We all have our favorite heroines from children's and young adult literature: Eloise, Pippi, Hermione, Katniss, Matilda—the list goes on and on. And then there are the real-life historical figures who paved the way for little girls everwhere: Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks and so many others.

In honor of Women's History Month, we're highlighting 10 new books that give young readers a fresh batch of heroines, from new fictional favorites to historical role models getting some much-deserved attention:


Eleanor “Ellen” Prentiss in Dare the Wind by Tracey Fern, illus. by Emily Arnold McCully
Dare the WindAges 3 to 5

"Ellen, 'born with saltwater in her veins,' spent her days at the shore and learned at a young age from her father how to navigate a ship and operate a sextant. Because of Ellen’s desire for adventure and her competitive nature ('there is no glory in second place'), her father would often caution her—a recurring theme in this story—that 'a true navigator must have the caution to read the sea, as well as the courage to dare the wind.'" Read our full review.


Florence Nightingale in Florence Nightingale by Demi
Florence NightingaleAges 4 to 8

"Whether you’re an adult or a child, this new picture book biography gives an informed overview of intriguing nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. . . . [S]he felt that God wanted her to help people through nursing, even though the idea 'horrified' her parents." Read our full review.


Kate Sessions in The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins
The Tree LadyAges 5 to 10

"When a job lands Kate in San Diego, she sets her mind on transforming the dry, barren town into a site of tree-filled splendor. The story of how she makes her vision a reality is a remarkable one." Read our full review.


JosephineJosephine Baker in Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, illus. by Christian Robinson
Ages 8 to 10

"With grace, simple shapes and lots of style and movement, this book perfectly captures Josephine, with a varied and vibrant color palette that complements her dynamic personality. Josephine is an extraordinary tribute to an American legend." Read our full review.


When Audrey Met AliceAlice Roosevelt in When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens
Ages 9 and up

"Sulking around the White House one night, Audrey discovers a hidden compartment containing a diary written by a previous First Daughter, Alice Roosevelt. Alice’s desire to 'eat up the world' and claim an independent identity for herself—including bringing her pet snake to state functions, dancing on the roof and sneaking a boy past White House guards—inspire Audrey to try similar antics, with results that don’t always end up as planned." Read our full review.


The Ghosts of Tupelo LandingMo LoBeau in The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Ages 10 and up

"On the heels of solving her first mystery in the Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky, Mo LoBeau faces more intrigue in her tiny North Carolina town of Tupelo Landing. . . . Small-town charm, clever dialogue and Mo’s unyielding wit are excellent reminders of why the first book was so successful." Read our full review.


Willow Chance in Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanCounting by 7s
Ages 10 and up

"Sloan has created a story where the line between youth and adulthood moves back and forth, often more than once in a single day—and where kids and adults 'have relationships that are real and go both directions,' she says. The book is a moving, often funny reminder that such relationships are worth cultivating, and that being open to new people and experiences—however strange or difficult they may seem—can lead to wonderful things." Read our full interview with Sloan.


Laila in The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. CarlesonThe Tyrant's Daughter
Ages 12 and up

"Laila is observant, analytical and introspective, regularly comparing American customs to her family’s old existence of royal restriction. She neither fully condemns nor endorses either one of her lives or the people associated with them, but rather walks the common ground between them and begins to understand them." Read our full review.


Rose Justice in Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth WeinRose Under Fire
Ages 14 and up

"Eighteen-year-old American pilot and amateur poet Rose Justice has pulled some strings to land a spot with Great Britain’s Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). As the daughter of a flight school director, she has been flying since she was 12, and after three months with ATA, she can deliver new and repaired Spitfire fighter planes to airfields without batting an eyelash." Read our full review.


Emily Beam in And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
And We StayAges 14 and up

"As Emily attempts to fit in at ASG and strives to articulate her feelings about the events surrounding her boyfriend’s recent death, she begins to feel a real kinship with Dickinson, whose work proves 'to other daughters of America, the ones who endure, who rise like rare birds from the ashes, that they are not alone.'" Read our full review.


We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below about your favorite young adult or children's book that stars a kick-butt heroine.

comments powered by Disqus