Five books to inspire female leaders of the future

By Cara Hunt

Tribune Features Writer


What better way to celebrate International Woman’s Day than to inspire a new generation of female leaders?

Whether you want to introduce the young girls in your life to your own personal “sheroes” or introduce them to women they may choose to emulate, here several books that showcase female power at its finest geared toward younger readers.

1. The Little Leaders series by Vashti Harrison

Bold Women in Black History, Little Dreamers: Visionary Woman Around the World and Dream Big, Little One

These books are an excellent way to inspire a new generation of female leaders. The debut book features the biographies of 40 Black trailblazing women in a wide array of professions; they are scientists, artists, politicians, pilots, mathematicians, poets, filmmakers and actresses,

The sequel looks at women from different cultures and time periods, such as architect Zaha Hadid, modernist painter Mary Blair, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu and artists like Frida Kahlo.

  1. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

This book that has broken several Kickstarter funding records introduces young readers to 100 women who are great female role models. The book has received a lot of praise for steering clear of the Disney ‘damsel in distress’ narrative and focusing on positive messages for young women that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be, regardless of their nationality or background.

3. Michelle’s Garden - How The First Lady Planted Seeds of Change by Sharee Millers

Fans of Michelle Obama, America’s first African American First Lady have no doubt read her autobiography Becoming which tells the story of how a little Black girl from Chicago’s South Side grew up to become a Harvard law graduate and marry the country’s first African American president.

While her personal journey to the White House may be a bit advanced for most young girls, Michelle’s Garden is the perfect introduction to the Obama era.

It focusses on the First Lady’s pet project - the White House Garden – and her efforts to help American children learn healthy eating habits.

4. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

It has been almost 26 years since former First Lady Hillary Clinton told the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing that women’s rights were human rights.

Chelsea Clinton has certainly benefitted from her mom’s influence and is continuing to spread the message of female power to her children. She Persisted tells the stories of Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayo . Interestingly, she did not feature her famous mom in the book, saying she didn’t want her to overpower the book.

5. Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya

This book has been described as stunning both in its message and its presentation, and is a NAACP Image Award Nominee.

The story is about Wangari Muta Maathai who founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in 1977.

The project saw Kenyan women plant trees throughout the country. Not only did it help with deforestation, it also provided a small stipend to help the women take care of their families. The programme expanded throughout the world and Mama Miti became the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize.


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