March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate inspiring and often little-known women who had the courage to follow their dreams and make lasting impacts on those around them. Explore these picture book biographies for the incredible true stories of unsung heroes in history who dared to change the world against all odds, and encourage young readers to celebrate other women whose accomplishments and contributions may go unrecognized.

Away with Words
The Daring True Story of Explorer Isabella Bird

by Lori Mortensen
illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

Away with Words is an information-filled story sure to satisfy curious young historians and an inspiring picture book biography for readers seeking adventure-filled girl power stories during Women’s History Month. Lori Mortensen’s text explores the life of Isabella Bird, a daring nineteenth-century explorer and the first woman to become a member of the Royal Geographic Society, and Kristy Caldwell’s detailed illustrations illuminate Bird’s travels through the English countryside, then America, Canada, Africa, Asia, Australia, and beyond.

Taking Off
Airborne with Mary Wilkins Ellis

by Emily Arnold McCully

Witness the true story of how Mary Wilkins Ellis’ childhood passion for flying led to an exciting career in the air in this picture book biography from Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully. Featuring the inspiring story of a woman who made history and changed aviation for women everywhere, the watercolor and ink illustrations perfectly capture the exhilaration of flying and bring a little-known figure and her can-do spirit to life. Extensive back matter includes additional information about Mary Wilkins Ellis and the Airport Transport Auxiliary.

Stitch by Stitch
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom

by Connie Schofield-Morrison
illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born in 1818, enslaved to a Virginian plantation owner. But a new master who learned Lizzy could sew sent her to work for a tailor, where the beautiful gowns that Lizzy created were displayed in the tailor’s window and soon attracted the attention of the wealthiest women in Virginia. Though Lizzy first had to borrow money from her wealthy patrons to buy her freedom, once she was free, she was able to earn money of her own and pay them all back. This powerful story about an awe-inspiring African American woman features striking mixed media illustrations including oil paint, paper, fabric, ribbon, embroidery, lace, and appliqué.

Thanks to Frances Perkins

Thanks to Frances Perkins
Fighter for Workers’ Rights

by Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

After witnessing the Triangle Waist Factory fire in 1911, Frances Perkins was forever changed and immediately got to work and joined the fight for workers’ rights. As Secretary of Labor in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, Frances had the opportunity to make real her bold vision of a country where no one is left out and Americans are protected. This fascinating story introduces early concepts of financial literacy, the Social Security Act, and the New Deal, and the book’s back matter features more information about Frances Perkins, Social Security, and resources for economic education.

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells
The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist

by Philip Dray
illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in America’s promise of “freedom and justice for all,” young Ida held her family together, defied society’s conventions, and used her position as a journalist to speak against injustice. But how could one headstrong young woman help free America from the looming “shadow of lawlessness”? This award-winning story of Ida B. Wells and her lifelong commitment to end injustice is a must-have for American, Black, and women’s history collections.