Young Adult Picks for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. Where we celebrate the contributions of women to history and society.

Here are some nonfiction, fiction, and graphic novels to help you celebrate the fabulous ladies of history and the modern day.

Nonfiction: Real Stories of Women Who Made (or Are Still Making) a Difference

We Should All Be Feminists
In this super short book (a long essay really) adapted from her TEDx talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, offers readers her vision of 21st century feminism. Adichie pulls away the mask on often hidden realities of sexual politics. She captures what it means to be a woman now, and conveys why we should all be feminists.

Notorious RBG
This book is full of awesome visuals that help tell the life story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka the Notorious RBG). It covers her perseverance to become a lawyer and judge in the face of sexism, and her appointment to the Supreme Court.

She Takes A Stand
A look at 16 brave women activists throughout history, up to the modern day. Full of role models and inspiration for the modern teen.

Rad American Women A-Z
So this is technically a picture book, but it’s just so rad! It illustrates 26 diverse women who made contributions to history. I bet there will be a few in there you haven’t heard of before. This is a fun one to read to a younger sibling.

Fight Like A Girl
A history of the feminist movement written for teens. If you want a better understanding of modern feminism and the fight for women’s rights then try this book.

Being Jazz
Jazz Jennings has been in the public eye for a long time. You may have even read her picture book. In this book she covers her experiences growing up as an openly transgender girl.

The Lightning Dreamer
Tells the story of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda a writer, feminist, and abolitionist who fought injustice in 19th century Cuba.

Fiction: Not Real Stories, but Real Emotion and Issues

Iron Cast
History and Magic mix in this story about two friends in 1919 Boston. Connie and Ada are “hemopaths”, people with a condition that allows them to perform illusions. The friends use their abilities to put on shows and make money. The only thing is, hemopath shows are illegal. This leads them both into a bunch of trouble. If you like a mix of history and fantasy then check this out.

Burn Baby Burn
Set in New York City during the summer of 1977. That’s the summer that saw the “Son of Sam” serial killings, a string of arson, and a city wide blackout. We follow Nora Lopez as she deals with family, love, and identity during one of the craziest summers New York City has ever seen.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Frankie is a Sophomore at a private boarding school. When her boyfriend won’t tell her about the all male secret school society he’s a part of she decides to infiltrate it and show them who's boss.

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
Glory is about to graduate from high school. And she’s started having horrible visions of the future involving a civil war where women are kidnapped and their rights are taken away. Mixes a weird concept with gender issues. A little trippy, but cool.

The Handmaid's Tale
One of the original dystopian novels. Envisions a world where women are not allowed to read, and are only valued for their ability to have children. The TV series is coming soon. Read the book first!

Graphic Novels: These Stories Use Sequential Art to Tell Stories About Awesome Women (Both Fictional and Real)

Persepolis
This graphic memoir covers author Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

Tomboy
Eschewing female stereotypes throughout her early years and failing to gain acceptance on the boys' baseball team, Liz learns to embrace her own views on gender as she comes of age, in an anecdotal graphic novel memoir.

Lumberjanes
Follows five awesome friends at summer camp. Except there are monsters and mystical mysteries to solve.

Ms. Marvel
The first female Muslim superhero. This tells the origins of the new teenage Ms Marvel. She gets superpowers after sneaking out to go to a party and getting doused with a weird mist. She decides to start fighting crime like her idol “Captain Marvel.” Meanwhile she must deal with her regular life including balancing her Muslim, Pakistani, Female, and American identities. All with a dose of humor too.

Saints

Set in China during the Boxer Rebellion, an anti-foreign, anti-Christian uprising that took place between 1899-1901. Saints follows a fictional unwanted daughter who is never even given a proper name by her family. She finally finds a home and a name with Christian missionaries and their followers. But China is a dangerous place for Christians, and our heroine will need to decide where her loyalties lie. This is a super moving story, and has a companion graphic novel, “Boxers” that tells the story of the rebellion from the other side. It's worth checking out too.

What's your favorite story with a leading lady? Let us know in the comments.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of San Mateo County Libraries