32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models

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Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models
 

In order to empower girls and raise them to become confident women, we must provide them with a diverse set of positive role models – from courageous peers to determined activists, from strong athletes to amazing performers and successful business women.

These stunning multicultural picture books about strong female role models are sure to inspire young girls to follow their dreams and stand up for themselves and others.


32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models


Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
by Jeanette Winter

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Wangari's Trees of Peace

“People are fighting over water, over food…/ we plant the seeds of peace.” Wangari’s Trees of Peace tells the inspiring story of Kenyan environmentalist, Women’s Rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. When Wangari returns home from studying in the US, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down. She starts planting trees and soon inspires great change. ~ African – Preschool

More books about the environment: 22 Multicultural Children’s Books for Earth Day


If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks
by Faith Ringgold

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: If a bus could talk

On a magical bus ride to school Marcie learns about the story of Rosa Parks, the mother of the Civil Rights movement. She even meets Rosa Parks and some other distinguished guests at a birthday party. Illustrated with colourful folk-art style paintings, If a Bus Could Talk tells Rosa Park’s story in an unusual and bold way. ~ African – Elementary School

More books by Faith Ringgold: Author Spotlight: Faith Ringgold

More books about Black History: 21 Picture Books for Black History Month


When I Was Eight
by Christy Jordan-Fenton

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: When I was Eight

Strong-willed Olemaun wants to learn to read and persuades her father to let her go to residential school, despite his concerns. At the Catholic-run school the Inuit girl is stripped of her Native identity, humiliated and treated harshly. Olemaun remains undaunted and draws the attention of one nun who tries to break her spirit. When I was Eight is a stunning picture book adaptation of the bestselling memoir Fatty Legs, a true story about a remarkable girl and the power of the human spirit. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

More books about Native Americans: 32 Native American Children’s Books


Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education
by Raphaele Frier

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Malala

Beautifully illustrated Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education is the latest picture book about the brave girl from Pakistan. Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. At age 15, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age 18, Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. ~ Asian – Elementary School.


The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks
by Cynthia Levinson

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: The Youngest Marcher

9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest. Wanting to be able to do things like anybody else, she joined a march against segregation laws in Alabama in 1963. The Youngest Marcher is an inspiring picture book that shows that you’re never too little to make a difference. ~ African – Elementary School


Frida
by Jonah Winter

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Frida

This striking picture book tells the story of Frida Kahlo’s life in simple words and with gorgeous acrylic paintings full of Mexican folk art icons (monkeys, devils, smiling skeletons). Frida is a playful, insightful tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

More books set in Mexico: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico


The Legendary Miss Lena Horne
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: The Legendary Miss Lena Horne

“You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way.” Born into a family of teachers and activists. Lena Horne followed her dream to become an actress, despite facing racial discrimination, and many stereotypes. The Legendary Mis Lena Horne is an inspiring and beautifully illustrated picture book that celebrates the life of the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist. ~ African – Elementary School


The Story Of Ruby Bridges
by Robert Coles

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: The Story Of Ruby Bridges

In 1960 a judge orders little Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school in New Orleans. Surrounded by Federal Marshalls, Ruby faces angry mobs of segregationists as she walks through the school door on her first day (and many after). Being the only student in her class she is taught by a supportive teacher. With simple text and engaging watercolor illustrations, The Story of Ruby Bridges is a moving picture book about a little girl’s calm perseverance and gracious forgiveness in the ugly face of hate and racism. ~ African – Elementary School


One Plastic Bag
by Miranda Paul

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: One Plastic Bag

One Plastic Bag tells the inspiring story of Isatou Ceesay, the “Queen of Plastic Recycling of The Gambia”. Concerned about the amounts of plastic bags that were littering her village, Isatou started collecting them and crocheting them into purses. Her project became known internationally and brought environmental change as well as economic empowerment to the women in her community. ~ African – Elementary School

More books about the environment: 22 Multicultural Children’s Books for Earth Day


Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story
by S. D. Nelson

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Buffalo Bird Girl

This award-winning picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman – a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. With beautiful original artwork and archival photographs, Buffalo Bird Girl is a moving account of the lost way of life of a Native American community on the shores of the Missouri River. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

More books about Native Americans: 32 Native American Children’s Books


Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
by Deborah Blumenthal

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Fancy Party Gowns

“Wisps of cloth would fall from their worktables like confetti, / and Ann would scoop them up and turn them into flowers / as bright as roses in the garden.” Fancy Party Gowns is a beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known black fashion designer who – despite hardship and discrimination – pursued her passion and went on to design party gowns for America’s high society, including Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress. ~ African – Elementary School


Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth
by Anne Rockwell

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Only Passing Through

Sojourner Truth traveled the country in the latter half of the 19th century, speaking out against slavery and telling her own life story. Her simple yet powerful words helped people to understand the cruelty of slavery. Only Passing Through is a powerful picture book biography about one of the abolitionist movement’s most compelling voices. ~ African – Elementary School


Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson
by Sue Stauffacher

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Nothing But Trouble

Everyone sees Althea as trouble but play leader Buddy Walker sees potential in the young girl from Harlem. He buys her a tennis racket, and before long, she’s on her way to becoming a great athlete. Althea Gibson was the first African American ever to compete in and win the Wimbledon Cup. With lively text and vibrant paintings, Nothing But Trouble captures the exuberance, ambition, and triumph of this remarkable woman. ~ African – Elementary School


The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
by Jeanette Winter

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: The Librarian of Basra

“In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was ‘Read.’” When war comes to Iraq, librarian Alia Muhammad Baker takes matters into her own hands to protect the books from being destroyed. Every day she packs her car with books and takes them home, thus saving 70% of the 30,000 books in her library. The Librarian of Basra is a true story about an inspiring woman’s love of literature and respect for knowledge.  ~ Asian – Elementary School

More books celebrating books & reading: 15 Multicultural Children’s Books celebrating books & reading


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Voice of Freedom

This striking picture book biography chronicles the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the civil rights movement’s most inspiring leaders. With free-verse text, coupled with spirituals and quotes, and with stunning quilt-like collages, Voice of Freedom makes this amazing woman’s life story accessible to young readers. ~ African – Elementary SchoolMiddle School

For a more in-depth review of this book, go to: Multicultural Book of the Month: Voice of Freedom


Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Ella Fitzgerald

Ella’s fictional cat ‘Scat Cat Monroe’ tells the story of the amazing life of “the first lady of song”. With engaging text and vibrant illustrations, Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa celebrates the distinctive style of one of the most talented jazz performers and her impact upon contemporary music. ~ African – Elementary School

More books about jazz: 18 Multicultural Children’ss Books about Jazz


The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
by Pat Zietlow Miller

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Alta is excited: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. will be riding on a float at the parade. Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was who also came from hard times. But then a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race. Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship. ~ African – Elementary School

Also featured here: The 40 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2016


For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story
by Rebecca Langston-George

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: For The Right To Learn

Another wonderful picture book about brave young activist Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan. With lush illustrations and detailed text, For the Right to Learn focuses mostly on Malala’s life before she was shot. Readers learn how her father inspired people in his region to educate girls, and how her mother was determined to learn to read. The book explains how Malala spoke her mind in her blog and challenged people’s attitudes towards education for girls. ~ Asian – Elementary School

More books set in Pakistan: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan


Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
by Patricia Hruby Powell

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Josephine Baker

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker is a detailed portrait (104 pages!) of the legendary performer and civil rights activist. In lively free-verse, complemented by colourful acrylic illustrations, the picture book tells of the struggles and triumphs of this extraordinary woman and important figure of the Harlem Renaissance who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages of the world. ~ African – Elementary School

More books about the Harlem Renaissance: 15 Children’s Books about the Harlem Renaissance


That’s Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice
by Carmen Tafolla

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: That's Not Fair!

That’s Not Fair! tells the true story of Emma Tenayuca, a courageous and compassionate young Mexican-American girl in San Antonio in the 1920’s. Emma cared deeply about poverty and hunger during a time when many Mexican Americans were exploited in the city’s pecan-shelling factories. At the age of 21, Emma led 12,000 workers in the first significant historical action in the Mexican-American struggle for justice. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School


Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream
by Crystal Hubbard

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Catching The Moon

In the 1930s, Marcenia tries to earn a spot at famous baseball manager Gabby Street’s summer camp sponsored by the St. Louis Cardinals. But Mr. Street tells her there are no girls in his camp. Convinced that baseball is her destiny, Marcenia doesn’t give up, and proves her skill and passion to Mr. Street and her parents. Catching The Moon is a heartwarming picture book that will inspire children to follow their dreams. ~ African – Elementary School


My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela
by Monica Brown

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: My Name Is Gabriela

Gabriela Mistral loved words and sounds and stories. The Chilean poet and teacher inspired children across many countries to let their voices be heard. Gabriela became the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. Told with the rhythm a poem, My Name Is Gabriella is a beautifully crafted story about a remarkable woman. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School


My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz 
by Monica Brown

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: My Name Is Celia

Celia Cruz became a well-known singer in her homeland of Cuba, then moved to New York City and Miami where she and others created a new type of music called salsa. My Name is Celia is an exuberant picture book biography of the famous salsa singer. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School


Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter
by Kathy Whitehead

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Art From Her Heart

Imagine being an artist who isn’t allowed into your own show. That’s what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings of southern farm life went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the colour of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed. With lyrical writing and striking illustrations, Art From The Heart introduces children to the life and work of this amazing self-taught artist. ~ African – Elementary School


Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca
by Deborah Kogan Ray

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Paiute Princess

Born into the Northern Paiute tribe of Nevada in 1844, Sarah Winnemucca straddled the traditional life of her people and the modern ways of her grandfather’s white friends. She became a great leader who used condemning letters, fiery speeches, and her autobiography to tell of her people’s struggles through years of starvation, unjust relocations, and violent attacks. With expressive illustrations and extensive backmatter (including hand-drawn maps, a chronology, archival photographs, and author’s notes) Paiute Princess provides a fascinating insight into the life of this underrepresented historical figure. ~ Diverse – Elementary School


Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker
by Kathryn Lasky

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Vision of Beauty

Born just after slavery ended and orphaned at age seven, Sarah Breedlove Walker went on to become the richest African American woman of her time. Going bald as a young woman from years of poor nutrition and hard labour, she created a formula to restore the health of both hair and scalp and built her business into the Mme. C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, one of the biggest companies in America. Rich in historical detail and with expressive illustrations, Visions of Beauty is the rags-to-riches tale of a powerful role model for girls and women of all races. ~ African – Elementary School


Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina
by Maria Tallchief

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Tall Chief

Growing up on the Osage Indian reservation, Maria Tallchief was a gifted pianist and dancer. According to Osage tradition, women are not permitted to dance, but Maria’s parents recognized her gifts and allowed her to break the rule. When Maria turned twelve, her father asked her to choose between her two loves. Maria chose ballet – a decision that would change her life and the face of classical ballet in America. Tall Chief tells the fascinating story of Maria Tallchief’s rise to become America’s prima ballerina. ~ Diverse – Elementary School


Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee
by Marissa Moss

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Sky High

Young Maggie dreamed of flying, just like her favourite pilot, Amelia Earhart. She told her brothers and sisters stories of flying across oceans and deserts, and all around the world. Maggie went on to become one of only two Chinese American Women Airforce Service Pilots to serve in WWII. Sky High tells the inspiring story of this determined and brave woman who followed her dreams. ~ Asian – Elementary School


Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey from Slave to Artist
by Barbara Herkert

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Sewing Stories

As a young slave on a Georgia plantation, Harriet Powers learned to sew and quilt. She lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and eventually owned a cotton farm. Using each square to illustrate Bible stories and local legends, she began making pictorial quilts which she exhibited her at local cotton fairs. With lyrical text and colourful patchwork illustrations, Sewing Stories tells the story of this important African American folk artist. ~ African – Elementary School


Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Leontyne Price

Born in Mississippi in 1927, Leontyne Price surrounded herself with church hymns and hallelujahs, soaked up opera arias on the radio, and watched the great Marian Anderson on stage. While racism made it unlikely that a poor black girl from the South would pursue an opera career, Leontyne’s wondrous voice and unconquerable spirit prevailed. Leontyne was soon recognized and celebrated for her leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and around the world. Leontyne Price is a stunning picture book biography about the iconic African American opera star. ~ African – Elementary School


Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist
by Philip Dray

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Yours for Justiice

When Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from slavery. Strong willed and compassionate, Ida grew up never turning away from challenges. She held her family together after the death of her parents, went to court when a railroad company infringed on her rights and used her position as a journalist to speak out about injustice. But Ida’s greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells tells the inspirational story of this important figure in American history. ~ African – Elementary School


Oprah: The Little Speaker
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models: Oprah

At age three, Oprah began performing in churches, becoming known to adoring crowds as the Little Speaker. When she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered, “I want to be paid to talk.” Oprah: The Little Speaker is the story of Oprah Winfrey’s childhood, a story about a little girl on a Mississippi pig farm who grew up to be the “Queen of Talk.” ~ African – Elementary School


 *You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA, CAN or UK by clicking on the book titles or images*

 Multicultural Picture Book Biographies about Inspiring Women & Girls


Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Join us for our annual Women’s History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don’t miss our series from 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Women’s History on Pinterest.

March 1
modernmami on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Reasons Why We Celebrate Women’s History Month
March 2
The Jenny Evolution
March 3
Colours of Us: 32 Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models
March 6
modernmami
March 7
A Crafty Arab
March 8
Hispanic Mama
March 9
MommyMaestra
March 10
MommyMaestra on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 13
Crafty Moms Share
March 14
Mama Smiles
March 15
Bookworms and Owls
March 16
Creative World of Varya
March 20
La Cité des Vents on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 21
Pura Vida Moms
March 22
Melibelle in Tokyo
March 23
All Done Monkey
March 24
playexplorelearn
March 27
Family in Finland
March 28
the piri-piri lexicon
March 30
Let the Journey Begin


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Women's History Month Activity Printables



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2 Responses

  1. Coraline Grace
    | Reply

    These are great suggestions. 😉 My little one and I have read some, but will make our way to the library for others.

    I’m a children’s author and my book saving hero is a second grader named Pixie. She goes on a library quest to save the fairytales from loosing their story books. Alice In Wonderland and Cindi, or Cinderella are other strong female characters in this early chapter book.

    Pixie And The Green Book Mystery is now available on Amazon and the hard copy will be available on Friday.

    Thank you and happy reading my friends,

    Coraline Grace

    • Colours of Us
      |

      Good to hear you find the list useful! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to put the link to your book on my website. It sounds like a lovely book but Colours of Us is dedicated to only promoting children’s books with a multicultural main character. Good luck with your book!

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