International Women’s Day is a yearly celebration devoted to the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This holiday encourages the community to recognize past achievements of celebrated women, as well as to look forward with the aim of accelerating women’s equality.
Thinking of a great way to do that? You can start by sharing the importance of women’s achievements in equality with the young people in your life. Check out this roundup of female children’s authors, curated by grade level, to help you and your family celebrate International Women’s Day this year.
Elementary School – Children’s Book Women Authors
For elementary-school-level readers (kindergarten through fifth grade), there is no shortage of great female children’s authors to choose from. Below are three of our favorite recommendations for books for elementary school students to read in celebration of International Women’s Day.
1. The Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary
Cleary’s well-loved Ramona series (including Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Beezus and Ramona, and many more) shares the story of spunky Ramona and her many adventures. Ramona is a relatable character for elementary-aged female readers, who will laugh at her antics and, perhaps, aspire to her level of confidence and embodiment of never taking yourself too seriously.
2. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The story of a fairy godmother, a handsome prince, an evil stepmother, and a girl named Ella who refuses to accept her cursed fate. Ella Enchanted takes the traditional elements of a fairy tale and weaves through them a story of resilience, bravery, and determination to encourage readers to speak up for themselves.
3. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Elementary school students may find commonality with the protagonist of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, Shirley Temple Wong, who moved from China to the United States in the 1940s and must navigate her new life. With themes of navigating the feeling of isolation and loneliness, the importance of family and friendship, and the idea of challenging what’s foreign or “other” to us, there’s something to connect with in this book for every elementary school reader.
Middle School – Children’s Book Women Authors
Middle school readers (grades 6–8) can start to appreciate and understand some of the more pressing political, social, and economic issues that women have struggled with throughout history. Check out these three books and female children’s authors as recommendations for middle school readers.
1. Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi
Year of Impossible Goodbyes tells the autobiographical story of the author’s escape from North Korea. It’s a powerful narrative that reveals truths around inequality, global relations, and oppression that middle school readers will benefit from learning about.
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Originally published in 1868, Little Women shares the coming-of-age stories of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and their various journeys. Dealing with themes of finding independence, going against the grain, love, marriage, and loss, Little Women conveys relatable and important messages that today’s young women can still learn from.
3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
This popular fiction series, published in 2001, centers around four young women and lifelong best friends who rely on a pair of pants to keep them connected as they go their separate ways for the summer. Each of the four characters—Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget—goes on their own journey and deal with issues like body positivity, female friendship, discovering inner strength, and what it means to be an adult.
High School – Children’s Book Women Authors
High schoolers on the cusp of adulthood are primed to tackle literature with more poignant themes and arguments for women’s equality. Here are three recommendations for books written by women, addressing important women’s issues, for high school students.
1. Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters
Define Normal is the unlikely friendship story of two girls—one punk and one preppy who come together over shared struggles and form a deep friendship. Peters’ popular novel reveals important truths around judging others based solely on their appearance.
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Bronte’s most renowned novel is a must-read for high school girls. Dealing with several challenges, including an abusive aunt, unrequited love, and an ongoing quest for happiness and equality, protagonist Jane remains one of literature’s most endearing and loved female characters.
3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Color Purple tells the story of “a poor, young, uneducated African-American girl named Celie who lives in rural Georgia in the early 1900s.” Throughout the course of her Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, Walker presents themes of racism, inequality, abuse, and more in a powerful way that high schoolers should examine.
Fostering an awareness of famous authors for young readers is a great way to help them develop a love and appreciation for reading, as well as to introduce them to important social, cultural, and political issues.
Looking for more great children’s book famous women authors? These books are all a part of Connections Academy’s approved book lists and represent the values, diversity, and standards that Connections Academy® instills in our online school curriculum. If you’re interested in learning more about Connections Academy and how it works, visit our program page here!