A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
Print Friendly and PDF

Liza Hinman is the chef and co-owner of The Spinster Sisters, a restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA. The award-winning eatery opened in 2012 when Liza’s first child, Oscar, was just one year old. When Liza and her husband Joe added twin daughters to their family last December, Joe (also a chef), scaled back his time at work to become the primary parent.


We were excited to speak with Chef Hinman about her experience as a working mom who’s kicking ass in a male-dominated, notoriously tough industry. We were also curious to hear her thoughts on the “kid food” phenomenon, and maybe how to avoid the tyranny of the chicken tender

FEATURED VIDEO

Parents: Liza Hinman and Joe Stewart

Kids: Oscar, 4 1/2; Miranda and Bridget, ten months 


Parent Co: I recently heard author Anne-Marie Slaughter on NPR raising the question, “Why do we assume the mother will leave the workforce to care for her child? Why can’t the father be the primary caregiver?” It’s cool to hear that you’re a living, breathing example of that happening.

What was the conversation like between you and your husband when you decided on these roles?


LIZA HINMAN: It was a little bit of a surprise for me, I think. I was in denial of how I was going to juggle a job and three kids and still have kind of the same experience. I was really lucky with Oscar in that I was able to be the primary caregiver. I was doing private consulting and catering, but I was basically out of “having a job” for over a year after he was born.

This time around I was under very different circumstances. I now have a restaurant and a lot more complicated work life. Beyond those first couple of months, it was obvious that I was going to be needed at the restaurant a lot more than was possible if I was going to be home with the kids a lot.

My husband came home from work one day and was like, “I had a talk.” He works with his family – they own a bakery – so we’re in a lucky circumstance that way. He basically said, “I’ve talked to my mom and my sister and told them this is what I really want to do, so hopefully they can work it out. I can work part time and then be home with the kids so that you can do what you need to do at work. We don’t have to farm the kids out.”

I was nervous about it at first, both financially and just letting go of all of those details. But it’s been a real blessing, I’d say.

Were you putting pressure on yourself to do it all? Were you having that feeling like, “I should be able to do this?”

Yeah, a little bit. I should be able to do this, and I want to do this. I wanted to. But once I got back to work I realized how much I needed that side of my life to be still in existence. If I had just totally let it go, I would really have felt unbalanced in a way. And it’s hard – every single day I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished enough as a mother or accomplished enough as a business owner, but I just have to tell myself that tomorrow can be a different story.

You’ve experienced success in a traditionally male-dominated field. What are the attitudes towards your situation – that of a working mother – in your workplace and in the restaurant industry as a whole?

It’s been interesting returning to work. In our workplace, we have a tiny little office that I share with two other people. It’s the only private space other than the bathroom, so that’s where I have to pump. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve been walked in on by a male cook or someone who’s just beyond horrified that they knocked and just threw the door open and didn’t even think about what was going on on the other side.

At the same time, I’m just totally casual about it; I don’t hide. I put my breast milk in the walk-in refrigerator on the cheese shelf, and that’s where it sits until I go home. They’ve all, I think, accepted my casual attitude towards that kind of stuff.

And I bring the babies to work a lot, if I just have to go in for a couple of hours and do some office work. I bring them with me and park them in the stroller, and the servers flirt with them while I’m doing stuff. So my coworkers are very aware of my situation and accepting of it, which has been good. I’ve just forced that to be part of the atmosphere, I guess.

As the chef and partner in the restaurant, I would hope you would be in a position to set that tone. People, just get on board!

Yeah, exactly. This is just the way it is. I actually work with a lot of people who have kids, too, in my kitchen. Although they’re mostly men, they mostly have kids, so they’re sympathetic or can identify somewhat with the situation.

I think, as far as the broader industry sense, I more and more sympathize with why women don’t last very long in this field because if you aren’t in a position like I’m in, where I can dictate (the culture), it’s really not a friendly atmosphere for a mother. The hours are crazy, and the jobs are physical. There’s not a lot of flexibility; I work weekends. And we struggle with that at home, too. My husband gets frustrated because I can’t go to yet another birthday party or family event because I have to do this or that. Those frustrations definitely exist, but so far we’ve managed to make it work.

Have you worked out any kind of regular schedule for yourself?

Yes. I have, and then it will evaporate on a moment’s notice. I came out of maternity leave because my sous chef forwarded me an email on a Sunday night from the next person down saying, “I’ve tendered my resignation as of today. I won’t be returning, blah, blah, blah.” I, of course, read the email before I’d even gotten up in the morning and rolled over and looked at my husband and said, “I guess I’m going back to work tomorrow.”

Then we’ve worked out a schedule where, when my husband’s working I’m at home, and when I’m working he’s at home, more or less, with some help from his family, which is huge.

Have you done anything to set aside time for you and your husband to spend together?

Yeah. We get it less often right now, but we try to arrange for Oscar to go to his grandmother’s for an evening or spend the night. The girls, we can get someone to … We actually live on the same property as Joe’s dad, so he’ll come over after they’ve gone to bed. We can just run out and get a drink or have a quick dinner. It’s a lot further between than we’d like right now.

It’s wonderful that one of you is almost always with your kids, but, of course, it means that you two become the whole ‘ships passing in the night’ thing.

Yeah, definitely. I try to make Sundays the sacred day where it’s family day. We’re both at home. We’re with our kids, and we do something either at the house or do some sort of adventure. It doesn’t happen every single week, but most weeks it does. At least we have that.

In thinking about what you’re doing for work, I realized that you’re in a position where when you’re at work, you’re creating and providing nourishment and comfort for other people, and you have to be away from your family to do that. Do you ever think about that?

It’s one of those things you can’t think about too much, or it’d make you really depressed.

I definitely recognize the irony of it. I more feel the pressure of my family or my husband or whomever looking at me thinking, “You’re choosing to nourish other people over your family at times, but you’re choosing that role. This week you’re more focused on them than you are on us.” It definitely is there in the back of my head, certainly. I try to just not let it get to me as much as I can.

But then I come home, and I’ve missed, like, “Bridget sat up today!” or those sorts of moments. Then I think to myself about all these other, maybe more traditional parents, all these husbands who might travel all the time. I have female friends, certainly, too, who are moms who are on the road for work or do all these other things and miss their kids for stretches of time. For me, I just remind myself that I do get to spend a fair amount of time with them for a working parent.

I’m curious about how your relationship to food effects your kids’ relationship to food. Obviously the girls probably aren’t eating much of anything just yet, but what about Oscar?

He’s a challenging eater. We’ve bemoaned the fact that we find ourselves making “kid food,” which we thought we never would. At the same time, you get to that point in your internal debate of, “This kid just needs calories,” versus, “He should be eating interesting, organic, perfect, home cooked meals all the time.” Sometimes it’s just not going to be that way.

Right now I’m enjoying being able to determine the baby food that I’m making for my girls, whereas Oscar, it’s like, his school lunch is either PB&J or salami and cheese and pickles.

Do you offer a kids’ menu at The Spinster Sisters?

We don’t, but we have a lot of food that kids will eat. I feel like kids don’t have to eat breaded chicken fingers and mac and cheese only. We serve breakfast and lunch so a lot of the breakfast stuff – there’s a waffle and scrambled eggs and things that – kids will eat. In the evenings, we do get a fair amount of families. They’ll order the veggies but without the spice. They’ll order the pasta with something on the side and just adapt what we do to kids’ taste. It seems to work. We’ve had a few people over the years ask for it, but it’s not that often.

What do you think about the kids’ menu phenomenon?

I feel like it’s a product of the generation that I grew up in where that’s what we ate all the time. There are these basic, dumbed-down staples. Yes, somewhere along the way it became an expectation – that’s just what you do. But I think more and more there are restaurants that are happy to create dishes for kids based on a parent saying, “Can we get pasta with just butter and cheese with some steamed peas on the side?” If we have it on the menu, sure, no problem. We’re not going to buy pre-made, breaded, in-the-freezer chicken fingers and throw them in the fryer for kids.

And you have the sense among your peers that chefs don’t mind being asked to modify things for kids’ tastes?

I don’t think so. For me, I don’t mind because the adults are just as picky as the kids. There are so many specific demands of adult diets these days that kids are simple in comparison.

What has been your one or two biggest challenges in trying to strike a balance between work and family?

I think the challenge is just the time, just the limitations of the day. The day flies by so fast. I get to work, and I have a list of 20 things and I get four of them done. Then I have to leave because I have to be home to pick up my kids from preschool. Then when I’m at home, it’s the schedule of dinner and bath and bed and all those things and, boom, the day is gone. Either I pass out or do I sit on my couch with my laptop and try and get a few more things done before I go to bed, and never feeling totally satisfied with everything. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges.

Then also, in my food world, almost as much as I love to cook, I love to be able to do research and read cookbooks and newspaper articles and really explore, to just enrich my depth of knowledge. Those sorts of things, unfortunately, fall to the bottom of the plate when you’re just trying to run a business, to make sure everyone shows up on time, and the food’s produced and the day gets done at work. Similarly at home, I don’t get to curl up with a good novel and have that life enrichment time that used to be part of my life that I took for granted.

At the risk of sounding trite, do you think it’s worth it? Is the struggle to balance a demanding job and the needs of your family worthwhile?

Yeah. There are definitely days when I just … I think it’s a real challenge and a real strain to be a business owner. A lot of days I think, “God, I just want to work for someone else. Just walk into a job, do my 8 hours, take a paycheck home and be done with it and not carry it with me everywhere I go.” But that’s not who I am. The reason I got into this is because I work like it’s my own business even when it isn’t, so it may as well be mine. It’s a tough position to be in and there are definitely days that I question it all, like when I have to hand off my kids and leave, and I really don’t want to.

Then there are days when I come home, and I had a great day at work, or I got to spend the whole morning with the girls, and we just hung out and rolled around on the carpet and I’m like, “Okay. That’s pretty good.”

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

The holidays are quickly on their way, and while there are tons of ways to celebrate, you should feel free to get a little creative with it and make your own traditions (there's no law requiring you to dress everyone in matching red velvet jumpers to sit on Santa's lap). So instead of battling between getting the perfect picture and your baby's natural urge to wiggle, harness the power of those inevitable Hallmark moments—the first giggle, the budding personality, the two-toothed grin—to make your December super special.

Here are six new traditions you can start to meet your little one where they are and celebrate joy in this season—without all the stress.

1. Make DIY ornaments

Decorating the tree is a beloved tradition, and having a little one is all the more reason to get into the spirit of it. Get the baby—and the rest of the family—involved in the fun by letting everyone color or paint on an unbreakable, homemade ornament and hang them towards the bottom of the tree. And sure, your infant may not create any masterpieces at this age, but not only will the precious family heirlooms stay higher up (read: away from tiny hands), you'll also be creating keepsakes to build on for years to come.

2. Bring a holiday scene to life

Connecting your children to the spirit of the season is an important part of teaching them what it's all about, but it's not always so easy to do through books and stories alone. Instead, offer them the chance to live it out! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or another significant holiday, playing pretend is the ideal way to teach and have fun along the way for everyone in the family. Use a kid-friendly nativity book as a guide or make your own menorah as you explore the story of the oil that burned for 8 nights—whatever your religion, there's an important tale to tell.

3. Make video cards

There is joy in receiving physical mail and holiday cards are a wonderful way to make your loved ones feel special. But don't stop there! Record a video greeting to send to your nearest and dearest to keep even the most far-away relatives feel like they're right there with you. Everyone will love seeing the baby's latest milestones in live-action, and it's a great way to spread the season's warmest greetings.

4. Start a time capsule box

Making (and maintaining) a baby book is a fabulous idea, but sometimes keeping it up-to-date gets lost in the shuffle of parenthood. Use the holiday season as a time to reconnect with all those beloved memories for your kiddo by starting an annual time capsule box: Each year, have all members of the family add one item of their choosing (or your choosing, depending on age) to the box and label it with a little note. Things can range from a favorite holiday-themed blanket or toy to something they no longer need but aren't ready to throw away.

5. Begin a culinary tradition

Nothing says "cozy" like a yummy-smelling kitchen filled with laughter. While your tot may still be too small to really help in the kitchen, it's never too early to kickstart their love of cooking. Pick a recipe you'll make every year and get them "involved" with a spoon and an empty mixing bowl. You'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor together and it'll help encourage them to cook with you more year-round, too.

6. Play king for a day

We all know that as babies grow up—independence is a priority, no matter how ready for it we really are. This year, give them the gift of being in charge. By allowing your little one to eat what they want, wear what they pick (a sparkly tutu? No problem. An adorable Christmas cape? Great!) and play with what they prefer, you'll be empowering them with a sense of self and giving yourself the gift of hilarious photo ops for years to come.

Our Partners

As an ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi talks to a lot of pro athletes. But as a parent he knows that sometimes raising kids is as hard as training for the big leagues (seriously, science proves that kids energy levels surpass endurance athletes' and parents are running after those kids).

Negandhi knows what it's like to be face-to-face with athletes that so many people idolize, but he also knows that a parent can be more influential than any big league idol, and that's why he's working with Dove Men+Care SPORTCARE to put real dads in the spotlight.

"We have a platform to showcase what they do as everyday athletes, but also as everyday men, everyday fathers," says Negandhi, who has three kids himself. He tells Motherly he tries to make sure he's active with his kids—playing sports with them so that they understand the importance of staying active—but also staying active with the kids when the touch football ends and the real parenting endurance test begins. Like many modern fathers, Negandhi is committed to doing more childcare than his own father did.

"My mom did everything in our house," he tells Motherly. "My dad worked, but my mom worked as well. And she did everything. She raised us. But at the same time she showed me another side. And many times growing up I said, 'How can I be different than my father?'"

Being involved with his kids and doing more of the unpaid work in his household than his own dad did is how Negandhi is doing it, and he's taking time to showcase three fellow dads who—while sharing their names with professional athletes—certainly don't get as much credit as the pros.

That is actually something of a problem in media right now. According to a recent survey by Dove Men+Care, 70% of men wish regular guys who are athletes (but not professionals) got more attention in sports media. Because as much as winning the Superbowl or making it to the major leagues should be celebrated, being a dad who is physically active and active in raising his kids should be celebrated, too.

Research shows that when kids grow up seeing dads exercise they are healthier, and while these three men happen to share their names with famous athletes, they don't get the same glory. So Negandhi and Dove Men+Care are giving these hard working dads some recognition.

Alvin Suarez

Alvin Suarez is teaching his kids that having a disability doesn't disqualify you from being an athlete. As a visually-impaired person, Alvin isn't the standard athlete we see represented in media. He plays Goalball, a sport that relies on keen ear-hand coordination, and he is certainly a keen father, chasing after his twin girls.

Alvin says the difference between sports and fatherhood is that you can train for sports, while parenthood takes you by surprise. "I try to be a good role model for my daughters and I want everyone to know that everyone has potential and that there is no such thing as a nobody."

Alvin has won championships as a Goalball player, but says holding his daughters in his arms for the first time was like winning a medal but multiplied by a million.

Sean Williams

Sean Williams is committed to his community and his kids. He uses physical fitness to connect with his kids and to, literally, save lives. A volunteer firefighter, Sean keeps fit so that he can use his body and energy to maximum impact. He isn't just changing the lives of people impacted by fires, but also his fellow dads.

The founder of The Dad Gang, an organization committed to celebrating and telling the real story of black fatherhood, Sean has created a space for dads to connect with their children and each other while staying active.

"One of the challenges we put out on social media is where you do pushups with our kids on our backs and that merges fatherhood and fitness," he explains.

If there was a Super Bowl for community service, Sean would be wearing the ring.

Chris Paul

A Marine Corps veteran, Chris needs a ton of energy to keep up with his blended family. It started out as an "all-girl Brady Bunch" he explains, as his wife and he had six daughters between them, but they've since added a boy to the family which now included seven kids. .

He's basically got his own sports team at home so it makes sense that Chris is super committed to staying fit for them. The Marine turned realtor takes time to help other dads in his community stay fit and knows when to draw boundaries to protect his time with his kids.

He's got some good endurance, but he's not going to work 15 hours a day when his kids are waiting at home for him. Chris says in former times dads were often passive figures in their kids' lives as the child rearing was done by others.

Like the other men, he's changing that. "I'm an active participant and I want to make sure that I can contribute to my children's lives."

You might also like:

News

Back in 2017 when we learned Beyoncé was starring in a new remake of The Lion King I was thrilled. My son (my only child) was almost 2 years old and I told my partner I wanted The Lion King to be our son's first movie theatre experience. Going to see the original Lion King in a movie theatre was a big deal to me as a kid and I wanted to recreate that experience for my son.

Flash forward to July 2019 and The Lion King is in theaters—but my son and I are not. Turns out I really overestimated how long 3-year-olds can sit still. While my son loves watching 1994's Lion King at home (he always stands on the couch and lifts his stuffed animals to the sky during "Circle of Life") he's just not quite subdued enough for the cinema yet.

FEATURED VIDEO

So we have been waiting to see The Lion King at home, and now we finally can! October 11 marks the film's digital home video release, and the Blu-ray hits stores on October 22.

Rob Legato, a VFX supervisor on the film, tells Motherly that "the visuals are so well preserved on 4K and newer television sets that it is literally the mini theatre experience and you're not missing much by seeing it at home."

Basically, the digital version is going to be just as awesome as seeing it in theaters, except that we will be able to pause for potty breaks and my kiddo can stand on his seat pretending to be Rafiki without blocking anyone's view.

The movie is, of course, incredible, but so are the animals it's based on. Screening the movie at home is an amazing way to start conversations with your kids about the various animals in the film as they are of course more similar to the real animals they are based on then their animated counterparts were in 1994.

The filmmakers went to Africa to research the animals they were bringing to life and they also spent a ton of time at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve inside Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida watching various species to try to make their movements as realistic as possible. There, 34 species live on 110 acres and the filmmakers got to watch them closely, making this film incredibly detailed.

Some of the animal experts who work with these animals on a daily basis say that when they watch The Lion King, they can actually tell which characters are based on which of the animals they know in real life.

"This film presented a really wonderful and unique opportunity to bring the production crew to the animals here at Disney's Animal Kingdom. They spent about 6 weeks here collecting reference footage of the animals here and we partnered really closely with the animal care teams at Disney's Animal Kingdom to make sure that all of the filming that we were doing, the impact to the animals was minimized," says Jon Ross of Disney's Animals in TV and Film department

The film crew watched the animals from a distance, which is something families can also do at Disney's Animal Kingdom by taking the Kilimanjaro Safari or staying in Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where giraffes and other animals can be seen right from hotel balconies.

But the work Disney is doing with the animals is more than a tourist attraction. The company is serious about conservation and protecting the animal species featured in the park and in its films. "Tied to the Lion King film we launched the Protect the Pride initiative," Claire Martin of Disney's Conservation & Partnerships team tells Motherly. "We realized that we'd lost half of the world's lions since the first Lion King film debuted and we want to turn that around, so we're working with the Wildlife Conservation Network's Lion Recovery Fund to help their vision to double the amount of lions in the wild by 2050," she explains.

Marin suggests that parents watching The Lion King with their kids can use the film to talk to their children about conservation issues and continue the education long after the end credits roll. "We encourage people to learn more, visit the website, get involved and learn more about how they can make an impact on lions and other wildlife across Africa," says Martin.

Through the website, parents can even download an activity packet (you can print it and make your kids a cool book) with all kinds of information and cool activities and to help kids feed their lion obsession in an educational way even when screen time is over.

The Lion King is available to stream now and will be on Blu-ray October 22 (with even more educational features about the animals!)

You might also like:

News

For those without a toddler glued to the screen, Blippi is the colorfully dressed, bespectacled YouTube alter ego of Stevin John. He delights children by acting like a little kid as he visits farms, indoor playgrounds, construction sites and more, teaching simple lessons and singing songs about everything he sees. His channel has 5.71 million subscribers, with hits like "The Excavator Song" racking up 50 million views.

This kind of success meant he was long overdue to take the show on the road. Earlier this week, he announced a 30-date U.S. tour with an interview on Billboard, as well as on his social media. But now parents of Blippi fans, are concerned that they won't get the "real" Blippi when they attend Blippi Live shows next year.

FEATURED VIDEO

Parents flocked to his site to purchase tickets, which cost $26-$70, for the shows running in February and March 2020. But some of them hadn't read the interview, nor did they notice the fine print on the FAQ page of the Blippi Live site that said Stevin John himself was not going to be on the stage.

"I won't be on the road, but I am obviously extremely involved with the whole process," John told Billboard. "Blippi is as a character and I'm the creative force behind it, but since YouTube is a monster and all of these platforms are really crazy I can't go on the road for many weeks or months at a time."

Some parents had even spent $40-$51 on the after-show meet-and-greet before they realized that their kids would be meeting an unfamiliar "performer" instead of John. Many reacted with outrage and immediately tried to get a refund, according to Buzzfeed News.

"I didn't find out until five seconds after I submitted my payment and Ticketmaster refused to refund me," Angelina Sakowski told Buzzfeed after she bought tickets to a New Jersey show.

Stephen Shaw, the producer and promoter of the Blippi Live show, told Buzzfeed that his company would be sending parents a letter informing them about the replacement performer and would offer refunds.

They have also since added this line to the Blippi Live site: "Stevin John is the creator of Blippi and acts as the writer and creative force behind the Blippi character. Now that Blippi has evolved as a character he is excited that a dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences across all of the tour markets."

It's hard to guess whether Blippi's actual target audience—i.e., not the upset parents—would care that stage Blippi was a slightly different person than the one they see on screens. After all, the Baby Sharks in the live show are 3D and therefore slightly different from the animated versions we all know and love/hate.

Stevin John issued a statement on the official Blippi Instagram account this week, which reads, in part: "We tried to make it clear that I would not be the character at the live show (via Billboard Exclusive Interview + FAQ on BlippiLive.com) but I'm sorry it seems that wasn't enough. We have adjusted and continue to make it even more apparent that it's not going to be me on stage. I will be the creative force behind the live show, as a producer, a writer, and also I am personally casting the live theater performer to play the character on stage."

You might also like:

News

Today, 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.

Each of these books have been featured in the Little Feminist book club, and our subscribers have read and loved them all!

1. Rosa Loves Cars

Ages 0-4

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.

SHOP

2. We are Little Feminists series

Ages 0-5

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!

SHOP

3. Big Mooncake for Little Star

Ages 2-6

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.

SHOP

4. Drum Dream Girl

Ages 3-7

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.

SHOP

5. Reading Beauty

Ages 3-7

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!

SHOP

6. My Papi has a Motorcycle

Ages 3-7

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.

SHOP

7. Separate is Never Equal

Ages 6-10

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.

SHOP

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

Ages 6-10

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.

SHOP

9. Josephine

Ages 7-13

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.

SHOP

10. Book Uncle and Me

Ages 7-13

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.

SHOP

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.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


You might also like:

Shop
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.