Looking for a way to introduce your child to issues of social awareness– but not quite sure how to do it in a way that’s age appropriate? Have no fear! We’ve rounded up a bunch of feminist children’s books to help you start the journey to raising a strong, feminist, patriarchy-smashing adult, whether your child is a girl or a boy or anything else on the gender spectrum.
Feminist Baby – Loryn Brantz
Some people may be familiar with Loryn Brantz because of her popular comics on Buzzfeed. Brantz’ Feminist Baby, her first stab at children’s books, is an adorable picture book aimed at kids ages 0-2, written as an attempt to help parents introduce feminism to their kids and to subsequently raise socially conscious individuals. According to TIME Magazine’s review of the book, Feminist Baby is about a “fearless and bold baby girl who unapologetically lives how she wants and doesn’t let the patriarchy keep her down.” Complete with endearing illustrations, Feminist Baby delivers a sweet message that young girls don’t have to let anything stop them.
Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice – Loryn Brantz
In the sequel to Feminist Baby, Feminist Baby tries her hand at a new activity– feminist activism. While the theme of the first installment in Feminist Baby focuses more on kids being allowed to be themselves, Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice encourages kids to stand up for causes that they believe in, and obviously features the same lovable illustrations as the first book. It’s a great addition to the adorable Feminist Baby series for parents looking to send a positive message to even the youngest children about following their dreams– regardless of gender.
Strong Is The New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves – Kate T. Parker
Strong Is The New Pretty began as a photography series for professional photographer Kate T. Parker, and turned into a heartwarming and inspiring book about the strength, independence, and resilience of young girls, that is resonant with adolescent girls and adults alike. Each photo includes an encouraging quote from the subject of the image on finding one’s worth outside of beauty, and escaping the cultural expectations about what girls are supposed to look like or do.
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition – Margot Lee Shetterly
Ever thought, “Hidden Figures is a great book for kids to learn about the amazing accomplishments of women, but it might be a little too advanced reading for my grade school kid?” Look no further– Margot Lee Shetterly has adopted the story we all know and love of four female African-American NASA mathematicians to be more accessible for a younger audience. The book is a great snapshot of a fascinating– and discriminatory– time in American history, as well as just an inspiring story to show young girls that they really can be anything they put their minds to.
Rad American Women A-Z – Kate Schatz
Kate Schatz’ Rad American Women A-Z helps recount the history of feminism for the junior activist in your life– with the added benefit of gorgeous illustrations and short, easily digestible biographies. It’s a great book for introducing grade school age kids to a wide variety of amazing American women who made history in their positions, including writers, teachers, lawyers, artists, activists, and beyond. One woman represents each alphabetical letter– starting with Angela Davis as “A” and ending with Zora Neal Hurston for “Z.” The book also concludes with 26 ways that young girls can become “rad” themselves by being strong leaders in their own communities.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark – Debbie Levy
I Dissent follows the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from her background as a child up to her famous disagreements, or “dissents,” and helps emphasize to young readers the importance of dissenting to unfair treatment. In Ginsburg’s time growing up as a woman, women were expected to be wives and mothers– not lawyers– and how the discrimination she faced as a Jewish female lawyer inspired her to be a strong advocate for the equality of all people. While the book is aimed at children aged 4-8 years, the book’s gorgeous illustrations and empowering message can be enjoyed by all.
Little Feminist – Board Book Set by Emily Kleinman
Emily Kleinman’s book series Little Feminist is comprised of stunning, colorful illustrations of women who made an impact in the world, geared towards children aged 0-5. Each of the four books in the series focuses on a specific type of historical woman, including artists, leaders, activists, and pioneers. Each portrait is included next to a short and simple sentence about what the woman did, inviting conversation between parents and children who might want to learn more.
A is for Activist – Innosanto Nagara
A is for Activist is an ABC board book written for parents who want to raise their children with social consciousness in mind. The book covers such important issues such as feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, civil rights, environmental justice, and workers’ rights, with the fun benefit of illustrations, lots of alliteration, and rhyming to boot. A black cat is able to found on every letter’s page, creating a fun game for children to search for the cat on top of learning about the importance of community, equality, and justice.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World – Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted is an adorable introduction to thirteen women who helped change the course of American history through their perseverance. It encompasses the many ways women in our country have refused to take no for an answer, and the amazing outcomes that that sort of strength and tenacity resulted in– and serves as a great reminder to young girls of all of the amazing things that they’re capable of if they don’t let obstacles get in their way.
Free to Be… You and Me – Marlo Thomas (and friends)
Free To Be… You and Me, the classic New York Times bestseller of the 70s, has been released in this special 35th anniversary edition, including brand new illustrations, and a CD of the same wholesome songs the book was initially released with. Free To Be’s central theme– that anyone can be anything, regardless of being a boy or a girl– still resonates today with kids and adults alike. Its message of being comfortable with your identity and allowing yourself to reject gender stereotypes might even be more relevant as transgender people start to gain more visibility, and could be a helpful tool in helping parents talk to their kids about gender identity and being your authentic self.