Since 2002, the Amelia Bloomer Project has created an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18. We are part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.
Feminism is alive and thriving, a movement with a rich history that constantly gets reshaped and redefined.
– Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan, Click p.17
As we honor strong, powerful girls and the books that inspire them, the Amelia Bloomer Project celebrates 2010, a year that has sounded a call to action for multiple generations of feminists to work together and reflected diversity of culture and format. We rejoice in stellar picture books with feminist content, welcome newly represented formats of zine, stencil and coloring books, and appreciate graphic novels that explore new visions for girls and women with a variety of artistic styles. These books encourage girls and young women to love themselves for who they are, overcoming issues of body image to create new cultural contexts that honor the beauty of all girls and women. Infinitely resilient, women and girls survive heartbreaking conditions to provide messages of hope to us all. We reimage our herstory through books that excite us with previously unknown jewels of information and empower us with historical fiction that challenges the past in which it was set and our own thoughts and actions now. Dystopian futures comment on practices around the world today and encourage us to change our behavior as well as inspiring us with sheroes who overcome unimagined odds. Girls and women embrace non-traditional roles that empower them and us.
…instinctively, we get that the scariest thing is not dying but not trying at all.
– Eve Ensler, I Am An Emotional Creature p.110
The Amelia Bloomer Project is part of the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibility Round Table. The committee members are Angela Semifero, Marshall District Library (MI); Beth Olshewsky, co-chair, Tulare County Office of Education (CA); Dana Campbell, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library (OR); Jennie Law, John Bulow Campbell Library (GA); Joy Worland, Joslin Memorial Library (VT); Linda Parsons, Ohio State University (OH); Maureen McCoy, co-chair, Brooklyn Public Library (NY).
Browning, Diane. Signed, Abiah Rose. 2010. Unpaged. Tricycle Press/ Random House, $15.99 (978-1-58246-311-7). PreS-Gr. 3.
Although she is a talented young artist, Abiah Rose is told that serious painting is “not girl’s work.” Undaunted, she secretly finds a way to sign her name to her art, while dreaming of an independent future.
Bunnell, Jacinta and Julie Novak. girls are not chicks coloring book. 2009. Unpaged. PM Press, $10.00 (978-1-60486-076-4). PreS-up.
A laugh-out-loud coloring book in which each panel offers a different vision of empowerment for girls and womyn of all ages.
Cossi, Olga. Pemba Sherpa. Illus. by Gary Bernard. 2009. Unpaged. Odyssey Books, $15.95 (978-0-9768655-8-2). PreS-Gr.3.
An early story of a woman who proved that girls–even little girls–could have the courage and heart to become Sherpa guides.
Edwards, Pamela Duncan. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea. Illus. by Henry Cole. 2010. Unpaged. Orchard Books, $16.99 (978-0-5451-5325-7). PreS-Gr.3.
Princess Pigtoria will not be tortured by the pea designed to test her delicateness, nor will she marry just any old pig!
Engle, Margarita. Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. Illus. by Julie Paschkis. 2010. Unpaged. Henry Holt, $16.99 (978-0-8050-8937-0). PreS-Gr.3.
Born in the seventeenth century, young Maria was blessed with artistic talent and an inquisitive mind which led her to solve the mystery of butterfly development.
Hopkinson, Deborah. Stagecoach Sal. Illus. by Carson Ellis. 2009. Unpaged. Hyperion, $15.99 (978-142311149-8). PreS-Gr.2.
When her father falls ill, young Sal gets her wish to drive the mail alone across the wilderness relying on her skills as a crack-shot and driver. Yet, in the end, it’s her quick thinking that defeats the famous bandit, Poetic Pete.
Landman, Tanya. Mary’s Penny. Illus. by Richard Holland. July 2010. Unpaged. Candlewick Press, $15.99 (978-0-7636-4768-1). PreS-Gr.2.
After her brothers fail, Mary meets her father’s challenge with creativity and intelligence and so inherits the family farm.
Annino, Jan Godown. She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader. Illus. by Lisa Desimini. 2010. Unpaged. National Geographic Children’s Books, $17.95 (978-1-4263-0592-4). K-Gr6.
Betty Mae Jumper became the first woman to be elected tribal leader for the Seminoles. She is also a storyteller, a nurse, an alligator wrestler, and helped to start a newspaper.
Brown, Tami Lewis. Soar, Elinor!. Illus. by François Roca. 2010. Unpaged. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.99 (978-0-374-37115-9). K-Gr.3.
When others say girls can’t fly, Elinor’s courageous spirit leads her to defy her critics, completing a dare that shows the world what a girl can do.
Glaser, Linda. Emma’s Poem. Illus. by Claire Nivola. 2010. Unpaged. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.00 (978-0-547-17184-5). Gr. K-4.
Emma Lazarus wrote the poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty, and she devoted her life to the respectful treatment of immigrants.
Johnson, Jen Cullerton. Seeds of Change. Illus. by Sonia Lynn Sadler. 2010. Unpaged. Lee & Low, $18.95 (978-1-60060-367-9). K-Gr.3.
Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai starts the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and inspires her countrywomen to protect the land and stand up for their rights.
Napoli, Donna Jo. Mama Miti. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. 2010. Unpaged. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (978-1-4169-3505-6). PreS-Gr.3.
Wangari Maathai and the women of Kenya transformed the countryside one tree at a time until the land and their spirits were restored.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis & Brian Pinkney. Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride. 2009. Unpaged. Disney/Jump at the Sun, $16.99 (978-0-7868-0767-3). K-Gr.4.
Soujourner Truth’s long purposeful strides carried her across the country to spread her message of freedom and equality.
Rosenstock, Barbara. Fearless: the true story of racing legend Louise Smith. Illus. by Scott Dawson. 2010. Unpaged. Dutton, $16.99 (978-0525421734). K-Gr.3.
Louise Smith discovered her “need for speed” at a time when most girls didn’t even drive; she went on to become a NASCAR racing legend.
Vernick, Audrey. She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story. Illus. by Don Tate. 2010. Unpaged. Collins, $16.99 (978-0-06-134920-1). K-Gr.3.
Effa Manley grew up loving baseball, founded and managed the Negro League’s Newark Eagles, and became the first woman in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Winter, Jonah. Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in Brooklyn/ La Juez Crecio en el Bronx. [bilingual] Illus. by Edel Rodriguez. 2009. Unpaged. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (978-1-4424-0303-1). PreS-Gr.3.
Supported by a loving family and propelled by her own hard work, Sonia Sotomayor succeeds at school, finding her way out of the projects to become a top notch lawyer, eventually serving on the Supreme Court.
Coombs, Kate. The Runaway Dragon. 2009. 292p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (978-0-3743-6361-1). Gr. 3-5.
Princess Meg’s dragon escapes from the palace grounds. Meg and her scrappy band of friends set out to find the dragon and encounter many adventures along the way.
Davis, Eleanor. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. 2009. 154p. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (978-1-59990-142-8). Gr. 3-5.
When the Secret Science Alliance loses its notebook to a rival inventor, the team of science wiz kids springs into action to retrieve their notebook and protect a treasure.
Engle, Margarita. The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba. 2010. 160p. Henry Holt & Co., $16.99 (978-0-8050-9082-6). Gr.5-up.
Three women of diverse backgrounds and perspectives help free one another from the constraints of society.
Fusco, Kimberly Newton. The Wonder of Charlie Anne. 2010. 266p. Random House/ Knopf, $16.99 (978-0-375-86104-8). Gr.4-6.
Charlie Anne struggles against proper behavior and everyday problems on a depression era farm.
Lasky, Kathryn. Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. 2010. 292p. Harpercollins, $16.99 (978-0-060-00071-4). Gr.4-8.
Maid Marian uses her unusual gift of communication with her falcons to conspire with Robin Hood and their band of friends to escape her captors and rescue a ransomed king.
McMullan, Margaret. Sources of Light. 2010. 233p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.00 (978-0-547-07659-1). Gr. 6-10.
Seeing the world through the lens of a camera increases Sam’s awareness and involvement with the social changes that rock her community: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962.
Quick, Barbara. A Golden Web. 2010. 266p. Harper Teen, $16.99 (978-0-06-144887-4). Gr. 5-10.
Using intelligence and wit, Alessandra overcomes the societal expectations of women to realize her dream, to become a female anatomist.
Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Ninth Ward. 2010. 217p. Little Brown, $15.99 (978-0-316-04307-9). Gr. 4-8.
When Hurricane Katrina breaks New Orleans’ levees, 12-year old Lanesha’s dreams of becoming an engineer and a builder of bridges anchor her determination to survive the flood and inspire her to rescue others as well.
Simone, Gail. Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian. Illus. by Bernard Chang, Aaron Lopresti, and Matt Ryan. 2009. 204p. DC Comics, $14.99 (978-1-4012-2513-1). Gr. 5-up.
Wonder Woman battles the supervillain Genocide to reclaim her lasso and her power.
Smelcer, John. The Great Death. 2009. 166p. Henry Holt, $16.99 (978-0-8050-8100-8). Gr.6-up.
When their Alaskan village is ravaged by the Great Death, two sisters set out on a journey to save one another, meeting previously unimaginable challenges.
Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye. 2010. 176p. Philomel, $14.99 (978-0399252365). Gr. 4-9.
Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s teenage sister, solves a case involving a kidnapped heiress and a mystery involving the Holmes family members.
Taylor, Sarah Stewart & Ben Towle. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. 2010. 78p. Disney Hyperion Books, $17.99 (978-1-4231-1337-9). Gr. 4-6.
In Newfoundland, Canada, Grace, an aspiring girl reporter meets Amelia on the eve of her 1928 transatlantic crossing. Their parallel journeys of self-determination and growth coincide as Amelia inspires Grace.
Williams, Rita Garcia. One Crazy Summer. 2010. 218p. HarperCollins, $15.99 (978-0-06-076088-5). Gr.4-7.
Delphine and her sisters anticipate a reunion with their mother, which unexpectedly means a summer spent at a Black Panther youth camp in 1968 Oakland.
Yolen, Jane. Foiled. Illus. by Mike Cavallaro. 2010. 160p. First Second, $15.99 (978-1-5964-3279-6). Gr. 6-12.
Ace fencer Aliera bravely takes up the mantel of the world’s defender.
Ali, Nujood. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced. 2010. 192p. Three Rivers, $12.00 (978-0-307-58967-5). Gr.4-8.
In 2008, 10-year-old Nujood Ali became the first child bride from Yemen to secure a divorce from her much older husband, freeing her from a forced marriage of rape and abuse.
Crysdale, Joy. Fearless Female Journalists. 2010. 118p. Second Story Press, $10.95 (978-1-897187-71-5). Gr.5-up.
These ten women changed the world and encourage everyone to be truly courageous, to speak truth and create change.
George-Warren, Holly. The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off To America’s Women Of The West. 2010. 128p. Houghton Mifflin, $18.00 (978-0-618-73738-3). Gr.4-up.
A history of the hard-working, risk-taking American cowgirl, from the earliest Western ranches, to the rodeos of today.
Hamen, Susan E. Clara Barton: Civil War Hero & American Red Cross Founder. 2010. 112p. ABDO Publishing Company, $32.79 (978-1-6045-3960-8). Gr.5-8.
The Angel of the Battlefield tended soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, pioneered for women’s rights, and founded the Red Cross in America.
Rothery, Louise. Lest We Forget: A Salute to the Women Who Entered Corporate America Without a Road Map. 2009. 56p. Seawordy, $12.00 (978-0-615-30683-4). Gr. 4-up.
Whimsical line drawings share messages about sexism and discrimination.
Schraff, Anne. Ellen Ochoa: Astronaut and Inventor. 2010. 128p. Enslow, $31.93 (978-0-7660-3163-0). Gr.4-7.
Breaking racial and gender barriers, Ellen Ochoa becomes the first Latina astronaut and continues to inspire youth across America today.
Warrick, Karen Clemens. Sandra Cisneros: Inspiring Latina Author. 2010. 128p. Enslow, $31.93 (978-0-7660-3162-3). Gr.4-7.
Facing poverty and racism, the only girl in a large Latino family becomes a best-selling author, humanitarian, and activist.
Chevalier, Tracy. Remarkable Creatures. 2010. 320p. Dutton, $26.95 (978-0-525-95145-2). Gr.9-up.
Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot forge an unusual partnership as they struggle for recognition of fossil discoveries in a scientific community disinclined to acknowledge women.
Doctorow, Cory. For the Win. 2010. 475p. Tom Doherty Associates, $17.99 (978-0-7653-2311-8). Gr.7-up.
The sweatshop workers of the virtual world unite with one another and with traditional workers across continents and languages to fight for better conditions.
Ensler, Eve. I Am an Emotional Creature : The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. 2010. 148p. Villard, $20.00 (978-1-4000-6104-4). Gr. 7-12.
This empowering collection imagines the inner thoughts, feelings, fears, and dreams of girls around the globe.
Fox, Janet. Faithful. 2010. 366p. Speak, $8.99 (978-0-142-41413-2). Gr. 8-12.
In 1904, sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennett is torn from her life of privilege, landing in the wilds of Montana. She gradually embraces previously inconceivable possibilities for personal and professional growth.
Greene, Michele Dominguez. Keep Sweet. 2010. 215p. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (978-1-4169-8681-2). Gr. 9-up.
Alva Jane, raised in an isolated religious community, must question everything she has ever known and learn to trust herself, in order to survive.
Haines, Lise. Girl in the Arena. 2009. 324p. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (978-1-5999-0372-9). Gr. 9-12.
Lynn lives in a world dominated by male gladiator culture. When her father is killed in the arena and she is forced to marry his killer, Lynn subverts the ruling order.
Hoffman, Alice. Green Witch. 2010. 144p. Scholastic Press, 17.99 (978-0-545-14195-6). Gr. 7-12.
Green becomes a leader as she helps her community make new beginnings after the almost complete destruction of their way of life.
McKay, Sharon. Thunder Over Kandahar. Photographs by Rafal Gerszak. 2010. 247 p. Annick Press, $12.95 (978-1-55451-266-9). Gr. 7-up.
Two girls with very different backgrounds face challenges from family, the Taliban, and harsh terrain as they flee their circumstances.
McNees, Kelly O’Connor. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. 2010. 352p. Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $24.95 (978-0-399-15652-6). Gr. 9-12.
The author imagines a summer in which Alcott, 22, falls in love with a young man who returns that love and supports her dreams. Complicated choices reflect her independence, thoughtfulness, and strength of character.
North, Pearl. Libyrinth. 2009. TOR, $17.99 (978-0-7653-2096-4). Gr.6–up.
Haly and her companions from the Libyrinth race to save the magical Book of the Night from the illiterate, book-burning Eradicants.
O’Brien, Caragh M. Birthmarked. 2010. 360p. Roaring Brook Press, $16.99 (978-4-59643-5698). Gr.7-up.
In a dystopian future, sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia, struggles to interpret a secret code to save her family and members of her region.
Oliveira, Robin. My Name is Mary Sutter. 2010. 364p. Penguin/ Viking, $26.95 (978-0-670-02167-3). Gr.10-up.
Mary Sutter’s indomitable determination to become a surgeon interweaves with a vivid account of the grizzly realities of the Civil War.
Nasrin, Taslima. Revenge. Translated by Honor Moore. 2010. 176p. Feminist Press, $15.95 (978-155861659-2). Gr. 10-up.
By taking control of her own body, Jhumur regains the confidence and independence she experienced before her marriage to a traditional Muslim man.
Okorafor, Nnedi. Who Fears Death. 2010. 386p. Daw Books, $24.95 (978-0-7564-0617-2). Gr. 11- up.
In post-apocalyptic Sudan, a young sorceress overcomes the stain of the genocidal rape from which she was conceived to rewrite relations between races and sexes.
Oron, Judie. Cry of the Giraffe. 2010. 190p. Annick Press, 12.95. (978-1-55451-271-3). Gr. 10-up.
Based on a true story, Wuditu, an Ethiopian Jewish girl, endures life in a refugee camp, slavery, and rape- and survives.
Rosoff, Meg. The Bride’s Farewell. 2009. 224p. Viking, $24.95 (978-0-670-02099-7). Gr.7-up.
Fearing a lifetime of married servitude and domestic drudgery in rural England, 15 year-old Pell flees her home on the eve of her wedding accompanied by her beloved horse and younger brother.
Rucka, Greg. Batwoman: Elegy. Illus. by J.H. William and J.G. Jones. 2010. 192 p. DC Comics, $24.99. (978-1-4012-2692-3). Gr. 7-up.
Batwoman, gutsy, strong and courageous, stands up to enemies and institutions in this visually captivating book.
Ackmann, Martha. Curveball, the Remarkable Story of Toni Stone: The First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League. 2010. 274p. Lawrence Hill Books, $24.95 (978-1-55652-796-8). Gr.9-up.
Blazing her way into the Negro Leagues, Toni Stone overcomes gender and racial barriers to become the first female professional baseball player.
Aronowitz, Nona Willis and Emma Bee Bernstein. Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism. 2009. 221p. Seal Press, $19.95 (9781580052733). Gr.11-up.
Two young women take a feminist road trip interviewing women of all ages and walks of life across America.
Campbell, Susan. Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl. 2009. 215p. Beacon Press, $24.95 (978-0-8070-1066-2). Gr.9-up.
Susan Campbell uses humor and insight to describe her unlikely journey from fundamentalist Christianity to feminism.
Kim, Susan and Elissa Stein. Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation. 2009. 288p. St.Martin’s Griffin, $27.99 (978-0-3123-7996-4). Gr.7-up.
Vintage ads and a cheeky sense of humor cast a light on the cultural attitudes, products and practices of menstruation over time.
Marck, Bernard. Women Aviators: From Amelia Earhart to Sally Ride, Making History in Air and Space. 2009. 240p. Flammarion, $45.00 (978-2080-3010-86). Gr.7-up.
Visually stunning overview of international aviation pioneers, women who broke gender barriers.
Markel, Lindsey. You Are Among Friends: Advice For the Little Sisters I Never Had. 2010. 21p. lulu.com, $7.99 (978-0-5572-1817-2). Gr.7-12.
Markel gives concise, frank advice to teenage girls about how to be themselves and how to stand as strong feminist individuals as they grow toward adulthood.
Martin, Courtney E. and J. Courtney Sullivan, eds. Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. 2010. 237p. Seal Press, $16.95 (978-1-5800-5285-6). Gr.8-up.
An engaging collection of essays surrounding the pivotal moment each contributor claimed the label of feminist for themselves.
Parks, Sheri. Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture. 2010. 242p. One World/ Ballantine, $25.00 (978-0-345-50314-5). Gr.10-up.
The Sacred Dark Feminine calls women young and old to confront injustice and stand up to power.
Queen of the Neighborhood, ed. Revolutionary Women A Book of Stencils. 2010. 107p. PM Press, $12.00 (978-1604862003). Gr. 7-up.
A captivating collection of short biographies and stencil images of female activists, revolutionaries and leaders from diverse geographic areas and time periods.
Renn, Crystal and Marjorie Ingall. Hungry. 2009. 231p. Simon & Schuster, $25.00 (978-1-4391-0123-0). Gr. 8-up.
Crystal Renn , a famous plus-size model, tells of her struggle to overcome her eating disorder and change the cultural view of beauty with amazing wit, honesty, and awareness.
Stuller, Jennifer K. Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology. 2010. 272p. I.B. Tauris, $17.00 (978-1-8451-1965-2). Gr.9-up.
Stuller presents the female heroes of modern myth and the superwomen who break traditional male barriers in comics, film, and television.
Traister, Rebecca. Big Girls Don’t Cry. 2010. 336p. Simon & Schuster, Inc./ Free Press, $26.00 (978-1-4391-5028-3). Gr. 10-up.
Traister’s insightful account shines a feminist light on the media moments, principal players, and public opinion of the 2008 election.
Wels, Susan. Amelia Earhart: The thrill of it. 2009. 207p. Running Press, $35.00. (978-0-7624-3763-4). Gr. 7-up.
America’s record-breaking aviatrix, Amelia Earhart pursued her passions, broke gender barriers, and inspired generations of women to take to the skies.
Wooldridge, Connie Nordhielm. The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton. 2010. 192p. Clarion. $20 (978-0-547-23630-8). Gr. 7-12.
New Yorker Edith Wharton, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, chose a decidedly unconventional lifestyle during the Gilded Age.