20 Biographies for Kids About Inspiring Women

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are the perfect occasion to bring the inspiring stories of remarkable women into your upper elementary classroom. To help, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite biographies for kids. Each of these literary nonfiction books will introduce your third and fourth grade students to incredible women who have made groundbreaking contributions to the world. I hope that these biographies for kids can be used to inspire, engage, and educate your students about the amazing women in history, and the impact they have had on our world.

Image of 3 biographies for kids about women - Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women, Shark Lady, and Malala's Magic Pencil

Biographies for Kids About Women in Science

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating

Shark Lady tells the inspiring story of Eugenie Clark, who “dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire.” Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks the first time she saw them and spent her life devoted to learning about them. She earned several degrees and made countless discoveries along the way.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

No list of biographies for kids about women is complete without this title. This picture book allows us to share the story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space with our elementary level readers.

Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson by Sandra Nickel

This biography for kids tells the story of Joanne Simpson and her determination as she became the first woman to earn a doctorate in meteorology and make important discoveries about the way weather works.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca

This is an inspirational story of a determined visual thinker who connects with animals in a special way. Her story is told as a rhyming tale and is accompanied by a complete biography, a timeline, and a note from Temple herself.

Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas by Anita Silvey

Dian Fossey made it her life’s mission to study and protect mountain gorillas. This powerful and detailed biography from National Geographic Kids is filled with beautiful photographs and text features.

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca

Dr. Patricia Bath persevered through racism, poverty, and sexism to become a doctor. Another book in the Amazing Scientists series by Julia Finley Mosca, this story is told in rhyme and is accompanied by a complete biography, a timeline, and a note from Dr. Bath herself. You may also be interested in the third book in the series, The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague.

Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine: Josephine Cochrane’s Bright Invention Makes a Splash by Kate Hannigan

You and your students will enjoy this story about the entrepreneur and inventor of the dishwasher.

Biographies for Kids About Women in Government and Civil Rights

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

This autobiographical book tells Malala’s story and shares her inspiring message with our younger readers.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

This biography tells the story of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her lifetime of disagreeing. Read this with your kids to teach them the importance of disagreement with injustice and standing up for what’s right for people as you learn about her life.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

This book share the story of a Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes

This is a historical fiction that imagines the experiences of these two inspiring women based on facts about their lives. This book would be a great paired text with biographies about the two or nonfiction books about the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America by Kathleen Krull

This biography tells the story of the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. You probably know about President FDR’s New Deal, but did you know that Frances Perkins was the mastermind behind it?

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes

This moving biography for kids shares the story of the first Black person, and first South Asian American ever elected Vice President of the United States and her belief in freedom and justice for all.

Biographies for Kids About Women Athletes and Adventurers

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

Inspire your young readers with this story of Wilma Rudolph, a Black Olympic runner who overcame polio and went on to win three gold medals.

The Story of Simone Biles: A Biography Book for New Readers by Rachelle Burk

The GOAT gymnast Simone Biles has won 25 World Champion medals by age 22. Her story is full of energy, determination, and sacrifice. Read this biography to show your students how her hard work has opened doors for female athletes around the world.

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan

I included this literary nonfiction book in the “adventurer” section because it tells the story of a thrilling night they stole away from a White House dinner, commandeered a jet, and took off on an adventure in their evening gowns.

Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Thermes

Emma Gatewood completed the Appalachian Trail at age 67. Her story shows that true grit and girl power is capable of overcoming challenges at any age.

Biographies for Kids About Women in the Arts and Design

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs

This biography tells the story of the woman who wrote “Freight Train” at age eleven, a famous folk song that has since been covered by Peter, Paul, and Marry; Bob Dylan; and the Grateful Dead, among many others.

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad

You’ll enjoy this picture book biography of Beverly Cleary, the creator of Ramona, Beezus, Henry, Ralph S. Mouse, and so much more. This is a perfect companion to an author study or to share after reading one of her books to your class.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey

The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya Lin is the woman who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is the story of how grew from studying the spaces around her such as her backyard to the visionary behind the national memorial.

Need a tool to help your students dig deeper into these biographies for kids?

Picture of literary nonfiction interactive notebook pages that can be used with the biographies listed above

These literary nonfiction interactive notebook pages are the perfect resource to help your students understand the biographies listed above. They include activities that will help your students:

  • Understand the genre itself,
  • Determine key ideas from the text to make inferences about the person,
  • Locate key facts presented in the text,
  • Determine the author’s point of view,
  • Analyze why the person is important/how the person has made an impact on society, and
  • Discuss the lessons we can learn from the text.

These pages have been designed to be fun and interactive, so your students will remain engaged as they learn more about biographies and the people in them.

Click here to learn more about these literary nonfiction interactive notebook pages.

What Are You Reading?

I’d love to know your thoughts on the biographies listed above. Any favorites? What biographies for kids are you reading to celebrate Women’s History Month? Comment below and let us know.

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hello, i'm laura heinen from cultivating critical readers

I help third and fourth grade RLA teachers like you create engaging and effective reading lessons without all the stress.

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While I may receive compensation for these referrals, you can trust that the recommendations made on this site are genuine. I will never link to or recommend a book or product that I do not fully support or believe in. All book titles are chosen for the benefit they will bring to your classroom.

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