Mindr's founder Sarah recently spoke at Stories After Bedtime, a speaker series for the adults that often accompany their littles to the magical Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab in Brooklyn. Looking around, we were dazzled by all the interesting, unexpected and deeply educational books that graced the shelves. So we invited the store's co-founder, Maggie Pouncey, to share some of her best recommendations for raising little feminists of all genders.
At our children’s bookshop in Brooklyn, Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, beautiful books on awe-inspiring, game-changing women arrive every week. From Rebel Girls to RAD Women, gorgeous anthologies and biographies and plain old great stories designed to lift up young girls are certainly having a literary moment, and we love it.
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” writes Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. “All children need to be exposed to a wide range of books that reflect the true diversity of our nation and world as they really are.” How revolutionary that through stories — which we truly believe can change the world—young girls and boys will learn not of the limitations of gender, but the vast possibility.
How revolutionary that through stories — which we truly believe can change the world—young girls and boys will learn not of the limitations of gender, but the vast possibility.
Here is a collection of some of our most favorite reads—from a playful rhyming board book for infants and toddlers, to an edgy graphic novel for teens—that we believe can help usher in a more equitable, empowering world for this next generation of book lovers.
This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer, by Joan Holub and illustrated by Daniel Roode
This sweet board book features legendary thought leaders like Ada Lovelace and Sonia Sotomayor. Each spread pairs a gentle rhyming description of a powerful woman with a brief factual description of the woman’s accomplishments, making it an excellent and informative read-aloud for the very youngest feminists. It ends with an important question: “Computers, law-making, designing, ballet — how will you change the world someday?”
Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoet
A coming-of-age picture book memoir told by the precocious, fearless Pakistani activist. Wonderfully illustrated, the book is both magical and factual. As a very young girl, Malala dreamed her pencil could grant wishes for her family, and her struggling community, and, in fact, her dream has come true, through the power of the written word and her incredible tenacity. A perfect gift for all the future writers in your life.
Gloria’s Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem—Feminist, Activist, Leader, by Aura Lewis
I love this super-chic, debut nonfiction picture book about the early life of Gloria Steinem, and how her relationship with her mother and her frustrations as a novice journalist helped her grow into the icon she became and the founder of Ms. magazine. An important reminder that roadblocks, adversity, skepticism are inevitable when you’re forging a new path, and while you don’t have to be immune to them, you often have to ignore them. Can’t wait for Lewis’s second book, The Illustrated Feminist, which will be published in 2020.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison
This collection of 40 mini-biographies started as a challenge that artist and author Vashti Harrison set for herself for Black History Month—to draw and describe one notable African American woman a day, and post to social media. “In a society where being black and female meant being an outsider or sometimes invisible, these women dared to go after what they wanted, to demand what they deserved,” she writes in her introduction. A stunning and stirring series of portraits of artists, athletes, activists and all-around amazing women. Stay tuned for Harrison’s follow-up anthology, coming November 2018, Visionary Women Around the World.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, by Penelope Bagieu
Translated from French, this graphic novel compilation of what artist Bagieu calls “broad-stroke portraits” will introduce young adult readers to trail blazers they may not be familiar with, from Moomin creator Tove Jansson to modern art collector Peggy Guggenheim. The subjects of these 29 portraits are true originals, whose lives were complicated, at times brutal, and show the many-wondered ways a woman can make a life for herself. Highly entertaining and distinctive, this will be a volume you’ll want to borrow from your teen when she — or he — is finished.
Ages 14 + up
Maggie Pouncey is the co-founder and co-owner of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, and the author of the novel, Perfect Reader, and the forthcoming picture book, The Fort on the Moon. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young sons.