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.
it is time to remember
time to summon our voices from the belly of the earth
time to feel, cry, rage, heal, and to truly live life instead
Helen Knott (Dane Zaa/Cree)
from “The Things We Taught Our Daughters” in #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women
Girls and women are asserting their truth around the world as they write their own stories, make their voices heard, and demand change. We, too, learn, create, remember and share, support, and believe as we curate our booklist of notable feminist literature for people from birth to age eighteen that reflects the myriad truths of people worldwide.
We, too, learn
We learn from and teach one another, whether it be in an outdoor classroom as in Ahimsa; or online from the scholar-activists who wrote The Crunk Feminist Collection. Education is a basic human right, and we are determined to deconstruct any and all barriers to it--starting with the ones described in Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time. Tanya Lee Stone asserts in Girl Rising, “Because educating girls literally changes how nations behave. Educating girls changes how governments function. It changes economies and jobs. It changes the shape of healthcare. It’s changes how families are raised.”
We, too, create
“Great art is life-changing,” says Bridget Quinn in Broad Strokes: 15 Women who Made Art and Made History (In That Order). Whether it’s collages (Piecing Me Together), zines (The First Rule of Punk, Moxie), fine art (Broad Strokes), essays (The Crunk Feminist Collection), or all of the above (#NotYourPrincess), our list is filled with the acts of creation. These acts range from creating to live to creating to resist. We affirm the right to create and express oneself in the way that is best and makes the most sense to the individual.
We, too, remember and share
We, too recognize the need to bear witness and to serve as witness, sharing our stories and the stories of others, whether they be the rebellion-seeding oral histories in The One Hundred Nights of Hero or the revolutionary writings of Malala’s Magic Pencil. As Amani Al-Khatahtbeh writes in Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, “[w]e are the ones reclaiming our voices, the ones talking back, and the ones reminding the world that no, we haven’t forgotten.”
We, too, remember. We, too, will make sure the world remembers these stories.
We, too, support
Like Big Bob and Little Bob, we support people of all genders to play, imagine, dress, dream as their full selves despite pressure to conform. We seek out opportunities to echo Lolo in Hand Over Hand and tell one another, “This is your fight. You can do it." We acknowledge when we have failed to support each other and, like Shabnam and Farah in That Thing We Call a Heart, we repair our relationships. We celebrate that the movement for justice does not only belong to us--like Moxie, it is an ever-growing web of action that belongs to every person “who wants to be a part of it."
We, too, believe
We believe girls and women know themselves and their experiences. In Saints and Misfits, Janna wonders who will take her word over that of a highly respected young man at her mosque. For the Nowhere Girls, believing girls and women becomes a mission and a movement. In Dreadnought, Danny has never been believed about her identity as she faces a world that is “terrified of someone who would reject manhood. Terrified of a girl who knows who she is and what she’s capable of.”
Even with all of the challenges we are currently facing, we hope that readers will see themselves in our list and are inspired to continue to work for change.
It meant things were finally changing. Maybe everything wasn’t so hopeless after all.
Supriya Kelkar, Ahimsa.
The Amelia Bloomer List is a project of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. Members of the 2018 Amelia Bloomer Project committee are Katelyn Browne (co-chair), University of Northern Iowa (IA); Lizz Zitron (co-chair), Pacific Lutheran University (WA); Kelly Dickinson, National Cathedral School (DC); Emily Fear, Sewickley Public Library (PA); Natasha Forrester Campbell, Multnomah County Library (OR) Kelsey Keyes, Boise State University (ID); Caitie Morphew, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (PA); Melissa Nemitz, West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Library System (NJ); Leila Roy, Lyman Community Library (ME); and Ally Watkins (alternate), Mississippi Library Commision (MS).
An asterisk (*) indicates that a book is one of our Top Ten titles.
Fullerton, Alma. Hand Over Hand. Illus. by Renné Benoit. 2017. 24p. Second Story, $16.95 (9781772600155). PreS-Gr. 3.
Nina finally convinces her grandfather to take her fishing, defying tradition.
Garza, Cynthia Leonor. Lucía the Luchadora. Illus. by Alyssa Bermudez. 2017. 32p. powerHouse/POW!, $16.99 (9781576878279). PreS-Gr. 2.
When the boys on the playground tell Lucía she can’t be a superhero because she is a girl, Lucía becomes a Luchadora and is joined by many other children.
Howe, James. Big Bob, Little Bob. Illus. by Laura Ellen Anderson. 2016. 32p. Candlewick, $15.99 (9780763644369). PreS-Gr. 1.
Next-door neighbors Big Bob and Little Bob have different hobbies. Will cultural understandings of masculinity keep them from becoming friends?
Spanyol, Jessica. Clive and his Babies. 2016. 12p. Child’s Play (International) Ltd, board, $4.99 (9781846438820). PreS.
Clive and his friends play with dolls, challenging gender stereotypes.
Harrison, Vashti. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. 2017. 87p. Little, Brown/Hachette, $16.99 (9780316475112). K-Gr. 5.
Illustrated biographies of 40 trailblazing black women in American history who defied both gender and racial expectations.
Kaiser, Lisbeth. Emmeline Pankhurst. Illus. by Ana Sanfelippo. 2017. 32p. Quarto/Frances Lincoln, $14.99 (9781786030207). PreS-Gr. 3.
Emmeline Pankhurst, a political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement, fought for women to get the vote.
*Keating, Jess. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist. Illus. by Marta Álvarez Miguéns. 2017. 30p. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99 (9781492642046). PreS-Gr. 3.
A visit to the Battery Park Aquarium inspires Eugenie Clark to spend her life studying sharks, pursuing revolutionary science in the face of prejudice.
Macy, Sue. Trudy’s Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm. Illus. by Matt Collins. 2017. 36p. Holiday House, $16.95 (9780823436651). K-Gr. 5.
During a time when women in sports were just starting to gain the recognition they deserved, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
Poletti, Frances and Kristina Yee. The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon. Illus. by Susanna Chapman. 2017. 38p. Compendium, $16.95 (9781943200474). K-Gr. 5.
Bobbi Gibb would not take no for an answer when she was told that women couldn’t run in the Boston Marathon, becoming the first woman to run the race.
Slade, Suzanne. Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story. Illus. by Jessica Lanan. 2017. 32p. Sleeping Bear Press, $16.99 (9781585369867). Gr. 1-4.
Naturalist and artist Anna Comstock defied bias against women in the sciences to pursue and share her passion for studying the natural world.
Smith, Matthew Clark. Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot. Illus. by Matt Tavares. 2017. 32p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763677329). K-Gr. 4.
Sophie Blanchard became the first woman pilot and never let anyone limit her passion for flying.
*Yousafzai, Malala. Malala’s Magic Pencil. Illus. by Kerascoët. 2017. 48p. Little, Brown BFYR, $17.99 (9780316319577). K-Gr. 3.
In this picture book for young children, Malala expresses her passion for access to education, especially for girls.
Blackwood, Sage. Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded. 2017. 358p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $16.99 (9780062402639). Gr. 4-7.
When all of the sorceresses in the walled city of Lightning Pass disappear, a student at an all-girls magic school is determined to find them and protect her city from threats without and within.
Florence, Debbi Michiko. Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen. Illus. by Elizabet Vuković. 2017. 115p. Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux, $15.99 (9780374304102). Gr. 2-4.
Eight-year-old Jasmine decides to participate in her family’s mochi-tsuki by pounding mochi with the men--even though she is a girl and considered too young.
*Kelkar, Supriya. Ahimsa. 2017. 307p. Lee & Low/Tu, $18.95 (9781620143568). Gr. 3-7.
Led by her mother, Anjali and her family become involved in the Indian freedom movement.
Krishnaswami, Uma. Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh. 2017. 276p. Lee & Low/Tu, $16.95 (9781600602610). Gr. 3-6.
In 1945, Maria learns to play softball with her classmates and strategizes to protect her family’s farm in the face of racist and sexist laws.
Moss, Marissa. Kate Warne: Pinkerton Detective. Illus. by April Chu. 2017. 47p. Creston, $18.99 (9781939547330). Gr. 2-5.
Kate Warne, the first female professional private detective in the United States, cracks her first case and solves the mystery of the missing money.
Pérez, Celia C. The First Rule of Punk. 2017. 319p. Penguin/Viking, $16.99 (9780425290408). Gr. 4-7.
Malú brings her love of punk, her zine creation skills, and her willingness to advocate for herself to a new middle school.
Wiesner, David and Donna Jo Napoli. Fish Girl. 2017. 182p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion, paper, $17.99 (9780547483931). Gr. 4-up.
A young mermaid called Fish Girl, trapped by Neptune in a boardwalk aquarium, becomes friends with an ordinary girl. This friendship inspires Fish Girl's longing for freedom and independence.
Farrell, Mary Cronk. Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights. 2016. 56p. Harry N. Abrams, $19.95 (9781419718847). Gr. 4-7.
Seamstress Fannie Sellins inspired activism in the garment and mining industries, helped create unions, and traveled the country inspiring men and women to stand up for fair wages and treatment.
Ignotofsky, Rachel. Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win. 2017. 127p. Penguin/Ten Speed, $16.99 (9781607749783). Gr. 3-7.
This anthology highlights fifty accomplished women in sports with text and illustrations detailing their achievements and lives.
Jones, Emma. Girls Play Rugby. 2017. 24p. Rosen/PowerKids, library, $23.60 (9781499421071). Gr. 2-5.
This inspiring guide introduces girls to the tough sport of rugby including history, rules, and famous female players.
Moser, Elise. What Milly Did: The Remarkable Pioneer of Plastics Recycling. Illus. by Scot Ritchie. 2016. 48p. Groundwood, paper, $9.95 (9781554988938). Gr. 2-5.
Milly Zantow introduced a functional plastics recycling system to the United States using community-oriented business practices.
Reef, Catherine. Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse. 2017. 184p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion, $18.99. (9780544535800). Gr. 5-up.
Florence Nightingale defied Victorian England’s rigid rules for women, by becoming a nurse, advocating for women’s inclusion in the medical field, and changing nursing forever.
Shetterly, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures: Young Readers' Edition: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space. 2016. 231p. HarperCollins, paper, $7.99 (9780062662378). Gr. 3-7.
Gender roles, racial prejudice and segregation are clearly addressed in the inspiring story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who made significant contributions to the space program.
Winter, Jonah. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs Inequality. 2017. 48p. Abrams, $18.95 (9781419725593). Gr. 2-5.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s childhood experiences of sexism and anti-Semitism help the reader understand how she became a legal scholar and Supreme Court justice.
*Ali, S.K. Saints and Misfits. 2017. 328p. Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads, $18.99 (9781481499248). Gr. 7-up.
High school sophomore Janna deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault while also navigating a crush and maintaining friendships.
Arnold, Elana K. What Girls Are Made Of. 2017. 200p. Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab, $18.99 (9781512410242). Gr. 10-up.
Through allegory, artistic exploration, and volunteering at an animal shelter, Nina Faye works to disentangle her ideas of womanhood from the warped images that surround her.
Barrow, Rebecca. You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. 2017. 323p. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062494191). Gr. 9-up.
With support from her family, boyfriend, and friends, Audrey Spencer navigates her unplanned pregnancy and embraces her ability and right to seek the future she wants without guilt or shame.
Bashardoust, Melissa. Girls Made of Snow and Glass. 2017. 372p. Macmillan/Flatiron, $18.99 (9781250077738). Gr. 7-up.
In this feminist retelling of Snow White, Lynet and her stepmother Mina must each break away from patriarchal control.
Castellucci, Cecil. Soupy Leaves Home. Illus. By Jose Pimienta. 2017. 194p. Dark Horse, paper, $14.99 (9781616554316). Gr. 7-up.
Pearl decides to escape from her abusive father by disguising herself as a boy. She and Ramshackle ride the American rails and wrestle their inner demons during the Depression.
Daniels, April. Dreadnought. 2017. 279p. Diversion, paper, $14.99 (9781682300688). Gr. 7-up.
When Danny inherits the superhero Dreadnought’s powers, she gains her ideal body. As Danny adjusts, she must face transphobic sexism and a mysterious new supervillain.
*Greenberg, Isabel. The One Hundred Nights of Hero. 2016. 224p. Little, Brown, $25.00 (9780316259170). Gr. 7-up.
In a series of linked tales, two young women use the power of storytelling to attempt to save themselves from an impossible situation and two dastardly men.
Jones, Kelly. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. 2017. 293p. Random/Knopf, $17.99 (9780553535204). Gr. 8-up.
Annis Whitworth discovers her ability to sew magic into clothing in Regency England.
Karim, Sheba. That Thing We Call A Heart. 2017. 275p. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062445704). Gr. 8-up.
After a falling-out with her best friend Farah, Shabnam Qureshi’s summer before college looks bleak--until she meets and falls for the charming Jamie.
Mathieu, Jennifer. Moxie. 2017. 336p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $17.99 (9781626726352). Gr. 8-up.
High school junior Viv is disgusted by the double standards blatantly perpetuated by her school’s administration. Inspired her mom’s Riot Grrrl youth, she sparks feminist change.
McGuire, Seanan. Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Illus. by Rovina Cai. 2017. 187p. Macmillan/Tor.com, $17.99 (9780765392039). Gr. 10-up.
Twins Jacqueline and Jillian, raised to conform to very strict gender expectations, escape to a dark fantasy world where different identities become available for exploration.
Menon, Sandhya. When Dimple Met Rishi. 2017. 380p. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (9781481478687). Gr. 8-up.
In this Bollywood-esque romantic comedy, two first-generation Indian American teenagers try to resist the match their parents have arranged.
Myers, Lily. This Impossible Light. 2017. 339p. Penguin/Philomel, $17.99 (9780399173721). Gr. 7-up.
This short but powerful novel in verse explores one adolescent girl’s struggle with disordered eating.
Perkins, Mitali. You Bring The Distant Near. 2017. 303p. Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux, $17.99 (9780374304904). Gr. 7-up.
Three generations of women in the Das family struggle to find their places in the world amid changing cultures, countries, and ideas of womanhood.
*Redgate, Riley. Noteworthy. Illus. by Ben Wiseman. 2017. 384p. Abrams/Amulet, $17.95 (9781419723735). Gr. 8-up.
High school junior Jordan Sun creates a male persona to apply for her school’s most prestigious all-male a cappella group… and gets accepted, requiring her to continue living a double life.
Reed, Amy. The Nowhere Girls. 2017. 404p. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (9781481481731). Gr. 9-up.
Three outcasts decide to take a stand after a former classmate’s rape goes unpunished. Their anonymous call to action grows into a school-wide revolution that challenges the town’s misogynist culture.
Turtschaninoff, Maria. Maresi. Tr. by A. A. Prime. 2017. 244p. Abrams/Amulet, $17.95 (9781419722691). Gr. 9-up.
To protect the idyllic matriarchal society of the Red Abbey and its newest resident, Maresi must face her destiny.
*Watson, Renée. Piecing Me Together. 2017. 264p. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781681191058). Gr. 7-up.
Jade is tired of being singled out as someone who needs to be fixed. As she matures as an artist, she explores issues of race and privilege in her relationships.
Wheeler, Andrew. Another Castle: Grimoire. Illus. by Paulina Ganucheau. 2017. 134p. Oni Press, paper, $15.99 (9781620103111). Gr. 7-up.
Princess Misty leads an unlikely group of revolutionaries as she rescues herself and frees the people of Beldora and Grimoire from the tyrannical Lord Badlug.
Wilde, Jen. Queens of Geek. 2017. 262p. Macmillan/Swoon Reads, paper, $10.99 (9781250111395). Gr. 7-up.
Best friends Charlie and Taylor battle the double standards and sexism in fandom and Hollywood at SupaCon. Rising star Charlie struggles with expectations of fans and studios while Taylor navigates life, love, and fandom through the lens of Asperger’s.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. 2017. 63p. Random/Knopf, $15.00 (9781524733131). Gr. 10-up.
In the form of parenting advice to a friend, Adichie makes practical suggestions for feminist living while delineating a clear theory of feminism.
Al-Khatahtbeh, Amani. Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age. 2016. 134p. Simon & Schuster, $20.00 (9781501159503). Gr. 7-up.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.com, reflects on her experiences coming of age as a young Muslim American woman in a post-9/11 world.
*Charleyboy, Lisa and Mary Beth Leatherdale, eds. #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women. 2017. 109p. Annick, paper, $19.95 (9781554519583). Gr. 7-up.
#NotYourPrincess features the voices of fifty women artists as they answer the question, “What is it like to be an indigenous woman or girl today?”
Cooper, Brittney C., Susana M. Morris and Robin M. Boylorn, eds. The Crunk Feminist Collection. 2017. 336p. Feminist, paper, $24.95 (9781558619432). Gr. 10-up.
This collection of essays from the popular Crunk Feminist Collective blog discuss race, sex, gender, pop culture, politics, and friendship.
Erickson-Schroth, Laura, MD, and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R. “You’re in the Wrong Bathroom!”: And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People. 2017. 182p. Beacon, paper, $16.00 (9780807033890). Gr. 8-up.
The authors debunk common misunderstandings about trans and gender-nonconforming people, including medical, social, psychological, and political topics.
Fleming, Melissa. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival. 2017. 274p. Macmillan/Flatiron, $25.99 (9781250105998). Gr. 8-up.
Increasing violence in Syria forces 16-year-old student Doaa Al Zamel to flee her homeland. Doaa’s true story of resistance and survival underscores the ongoing plight of Syrian refugees.
Kops, Deborah. Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights: From the Vote to the Equal Rights Amendment. 2017. 220p. Highlights/Calkins Creek, $17.95 (9781629793238). Gr. 6-up.
One of the leaders of the American women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul dedicated her life to fighting for women’s equality.
Quinn, Bridget. Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order). Illus. by Lisa Congdon. 2017. 189p. Chronicle, $29.95 (9781452152363). Gr. 9-up.
An art historian explores the work, lives, and legacies of 15 women artists from 1600 to the present day.
Robinson, Phoebe. You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain. 2016. 285p. Penguin/Plume, paper, $16.00 (9780143129202). Gr. 10-up.
Comedian Phoebe Robinson discusses the intersections of gender, race, feminism and pop culture in this collection of essays.
*Stone, Tanya Lee. Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time. 2017. 193p. Random/Wendy Lamb, $22.99 (9780553511468). Gr. 6-up.
This companion book to the documentary Girl Rising profiles girls around the world who face significant obstacles to gaining an education.