October 11th is the International Day of the Girl. To celebrate, we curated our favorite books showcasing incredible girls from around the globe. These picks challenge the girl-boy binary by breaking gender stereotypes and demonstrate how gender intersects with race, culture and class. These books celebrate the power of girls, and inspire us to create a world where kids are free to be regardless of their gender.

While these books feature and celebrate girls, we believe all kids of ALL genders should read these picks. Each child deserves a joyful, healthy, free childhood where they feel safe being who they are.

Many of these books have been featured in the Little Feminist book club and grace the bookshelves of our own kiddos.

17 books to add to your child’s bookshelf for International Day of the Girl

Dream Big Little One

1. Dream Big, Little One

Featuring 18 trailblazing black women in American history, Dream Big, Little One is the irresistible board book adaptation of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Filled with stories of heroes and everyday women who’ve made the world a better place, this title is a first bookshelf must-have.

Age: 0-3

Rosa Loves Cars

2. Rosa Loves Cars

What’s more empowering than doing what you love? Cars, dinosaurs, dolls, dresses—all kids can love all of these and so much more! We love Rosa’s joy in all things wheeled from fire trucks to car races. Celebrate the freedom to play with this adorable board book series.

Ages: 0-4

We Are Little Feminists series

3. We Are Little Feminists series

Babies love photos of babies. All kids deserve diverse books. Put that together and what do you get? Our book series!! These three books (Hair, On-the-Go and Family) feature amazing community-sourced photographs of all sorts of people moving, laughing and loving in all sorts of ways. You and your kiddos will want to look at them again and again!

Ages: 0-5

Big Mooncake For Little Star

4. Big Mooncake for Little Star

Breathtaking illustrations and sweetest insatiable sweet tooth make this book unforgettable. Little Star keeps craving the big mooncake, and her sneaky bedtime nibbles will make you want a bite too! This #OwnVoices story draws on the author’s Taiwanese roots to highlight the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. We love how this story perfectly captures love, anticipation and celebration for little readers.

Ages: 2-6

Ada Twist Scientist

5. Ada Twist, Scientist

Part of the brilliant New York Times best-selling The Questioneers series, Ada Twist, Scientist is an inspired rhyming tale of the inquisitive second-grader, Ada Twist. She questions everything, from her father’s nose hairs to the thorns of a rose. With a supportive set of parents and her trusty thinking chair, she learns the art of questioning and inspires littles to do the same. (She even has a brand new show on Netflix that’s perfect for budding scientists!)

Ages: 4-8

Drum Dream Girl

6. Drum Dream Girl

Gender minorities (read everyone who’s not a cisgendered male) have been historically excluded from countless activities and institutions: schools, sports, and even drumming. We love this unique story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga- one of Cuba’s first womxn drummers! The musical rhymes and colorful Cuban plants that adorn each page will have you dancing as you read.

Ages: 3-7


7. Reading Beauty

This is a fairytale done right! The princess’s prince is not who you think it will be, in fact there’s no male savior in sight. Princess Lex, with her awesome blue afro, is an adventurous problem solver who seeks peace and inclusion instead of revenge. If you have any aspiring little royals at home, this fantastical kingdom is the place for them!

Ages: 3-7

My Papi has a Motorcycle

8. My Papi has a Motorcycle

Take a motorcycle ride alongside this little girl and her papi and discover what makes community so special. We love how seamlessly the Latinx author and illustrator blend Spanish and English in this #OwnVoices story. Watch out, your little reader might ask you to get a motorcycle after they see the illustrations of this dynamic ride.

Ages: 3-7

Dinosaur Lady

9. Dinosaur Lady

It’s important to fill our kids’ bookshelves with stories of inspiring and trailblazing women–not only to inspire but to highlight just how many unsung heroes they might not know about! Mary Anning, a British fossil collector helped pioneer a brand new field of study: paleontology.

Ages: 4-8

Quickest Kid In Clarksville

10. The Quickest Kid In Clarksville

Wilma Randolph was a legendary Black Olympic sprinter and a civil rights activist who took the world by storm in the 1960s. Combining history with a modern-day story of empowerment and perseverance, this picture book is timeless.

Age: 5-8

Kids Book About Feminism

11. A Kids Book About Feminism

Tackling ideas around equality, bias, and discrimination because of gender, this simple feminism primer empowers kids of all genders to show up for others when they’re being treated unfairly.

Little Feminist

12. Little Feminist Picture Book

Feminist artists, leaders, activists, and pioneers, all rolled into one convenient and beautiful book. With rich illustrations and simple biographies, this book profiles 25 incredible and inspiring women throughout history.

Ages: 4-10

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic

13. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic

Since the overwhelming success of their 2016 Kickstarter, Rebel Girls has graced the bedtime story routine of millions of young girls (and boys!) in 49 languages in over 85 countries. Their latest amplifies the amazing stories of 100 Black women and girls who have made their mark and celebrates Black girl magic all around the world. A thrilling addition to an ever-growing collection.

Ages: 6+

Separate Is Never Equal

14. Separate is Never Equal

We all have heard of Malala and Ruby Bridges, but so many girls have fought for equal access to education including Sylvia Mendez. We love how this story puts the Mendez family’s activism front and center—shining light on the rich history of self-advocacy in the Mexican-American community. Yes, this is another #OwnVoices stories, and yes those are our favorite.

Ages: 6-10

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That

15. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?

Do you know who Barbara Jordan is?! GO, do all the Googling now! But also, read this book! Minds will be blown- how did we not learn about this powerhouse of a woman in history class?! Glass ceilings will be shattered- Barbara served as a Texas Senator in 1967 along with 30 white men! This book goes to show that children’s books are not just for kids.

Ages: 6-10


16. Josephine

We are illustrator Christian Robinson’s #1 fans! In this book he takes you on a beautiful journey through artist and activist Josephine Baker’s life. Josephine felt fearful and angry about all the injustices in society, sound like a familiar feeling? She took all that frustration and transformed into amazing art. We love this book because we believe art is powerful, art is necessary, art is healing. And books about strong black woman without any white saviors lurking on the next page are always a win.

Ages: 7-13

Book Uncle And Me

17. Book Uncle and Me

A book about a girl’s community activism in her Indian city written by an Indian author?! We’re here for all these great #OwnVoices stories! We love how this story of Yasmin campaigning for change empowers kids to be changemakers- and also reminds adults to see kids as capable. Yasmin’s tenacity will inspire you to channel your inner leader no matter where you live.

Ages: 7-13

A version of this post was published October 6, 2021. It has been updated.