Real-Life Wonder Women: Nonfiction Titles To Celebrate & Help Create Badass Ladies

March is National Women’s History Month. To celebrate, let’s dig into some new titles that celebrate real-life heroines. This mix of narrative nonfiction, biographies and memoirs provides a great mix with something for everyone.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral and Getting it Done by Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser (March 2017)
Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you get started coding!

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings (June 2016)
Teen advocate and trailblazer Jazz Jennings–named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens” of the year by Time–shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef (November 2016)
Most people know Florence Nightingale was a compassionate and legendary nurse, but they don’t know her full story. This riveting biography explores the exceptional life of a woman who defied the stifling conventions of Victorian society to pursue what was considered an undesirable vocation. She is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and deadly conditions and made nightly rounds to visit patients, becoming known around the world as the Lady with the Lamp. Her tireless and inspiring work continued after the war, and her modern methods in nursing became the defining standards still used today.

Serena vs. Venus: How a Photograph Spotlighted the Fight for Equality by Danielle Smith-Liera (January 2017)
The final match of the 2001 U.S. Open featuring tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams was groundbreaking. It was first time siblings had squared off in the final match for more than 100 years. And it was the first time both players were black. The photo of the smiling Williams sisters holding their trophies after the tennis match appeared in newspapers around the globe. It captured two athletes who fought, and would continue to fight, for a place for women and African-Americans in tennis and the world beyond. (Note: I absolutely LOVE this series! We have all of the “Captured History” titles and they are perfect for research assignments, providing tons of context and analysis.)

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl (September 2016)
From the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z, comes a bold new collection of 40 biographical profiles, each accompanied by a striking illustrated portrait, showcasing extraordinary women from around the world. Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. From 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, the book features an array of diverse figures. (Note: A truly diverse range of women represented, spotlighting many women American children would otherwise never learn about.)

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (January 2017)
Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. (Note: I attempted to book talk this and before I got two words out of my mouth a student ran up and took it from my hand and said “Mine!” It was awesome.)

Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word by Nadia Abushanab Higgins (March 2016)
While most people believe in equal rights, the word feminism–America’s new F-word–makes people uncomfortable. Explore the history of US feminism and learn from modern leaders what it means to be a feminist–and why some criticize it. (Note: A great starter title on feminism perfect for middle school.)

Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone (February 2017)
Award-winning author Tanya Lee Stone deftly uses new research to illuminate the dramatic facts behind the film [Girl Rising], focusing both on the girls captured on camera and many others. She examines barriers to education in depth–early child marriage and childbearing, slavery, sexual trafficking, gender discrimination, and poverty–and shows how removing these barriers means not only a better life for girls, but safer, healthier, and more prosperous communities. (Note: Pair this with Malala Yousafzai’s memoir!)

Annotations taken from publisher descriptions.

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