11 Books to Empower Girls on International Day of the Girl

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Jesse Doogan

Staff Writer

Jesse Doogan writes about food, faith, books, and DIY projects, and sometimes even puts these things on her blog. She works in publishing and lives near Chicago with her cat. She tweets about all these things at @jadoogan.   Blog Twitter: @jadoogan

For six years, the United Nations has marked October 11 as the International Day of the Girl (also known as International Day of the Girl Child). Each year they choose a theme in the hopes of bringing attention to a special issue that effects girls around the world. This year, the theme is WithHer: a Skilled Girl Force. They hope that this October 11 will “mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.”

One of the best ways that I know how to empower and equip little girls is with books, so I rounded up ten books about women who used their brains and hearts to change the world.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Featuring stories of Alice Ball, Maya Angelou, Sojourner Truth, and more, this book tells the stories of 40 Black women who took a stand against a world that wouldn’t accept them.

Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly

The new classic has been rewritten for middle grade readers. Read the powerful story of four African American mathematicians who helped make some of NASA’s greatest discoveries.




women in science book cover imageWomen in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

Read the stories of 50 brilliant women in STEM fields in this wonderfully illustrated picture book for older children. Featuring Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Patricia Bath, and more.

Women in Sports by Rachel Ignofsky

The follow-up to Women in ScienceWomen in Sports uses the same charming illustration style to profile 50 fantastic female athletes, including Simone Biles, Billie Jean King, and more.

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

Take a trip through an imaginary museum dedicated to remarkable women in America’s history, including Helen Keller, Sally Ride, and Oprah Winfrey.

herstory book coverHerstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan

This book divides the biographies of amazing women into categories like Believe & Lead, Imagine & Create, Help & Heal, and more. Read about Rosa Parks, Rosalind Franklin, Mother Teresa, and more.

Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels by Linda Skeers

Read the stories of 52 female adventurers who blazed trails for women everywhere. Including the stories of Minnie Spotted Wolf, the first Native American marine; Helen Gibson, first female professional stunt person; and Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History…and Our Future!

An alphabet book of remarkable American women! Read the stories of women like Carol Burnett, Angela Davis, and Zora Neale Hurston. With pop-art illustrations and a resource guide.

Little Feminist Board Book Set by Emily Kleinman

This 4-pack of board books can teach your littlest girls that they can grow up to be anything they set their minds to. Four books feature one-sentence biographies of artists, pioneers, leaders, and activists like Harriet Tubman, Cleopatra, and Amelia Earhart.

Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible by Caryn Rivadeneira

Read the (sometimes) lesser-known stories of seventeen heroic women of the Bible retold in in the first person. With fun facts and discussion questions!

wonder womenWonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

Want to get off the beaten track of amazing women in history? Wonder Woman is for you! Author Sam Maggs has rounded up 25 lesser-known scientists, doctors, spies, innovators, and adventurers.