that define the word “complicated.” And she created one of the most iconic and disturbing monsters in modern history.

Fittingly, this is no conventional biography. Lita Judge tells Shelley’s story in free verse over the top of dark, gorgeous and angsty illustrations. Grief, anger, pain, passion, art and literary genius adorn every page.

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Right for Reproductive Rights” by Karen Blumenthal

Students are often desperate to debate abortion and contraception in high school, but many teachers shy away from, or outright ban, such subjects in the classroom, fearing community pushback. This book is a perfect resource for teens interested in the legal and social twists that the fight for reproductive rights has taken. In the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, it is more important than ever to understand this history. 

Written by Karen Blumenthal, a financial journalist turned YA author, the book takes a deep and fascinating look at the historical causes and conflicts of reproductive rights from multiple angles. While the author clearly supports abortion rights, opposing viewpoints are not vilified. This is an important and necessary book that will likely become increasingly relevant in the months and years to come.

Book cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican DaughterI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika L. Sánchez

Julia’s story begins at her sister’s funeral. Even in death, her sister Olga is unstylish.

Olga had always been the perfect Mexican daughter: She sat at home with her parents, cooked, cleaned and attended prayer groups with Amá. Julia, to the eternal consternation of her parents, is the opposite.

As Julia navigates her grief and depression, balances family pressures and contemplates her future, she is confronted with a mystery. Olga had been hiding something from everyone. Between stealthy trips to Olga’s room, a much-needed respite in Mexico and bus rides to Evanston, Julia digs through Olga’s past and learns that nobody is as perfect as they seem.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo

Scooping up all the big literary awards (National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Stonewall Medal Award, a Printz Honor), “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” very much earns the hype. The 17-year-old Lily falls in love with Kath and discovers the lesbian nightlife scene that is beginning to thrive in San Francisco. But it’s the height of the Red Scare, Lily’s family is Chinese, and her father’s loyalties are in question. Coming out seems impossible.

The writing is gorgeous, layering foggy San Francisco scenes, Chinese customs and historical details into the plot. The slowly burning romance is beautifully written. Know that sexuality and sensuality are major themes in the novel.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know” by Samira Ahmed

On her yearly summer holiday in Paris, 17-year-old Khayyam is on two missions. The budding art historian’s first task is to investigate the mysterious Leila in Lord Byron’s epic poem. The other is to detangle her own love life, navigating interactions with her possible-ex-boyfriend at home and the charming Alexandre in Paris.

Intertwined with this contemporary tale is Leila’s 19th-century story. In her author’s note, Samira Ahmed points out, “When we say history is written by the victors, we mean history is written by the patriarchy.” Unlike Lord Byron, both Ahmed and her fictional Khayyam give the historical Leila a voice.

Other young adult titles to check out:

Want more?

Check out Rise: A Feminist Book Project for Ages 0–18. Part of the Feminist Task Force and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association, the website presents an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers.

More required reading

Editor’s note: This booklist was first published in 2022 and has been updated for 2024 including new titles.

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