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.
Plus, I have so much bursting to be said,
And I think I’m ready to be listened to.
--from The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
It’s time to listen.
To listen to all voices. To listen to what’s being said, to what’s not being said, to who is speaking and to whose voice is being drowned out. We must listen to shouts, whispers, and silences.
Xiomara speaks through her poetry in The Poet X. Annabelle uses her body to say what she can’t in A Heart in a Body in the World. The granddaughter in Sugar and Snails uses a magnificent side-eye to express her disdain of gender stereotypes. Yvonne in Finding Yvonne discovers the importance of listening to herself.
It’s time to breathe.
To pause and absorb what we’ve heard. To sit with what makes us uncomfortable. To widen and broaden our lens. To tune out the stories others have told us about ourselves.
In Damsel, Ama is told who she is, but in listening to her inner voice, she discovers her truth. In As the Crow Flies, Charlie establishes boundaries. And in Learning to Breathe, Indy learns to ignore preconceived assumptions about who she can be.
It’s time to speak.
To raise our voices and amplify the voices of others. To question, to critique, and to expose.
For 20 years, Melinda’s silence and reclamation of her voice has echoed through children’s and YA literature; in the graphic novel adaptation of Speak, the illustrations show how the themes of Melinda’s art mirror her own growth. In Blood Water Paint, Artemisia used her voice to seek justice despite an unjust system.
When we listen, breathe, and speak, we can bring real change.
And I speak, though my bravery wavers
And I stand tall, though you tower above me
And I speak, I grit my teeth, and I breathe
And I close my fists, and I hear my voice
--from Invocation to Daughters by Barbara Jane Reyes
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 2017 Amelia Bloomer Project committee are Katelyn Browne (co-chair), University of Northern Iowa (IA); Kelsey Keyes (co-chair), Boise State University (ID); Madison Bishop, Plymouth Public Library (MA); Kelly Dickinson, National Cathedral School (DC); Silvia Lin Hanick, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) (NY); Natasha Forrester Campbell, Multnomah County Library (OR); 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, First Regional Library (MS).
An asterisk (*) indicates that a book is one of our Top Ten titles.
McNamara, Margaret.The Dinosaur Expert. Illus. by G. Brian Karas. 2018. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (9780553511437). PreS-Gr. 3.
Kimmy wants to be a paleontologist, but a class trip to the museum leads her to doubt her ambitions. Can women be dinosaur scientists?
Spanyol, Jessica. Rosa Loves Cars. 2018. 12p. Child’s Play, board, $4.99 (9781786281258). PreS.
Rosa loves to play with cars.
Spanyol, Jessica. Rosa Loves Dinosaurs. 2018. 12p. Child’s Play, board, $4.99 (9781786281241). PreS.
Rosa loves to play with dinosaurs.
*Tsiang, Sarah. Sugar and Snails. Illus. by Sonja Wimmer. 2018. 32p. Annick, $18.95 (9781773210056). PreS-Gr. 2.
Girls and boys are made of a lot more than just sugar, spice, snips, and snails!
Bardoe, Cheryl. Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain. Illus. by Barbara McClintock. 2018. 40p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316278201). Gr. 1-3.
Sophie Germain grew up in a time when it wasn’t acceptable for women to study math, but nothing stopped her from pursuing her studies.
Becker, Helaine. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. Illus. By Dow Phumiruk. 2018. 40p. Henry Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (9781250137524). K-Gr. 4.
Through determination, boundless curiosity, and perseverance, Katherine Johnson became an accomplished mathematician and played an integral role in the early space program.
Browne, Mahogany L. Black Girl Magic: A Poem. Illus. by Jess X. Snow. 2018. 40p. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781250173720). PreS-up.
A poem and accompanying artwork highlight the magic of Black girls and women.
Calkhoven, Laurie. Roberta Gibb. Illus. by Monique Dong. 2018. 47p. Simon Spotlight, $16.99 (9781534409729). Gr. 1-3.
Roberta Gibb always loved to run. Despite being rejected from the Boston Marathon, she joined the race and led the way for women marathon runners.
Engle, Margarita. The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar. Illus. by Sara Palacios. 2018. 40p. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $17.99 (9781481445023). PreS-Gr. 3.
This biography in verse describes how courage--and a chance to try--led Aída de Acosta to become the first woman to fly a motorized aircraft.
Fitzgerald, Juniper. How Mamas Love Their Babies. Illus. by Elise Peterson. 2018. 36p. Feminist, $16.95 (9781936932009). PreS-Gr. 3.
Mothers work hard and care for their babies in many different ways, including work at home, as farmers, as pilots, and as sex workers.
Hannigan, Kate. A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights. Illus. by Alison Jay. 2018. 32p. Highlights/Calkins Creek, $17.95 (9781629794532). Gr. 1-3.
By remaining bold, defiant, and determined, Belva Lockwood dedicated her life to fighting for women’s equality and the equality of all people.
Maclear, Kyo. Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Illus. by Julie Morstad. 2018. 40p. Harper, $17.99 (9780062447616). Gr. 1-3.
Elsa Schiaparelli never gave up on her dreams of becoming an artist and redefined fashion, inspiring women and future artists.
Mosca, Julia Finley. The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath. Illus. by Daniel Rieley. 2017. 40p. Innovation, $17.99 (9781943147311). K-Gr. 4.
Dr. Patricia Bath faced racism, poverty and sexism on her path to becoming an innovative doctor who revolutionized treatments for blindness.
Mosca, Julia Finley. The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague. Illus. by Daniel Rieley. 2018. 40p. Innovation, $17.99 (9781943147427). K-Gr. 4.
Raye Montague revolutionized government submarine design while navigating significant racism and sexism in education and the workforce.
Pliscou, Lisa. Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel. Illus. by Jennifer Corace. 2018. 48p. Henry Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (9781627796439). Gr. 1-3.
During a time when women were expected to be “ladylike,” Jane Austen went against the grain to pursue writing, becoming one of the most beloved authors in English literature.
Pimentel, Annette Bay. Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon. Illus. by Micha Archer. 2018. 32p. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (9781101996683). K-Gr. 3.
Rules, restrictions, and a lack of proper running shoes couldn’t keep Bobbi Gibb from becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.
Shetterly, Margot Lee and Winifred Conkling. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race. Illus. By Laura Freeman. 2017. 38p. Harper, $17.99 (9780062742469). PreS-Gr. 3.
Four female African American computers overcame gender and racial barriers to help send the United States into space.
Suzuki, Sarah. Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity. Illustrated by Ellen Weinstein. 2017. 40p. Museum of Modern Art. $19.95 (9781633450394). K-Gr. 5.
Designed for young children, this portrait of artist Yayoi Kusama discusses her journey to art stardom and her innovative dot and circle approach to art.
Chanani, Nidhi. Pashmina. 2017. 161p. First Second, paper, $16.99 (9781626720879). Gr. 4-8.
Priyanka is transported to beautiful India when she wears a pashmina found in her mother’s old suitcase, but the beauty is marred by a shadow lurking in the background.
Chewins, Hayley. The Turnaway Girls. 2018. 258p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763697921). Gr. 5-9.
Raised in an underground cloister as a turnaway girl, Delphernia Undersea uses her voice to free herself and the island of Blightsend.
*Chmakova, Svetlana. Crush. 2018. 234p. Yen/JY, paper, $11.00 (9780316363242). Gr. 4-7.
Jorge has found the courage to ask his crush to a school dance--but how will he contend with the increasingly toxic culture among his friends?
*Saeed, Aisha. Amal Unbound. 2018. 226p. Penguin/Paulson, $17.99 (9780399544682). Gr. 4-8.
Twelve-year-old Amal is pressed into indentured servitude when she talks back to the wealthy and powerful landlord of her rural Pakistani village.
Sell, Chad. The Cardboard Kingdom. 2018. 281p. Penguin/Borzoi, $20.99 (9781524719371). Gr. 3-6.
A group of children use their imaginations and a lot of cardboard to transform their neighborhood, explore their identities, and embark on thrilling adventures together.
Shabazz, Ilyasah and Renée Watson. Betty Before X. 2018. 248p. Macmillan/FSG Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (9780374306106). Gr. 4-6.
This novel about the childhood of Betty Dean Sanders—before she became Dr. Betty Shabazz, and before her marriage to Malcolm X—explores her early racial and gender-based activism.
Shovan, Laura. Takedown. 2018. 266p. Random/Wendy Lamb, $16.99 (9780553521412). Gr. 4-7.
Mikayla is the only girl on her wrestling team. She is fast, talented, and hardworking, but there are some who still don’t think she belongs.
Acevedo, Sylvia. Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist. 2018. 309p. HMH/Clarion, $17.99 (9781328809568). Gr. 4-8.
From her early childhood, budding scientist Sylvia Acevedo challenged sexism and racism with some help from Girl Scouting.
Muhammad, Ibtihaj. Proud (Young Readers Edition): Living My American Dream. 2018. 289p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316477000). Gr. 6-up.
Ibtihaj Muhammad shares her inspiring story of overcoming stereotypes and barriers on her journey to become an Olympic fencer.
Pomeroy, Sarah B. and Jeyaraney Kathirithamby. Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer. 2018. 95p. Getty, $21.95 (9781947440012). Gr. 4-7.
Maria Sibylla Merian, 17th century German entomologist and artist, is celebrated in this illustrated biography.
Rich, KaeLyn. Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution. Illus. by Giulia Sagramola. 2018. 238p. Quirk, paper, $14.99 (9781683690597). Gr. 7-up.
An experienced feminist organizer shares practical advice for teen girls who want to create change.
Yousafzai, Malala, with Patricia McCormick. Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights. Illus. By Joanie Stone. Abridged and adapted by Sarah J. Robbins. 2018. 170p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $15.99 (9780316527149). Gr. 2-4.
Malala, an activist for women, girls, and education, tells her story in this chapter book.
*Acevedo, Elizabeth. The Poet X. 2018. 361p. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062662804). Gr. 8-up.
Fifteen-year-old Xiomara Batista—aspiring poet, reluctant confirmation class attendee, twin, and daughter of Dominican immigrants—comes of age.
*Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak: The Graphic Novel. Illus. by Emily Carroll. 2018. 384p. Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99 (9780374300289). Gr. 8-up.
After being raped at a summer party, Melinda begins ninth grade as a silent outcast Through art, she slowly learns to survive, heal, and speak up about the assault.
Anderson, M.T., et al. Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All. 2018. 396p. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $18.99 (9781524716196). Gr. 9-up.
Each chapter of this novel is told from the perspective of King Henry VIII and his wives, exploring the choices they made and the social restrictions placed upon them.
*Arnold, Elana K. Damsel. 2018. 309p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062742322). Gr. 9-up.
Ama wakes up with no memories in the arms of a prince. He informs her he has just rescued her from a dragon and she is now his future queen.
Bhathena, Tanaz. A Girl Like That. 2018. 378p. Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux, $17.99 (9780374305444). Gr. 8-up.
After Zarin and her friend Porus die in a car accident, they, and their classmates, reflect back on their lives and the events leading to their deaths.
Blake, Ashley Herring. Girl Made of Stars. 2018. 295p. HMH, $17.99 (9781328778239). Gr. 9-up.
When Mara’s twin Owen is accused of raping his girlfriend, Mara struggles with trauma from her own past and her family’s struggle to move forward.
Blount, Patty. Someone I Used to Know. 2018. 358p. Sourcebooks Fire, paper, $10.99 (9781492632818). Gr. 9-up.
Two years after being raped, Ashley must navigate the devastating effects of her assault. Derek, Ashley's brother, must also acknowledge his faults and complicity in what happened.
Caletti, Deb. A Heart in a Body in the World. 2018. 355p. Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781481415200). Gr. 9-up.
After a tragedy, Annabelle runs across the country and becomes a reluctant activist, reclaiming her body and finding her voice along the way.
Chao, Gloria. American Panda. 2018. 310p. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (9781481499101). Gr. 7-up.
In her first semester at MIT, Mei struggles to balance her Taiwanese parents’ expectations with her ambitions and her crush on a classmate.
Colbert, Brandy. Finding Yvonne. 2018. 276p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316349055). Gr. 10-up.
Eighteen-year-old Yvonne’s decisions about college and her future as a musician are complicated when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant.
Cornwell, Betsy. The Forest Queen. 2018. 296p. HMH/Clarion, $17.99 (9780544888197). Gr. 6-up.
Lady Silviana flees her life of privilege (and her violent, lecherous brother) and builds a new community with her friends in this genderbent retelling of Robin Hood.
Dawson, Delilah S. Ladycastle. Illus. by Ashley A. Woods and Becca Farrow. 2017. 112p. Boom!, paper, $14.99 (9781684150328). Gr. 6-up.
When King Mancastle and all his men are killed, it’s up to the women of the town to survive and fight against a curse.
*Gillman, Melanie. As the Crow Flies. 2017. 272p. Iron Circus, paper, $30.00 (9781945820069). Gr. 7-up.
Charlie and Sydney navigate racist, queerphobic, and gender-essentialist attitudes at a summer backpacking camp for Christian girls.
Judge, Lita. Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. 2018. 312p. Roaring Brook, $21.99 (9781626725003). Gr. 9-up.
This illustrated novel based extensively on Mary Shelley’s personal writings delves into the life experiences that inspired and contributed to the creation of the world’s first published science fiction novel.
Lee, Mackenzi. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. 2018. 450p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $18.99 (9780062795328). Gr. 9-up.
In 18th century Europe, Felicity is barred from studying medicine due to her gender. To find a place for herself, Felicity joins two female friends on a fantastical adventure.
Leno, Katrina. Summer of Salt. 2018. 256p. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062493620). Gr. 8-up.
Georgina learns more about magic carried by the women in her family as she falls in love and solves the murder of a bird (who may also be her aunt).
*Mather, Janice Lynn. Learning to Breathe. 2018. 328p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781534406018). Gr. 9-up.
An unwanted pregnancy and an unsafe living situation push sixteen-year-old Indy to look for a better home and a supportive community.
McCarthy, Cori. Now a Major Motion Picture. 2018. 386p. Sourcebooks Fire, paper, $10.99 (9781492652380). Gr. 8-up.
While visiting the set of a movie based on her grandmother’s popular fantasy novels, Iris finds her own creative voice and gains new perspective on her grandmother’s legacy.
*McCullough, Joy. Blood Water Paint. 2018. 289p. Penguin/Dutton, $17.99 (9780735232112). Gr. 9-up.
Artemisia Gentileschi chooses a life as a painter—and chooses to tell the truth when her teacher rapes her.
Novik, Naomi. Spinning Silver. 2018. 466p. Random/Del Rey, $28.00, (9780399180989). Gr. 9-up.
Moneylender Miryem, peasant Wanda, and Irina, the daughter of a local lord, work together to save two kingdoms and countless lives in this Rumpelstiltskin retelling.
Ostrom, Melissa. The Beloved Wild. 2018. 312p. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $17.99, (9781250132796). Gr. 7-up.
In 1807, smart, strong, capable Harriet Winter is expected to marry and keep house. To find more, she travels west, leaving behind the family and New Hampshire farm she loves.
Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Hearts Unbroken. 2018. 286p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763681142). Gr. 7-up.
After Louise’s boyfriend mocks Native people, her next step is obvious: she dumps him. Still, challenges abound as she balances her Muscogee identity with high school, family, and romance.
Spotswood, Jessica, ed. The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls. 2018. 308p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763694258). Gr. 7-up.
Original short stories from well-known YA writers feature radical young women from different religions, backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, abilities, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, and cultures.
Summers, Courtney. Sadie. 2018. 311p. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $17.99 (9781250105714). Gr. 9-12.
Nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie’s quest to track down her sister’s murderer is told in alternating chapters by Sadie and the true crime podcaster who is trying to find her.
*Turtschaninoff, Maria. Naondel. 2018. 384p. Abrams/Amulet, $18.99 (9781419725555). Gr. 10-up.
The First Sisters must learn to trust one another in order to escape an oppressive harem in this prequel to Maresi.
Abdulali, Sohaila. What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. 2018. 226p. New Press, paper, $15.99 (9781620974742). Gr. 10-up.
Based on her activism, her work at a rape crisis center, and her experience as a survivor of rape, Abdulali interrogates our cultural (mis)understandings of sexual violence.
Dahlqvist, Anna. It's Only Blood: Shattering the Taboo of Menstruation. 2018. 245p. Zed, paper, $14.95 (9781786992628). Gr. 9-up.
Using interviews from Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya, and India, Dahlqvist explores the secrecy, shame and fear often associated with menstruation worldwide, calling for menstrual activism and justice.
Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore. 2018. 224p. Abrams Image, $24.99 (9781419729928). Gr. 6-up.
Photographs depict a wide range of work performed by women—and the clothes they wore to perform it—from the late nineteenth century through the present.
Edim, Glory, ed. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves. Illus. by Alexandra Bowman. 2018. 239p. Random/Ballantine, $20.00 (9780525619772). Gr. 7-up.
Black women writers describe pivotal reading experiences of recognition and self-discovery.
Evans, Claire L. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. 2018. 278p. Penguin/Portfolio, $27.00 (9780735211759). Gr. 9-up.
Evans illuminates the women whose work has made the internet possible, even as their stories have been erased.
Farrell, Kate, ed. Period: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth. 2018. 208p. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, paper, $16.00 (9781250141941). Gr. 6-up.
Writers relate their personal experiences with menstruation and puberty.
Muhammad, Ibtihaj, with Lori L. Tharps. Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream. 2018. 270p. Hachette, $27.00 (9780316518963). Gr. 8-up.
Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad relates her story of becoming the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab.
Quintero, Isabel. Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. Illus. by Zeke Peña. 2018. 95p. Getty, $19.95 (9781947440005). Gr. 7-up.
Graciela Iturbide uses photography to explore the beautiful realities of Mexican and Mexican American communities, especially celebrating women and nonbinary people who challenged patriarchal norms.
Reyes, Barbara Jane. Invocation to Daughters. 2017. 74p. City Lights, paper, $14.95 (9780872867475). Gr. 10-up.
Poems condemn physical, emotional, and structural violence against women and girls with a focus on Filipina experience and resistance.
Richards, Cecile. Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead. 2018. 276p. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, $27.00 (9781501187599). Gr. 10-up.
This memoir of Cecile Richards, a lifelong activist and feminist icon, offers practical advice and inspiration for aspiring leaders.
Shraya, Vivek. I’m Afraid of Men. 2018. 85p. Penguin Canada, $16.00 (9780735235939). Gr. 11-up.
Shraya details how, since childhood, she has navigated aggression that harnessed the intersecting forces of sexism, toxic masculinity, transphobia, and homophobia.
Tovar, Virgie. You Have the Right to Remain Fat. 2018. 128p. Feminist, paper, $14.95 (9781936932313). Gr. 9-up.
Tovar explains how fatphobia and diet culture are connected to misogyny, racism, heteronormativity, classism, and other systems of oppression.
Yeung, Bernice. In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers. 2018. 225p. New Press, $25.99 (9781620973158). Gr. 10-up.
Immigrant agricultural and domestic workers, as well as advocates and journalists, work to push back against a culture of sexual violence in their workplaces.