Dreamers, Fighters, & “Daring”-doers: Women Who Made a Difference

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote this sentence in a 1976 article, and the more I read about the history of women’s accomplishments, the more I found this to be true. Thank goodness that today’s women have many more opportunities not only to DO what they want, but also to be recognized for their work.

The new and recent biographies below relate the stories of bold, independent women, not all of whom were well-behaved. Some of their names have often been shrouded in the past or just forgotten because they were women. Meet these trailblazers, activists, artists, athletes, and leaders in technology and politics and make sure that future generations know their names.



Alabama Spitfire : The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by Bethany Hededus (ill. by Erin McGuire). 9780062456700. 2018. Gr K-2.

Big Machines : The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker (ill. by John Rocco). 9780544715578. 2017. Gr K-2.

Bloom : A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear (ill. by Julie Morstad). 9780062447616. 2018. Gr PK-2.

The Flying Girl : How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle (ill. by Sara Palaeios). 9781481445023. 2018. Gr PK-2.

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown (ill. by John Parra). 9780735842694. 2017. Gr K-2.


Girl Running : Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon by Annette Bay Pimentel (ill. by Micha Archer). 9781101996683. 2018. Gr K-3.

Hidden Figures : The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (ill. by Laura Freeman). 9780062742469. 2018. Gr K-2.

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor : The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez (ill. by Felicita Sala). 9780399557255. March 2018. Gr PK-3.

Libba : The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotton by Laura Veirs (ill. by Tatyana Fazlalizader). 9781452148571. 2018. Gr K-3.

Midnight Teacher : Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann (ill. by London Ladd). 9781620141632. 2018. Gr K-3.

Nina : Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone by Alice Brieri-Haquet (ill. by Bruno Liance). 9781580898270. 2017. Gr PK-3.


Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson (ill. by Qin Leng). 9780062373304. 2018. Gr K-2.

Pocket Full of Colors : The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville (ill. by Brigette Barrager). 9781481461313. 2017. Gr K-2.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg : The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter (ill. by Stacy Innerst). 9781419725593. 2017. Gr 1-4.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? : The Story of Ada Lovelace by Tanya Lee Stone (ill. by Marjorie Priceman). 9781627792998. 2018. Gr K-3.




Born to Swing : Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz by Mara Rockliff (ill. by Michele Wood). 9781629795553. 2018. Gr 4-6.

Brave Jane Austen : Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel by Lisa Pliscou (ill. by Jen Corace). 9781627796439. 2018. Gr 1-4.

Danger Jane by Suzanne Slade (ill. by Alice Ratterree). 9781561459131. 2017. Gr 2-4.

Danza! : Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico by Duncan Tonatiuh. 9781419725326. 2017. Gr 2-4.

Harriet Tubman : Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry. 9780062691309. 2018. Gr 4-6.


A Lady Has the Floor : Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights by Kate Hannigan (ill. by Alison Jay). 9781629794532. 2018. Gr 3-6.

Mama Africa! : How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song by Kathryn Erskine (ill. by Charly Palmer). 9780374303013. 2017. Gr 2-5.

No Truth Without Ruth : The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Kathleen Krull (ill. by Nancy Zhang). 9780062560117. 2018. Gr 1-4.

Notorious RBG : Young Readers’ Edition by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik. 9780062748539. 2017. Gr 4-6.

Shaking Things Up : 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood. 9780062699459. 2018. Gr 2-5.


Streetcar to Justice : How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York by Amy Hill Hearth. 9780062673602. 2018. Gr 4-6.

Trailblazer : The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Leda Schubert (ill. by Theodore Taylor III). 9781499805925. 2018. Gr 2-5.

What Would She Do? : 25 True Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women by Kay Woodward. 9781338216400. April 2018. Gr 4-6.

The World Is Not a Rectangle : A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter. 9781481446693. 2017. Gr 1-4.




Becoming Madeleine : A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters by Charlotte Jones Voiklis & Lena Roy. 9780374307646. 2018. Gr 4-7.

The Girl Wo Drew Butterflies : How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman. 9780544717138. 2018. Gr 5-8.

Lillian Wald : America’s Great Social and Healthcare Reformer by Paul M. Kaplan. 9781455623495. 2018. Gr 7-10.

March Forward, Girl : From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals. 9781328882127. 2018. Gr 6-9.

Maya Lin : Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin. 9781452108377. 2017. Gr 5-9.

Meet Cindy Sherman : Artist, Photographer, Chameleon by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan. 9781626725201. 2017. Gr 4-8.


More Girls Who Rocked the World : Heroines from Ada Lovelace to Misty Copeland by Michelle Roehm McCann. 9781582706405. 2017. Gr 5-8.

Women Who Dared : 52 Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, & Rebels by Linda Skeers (ill. by Livi Gosling). 9781492653271. 2017. Gr 4-7.




Americanized : Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi. 9781524717797. 2018. Gr 8-12.

Because I Was a Girl : True Stories for Girls of All Ages edited by Melissa de la Cruz. 9781250154460. 2017. Gr 7-12.

Brazen : Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu. 9781626728691. 2018. Gr 7-12.

Claiming My Place : Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust by Planaria Price. 9780374305291. March 2018. Gr 7-12.

Mary’s Monster : Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge. 9781626725003. 2018. Gr 10-12.

Photographic : The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isagel Quintero & Zeke Pena. 9781947440005. March 2018. Gr 9-12.




Fire on the Track : Betty Robinson and the Triumph of the Early Olympic Women by Roseanne Montillo. 9781101906156. 2017. Gr 11-Adult.

Michelle Obama : Through the Lens of a White House Correspondent by Amanda Lucidon. 9780399581182. 2017. Gr 10-Adult.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes : A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone. 9780062430489. 2017. Gr 11-Adult.