Someone once defined fearless as “the lack of fear” and while that might be a literal definition, I don’t think it necessarily describes the word best. Fear is something hardwired into our nervous system and it’s impossible to get rid of—so how can someone lack fear? To me fearless means pushing through boundaries and taking a stand even though you are afraid. Fearless means knowing that it’s okay to be scared and still trying. I want young girls to know that being fearless means not being afraid of being afraid, that feeling fear is okay. But that it shouldn’t stop them or stand in their way. And because it’s Women’s History Month, I have a list of fearless girls for your young reader to learn about and celebrate.
What’s better than one fearless girl? 35 of them. The ever-talented Vashti Harrison has put together this beautiful, charming, information-filled full-color spread that show the Dreamers as both accessible and aspirational so your reader know they, too, can grow up to do something amazing.
Featuring the true stories of 35 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World inspires as it educates. Readers will meet trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, actor/inventor Hedy Lamarr, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, architect Zaha Hadid, filmmaker Maya Deren, and physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Some names are known, some are not, but all of the women had a lasting effect on the fields they worked in.
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
This award-winning Big Words series brings a legendary figure into focus and this installment is about the woman, the fighter, the public servant who dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality, the trailblazer herself: the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
As a student, teacher, lawyer, and judge, Ruth often experienced unfair treatment. But she persisted, becoming a cultural icon, championing equality in pay and opportunity. Her brilliant mind, compelling arguments, and staunch commitment to truth and justice have convinced many to stand with her, and her fight continues to this day. With Doreen Rappaport’s incisive prose combined with Ruth’s own words. Eric Velasquez’s dynamic illustrations infuse every scene with life in a moving tribute that will inspire young justice seekers everywhere.
by Meena Harris
by Marissa Valdez
Anyone who's ever been underestimated or overshadowed will find inspiration in this empowering picture book. Meena Harris based it on a true story about two women in her life whom she knows to be fearless—her mother, Maya Harris and her aunt, Vice President Kamala Harris.
When a young girl sees a strong woman on TV labeled as "too assertive" and "too ambitious," it sends her on a journey of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.
As Ambitious Girl says:
No "too that" or "too this"
will stop what's inside us from flowering.
by Julie Leung
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
Discover an inspiring picture book biography about Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military. The girl who was truly fearless. Not only of heights and flying, but of defying the odds and shattering ceilings. This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.
Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn't take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.
Created by Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart
Adapted by Samuel Sattin
An enchanting graphic novel about a feud, a friendship, two girls forever changed, and the fearless reason why they saved each other.
In a time of superstition and magic, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe, journeys to Ireland with her father whose job it is to wipe out the last wolf pack. Robyn, unable to hunt with her father and sick of being confined, sneaks out to explore the forbidden lands outside the city walls. There, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh, a member of a mysterious tribe of WOLFWALKERS rumored to have the ability to transform into wolves by night.
After learning that WOLFWALKERS aren't to be feared, Robyn decides she must protect Mebh and her pack from the hunters. As the girls search for Mebh’s missing mother, Robyn uncovers a secret that draws her further into the enchanted world of the WOLFWALKERS and risks turning her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.
For older readers:
With Liz Welch
by Aisholpan Nurgaiv
This true story tells how The Eagle Huntress wasn’t afraid to stand out in a crowd and how she became the first girl to compete in—and win—one of Mongolia's most prestigious competitions.
In this compelling memoir, teenaged eagle hunter Aisholpan Nurgaiv tells her own story for the first time, speaking directly with award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Liz Welch (I Will Always Write Back), who traveled to Mongolia for this book. Nurgaiv's story and fresh, sincere voice are not only inspiring but truly magnificent: with the support of her father, she captured and trained her own golden eagle and won the Ölgii eagle festival. She was the only girl to compete in the festival.
Filled with stunning photographs, The Eagle Huntress is a striking tale of determination—of a girl who defied expectations and achieved what others declared impossible. Aisholpan Nurgaiv's story is both unique and universally relatable: a memoir of survival, empowerment, and the positive impact of one person's triumph.
In this powerful book Malala Yousafzai introduces girls who are not without fear yet act fearlessly as they face the horrors of the world. Fear might have pushed them to act initially, but it is immense bravery and strength that allowed them to persevere.
After her father was murdered, Maria escaped in the middle of the night with her mother.
Zaynab was out of school for two years as she fled war before landing in America. Her sister, Sabreen, survived a harrowing journey to Italy.
Ajida escaped horrific violence, but then found herself battling the elements to keep her family safe.
Malala's experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement — first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys — girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they've ever known.