There's no disputing the fact that superheroes like Wonder Woman and Princess Leia are cool. They're brave, confident and revolutionary. But these days, in the face of some of the most challenging times we've ever experienced, it feels more important than ever to teach our children about real-life superheroes—especially the ones who helped shape the world today and started the important work that we clearly have so much more of to do.

So, when I first discovered Piccolina's inspiring Trailblazer T-shirts, I was thrilled. Not only do they feature famous (and not surprisingly, not so famous) female icons designed by female artists from all over the world, but they open the door for some of the most engaging conversations and heart-expanding moments you could ever ask for from a simple piece of clothing.

That might sound like a stretch, but hear me out.


I'm a mom of two biracial kiddos. Since they were babies, I've filled their bookshelves with colorful true stories of change-makers and risk-takers. Activists and artists. Educating them on the ugliness of the past without breaking their spirit has been the most delicate dance of my parental experience. Racism is real. Slavery happened. Watching your child's face fall as they put the pieces together and whisper, "I could have been a slave?" isn't something you get over. Still, I want them to believe, to know, that their voice matters and that it's well within their power to make a difference.

So when my then eight-year-old daughter pulled on her Harriet Tubman shirt for the first time, the beauty and significance of that moment hit me and it hit me hard. We'd read about her for so long. I may have choked back tears every time we read our copy of Ordinary People Change the World: I am Harriet Tubman, but in those hours she'd become my daughter's hero. And with her hero on her chest, she bounded off to school, book in hand to share with her class that day.

While there's nothing wrong with superheroes, these trailblazers are the real deal. Through their lives we can teach our children what it means to be brave, affect change and make a difference.

To inspire courage: Harriet Tubman

Piccolina Harriet Tubman trailblazer tee

Born into slavery in the early 1820s, Harriet Tubman escaped to the North via the Underground Railroad in 1849. Undeterred by the risk it posed, she returned to rescue family, and selflessly went on to make the trip 18 more times to guide hundreds of other slaves to freedom. Her missions in the face of unfathomable danger are the very definition of courage.

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To ignite their inner firecracker: Eleanor Roosevelt

Piccolina eleanor roosevelt trailblazer tee

Standing quietly by her husband's side was not going to work for Eleanor Roosevelt. When she became the First Lady in 1933, she stepped up to dramatically redefine the role from resident White House hostess to holding press conferences and speaking out for human rights, children's causes and women's issues— even working on behalf of the League of Women Voters. Through her energy and passion, she became known as a humanitarian and change-maker in her own right devoting her life to helping others and working for peace.

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 To inspire them to speak their truth: Maya Angelou 

Piccolina Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

Author. Poet. Actress. Screenwriter. Dancer. Civil rights activist. Recipient of more than 30 honorary doctoral degrees. The list of Maya Angelou's accomplishments seems nearly impossible to be achieved by one person alone. Her poignant autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, focused on her early life in the 1930s and 40s, and provides an honest look at racial prejudices in the United States at that time and made literary history as the first nonfiction bestseller by an African-American woman.

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 To encourage them to seek justice for all: Ida B. Wells 

Piccolina Ida B Wells trailblazer tee

The Emancipation Proclamation may have technically freed Ida B. Wells from slavery before she was six months old, but the deep injustices of racism shaped every aspect of her life in Mississippi. Her strong will and steadfast belief in America's promise of "freedom and justice for all," led her to become an activist, educator, writer, journalist, suffragette and pioneering voice against the horror of lynching.

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To teach them to stand up for themselves: Rosa Parks 

Piccolina Rosa Parks trailblazer t-shirt

In 1955, Rosa's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man ignited the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, bringing the civil rights movement to national attention. Through her seemingly small action, she earned the title of "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement."

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To encourage them to question: Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Piccolina Ruth Bader Ginsburg Trailblazer t-shirt

From graduating at the top of her class at Cornell, making her way through Columbia and Harvard Law School as a new mom and eventually taking her seat as a Supreme Court Justice, the indomitable 5-foot one RBG was a giant when it came to seeking justice for all.

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$28

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