Art, Books, Reviews

5 Wonderful & Inspiring Nonfiction Girl Power Books

Books inspire … in so many ways! They inspire readers to act upon something, to try to achieve more, to learn, to simply be curious, to let their imaginations run wild, to reach out, to read more, to… well, like I said before, do so many more things! And as I continue reading amazing nonfiction books for the Cybils Awards, I am sure I will continue to share the books and my thoughts on them with you here. Today, I bring you five of those inspiring nonfiction girl power books this time, or rather, once again!

There are still so many more books that I need to read, and I hope I can continue to read, catch up on all the reading for the awards, and share them with you all at the same time. And I have to confess that I end up reading a little fiction here and there in between – for one, I am rereading Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series (one of my favorites) in anticipation of the Christmas release of the Netflix series based on this!

Anyways, back to the books I want to share. Here they are…..

This post contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support. Please see the full disclosure for more information. I only recommend products I definitely would (or have already) use myself.

5 Inspiring Nonfiction Girl Power Books

Mamie on the Mound

Book Info

Title: Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues
Author: Leah Henderson
Illustrator: George Doutsiopoulos 
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography, Sports, Women (8 – 12 years)
Publisher: Capstone Editions(January 1st 2020)

My Thoughts

What It Is

This is the story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and her three years in the Negro Leagues. Yet another discovery of an unknown trailblazer (at least for me) – Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was an American professional baseball player who was one of three women, and the first female pitcher, to play in the Negro Leagues.

The How (I Felt)

It was impressive to read how Mamie broke two barriers – that of being a woman, and of being a person of color; as well as inspiring and emotional to read about the sacrifices she made to achieve these goals. The fact that she managed to achieve the impossible given that time period, then return to her family and pursue other dreams – of becoming a nurse and also coaching a little league team – was awe-inspiring indeed.

The cartoonish digital (?) illustrations are cute and lively complementing the narrative of Mamie’s story wonderfully. Both the straightforward narrative and beautiful illustrations convey Mamie’s perseverance and determination against all odds effortlessly.

Backmatter includes an afterword, photographs, more information on Mamie’s post baseball life, and reading resources.

Perfect Pairing

A sports related book like Unbeatable Betty or stories of women of color like The Power of Her Pen.

In Summary

This is an excellent picture book biography that touches on many issues: including racism, segregation based on race/color, and sexism.

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Book Info

Title: Beatrix Potter, Scientist
Author: Lindsay H. Metcalf 
Illustrator: Junyi Wu 
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography, STEAM Women (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 1, 2020)

My Thoughts

What It Is

As the title states, this is an introduction to Beatrix Potter – as a scientist. Before Potter became the author and illustrator we know her as, she was a girl of science. This book focuses on that girl, her interest in fungi, and her attempts to submit her findings to (and possibly join) the Linnean Society of London. After she faces rejection, the story shifts gears along with Potter as she works on using her skills to pursue new passions.

The How (I Felt)

A whole new side to the beloved author and illustrator we all know – the scientist! It both infuriates and inspires me when I read stories like this. The first reaction because people were often discouraged, nay – prohibited, from doing things because of who they were; in this case women were excluded from going to school, joining and participating in scientific societies, and any discoveries they made were ignored completely. On the other hand, it is inspiring to see how these people, in this case, Potter, persist with their passions and dreams despite all the obstacles they face.

The pastel illustrations are full of feeling, and color; we can see the text come to life as we look at the art, and marvel at both the beautiful artwork of this book’s illustrator and that of Potter who inspired this book! The backmatter includes additional information about Potter as well as a timeline and reading resources for the curious reader.

Perfect Pairing

This book reminded me of Dinosaur Lady for some reason, so that is the suggested pairing as well!

In Summary

A fun and charming biography of Beatrix Potter.

Get It Here

 Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

I Am a Promise

Book Info

Title: I Am a Promise
Author: Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Ashley Rousseau
Illustrator: Rachel Moss  
Length: 24 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography, Sports, Women (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Black Sheep (February 4th 2020)

My Thoughts

What It Is (From Goodreads Description)

An inspiring children’s picture book about the indomitable spirit of Jamaican six-time Olympic medal winner Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce.

The How (I Felt)

I totally loved the premise of the story – that a person can be a promise! And the story itself is inspiring as we follow Shelley Pryce from her childhood to being in the 2008 Olympics and further. It is a story of her passion for running, of hard work and pursuing dreams no matter what. An encouraging story with a positive message told with a simple and direct narrative and beautiful illustrations.

Perfect Pairing

Unbeatable Betty fits this to a T! And both Mamie on the Mound as well as Yusra Swims (both reviewed in this post) also work well..

In Summary

A great introduction to an inspiring sports legend..

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

A Voice Named Aretha

Book Info

Title: A Voice Named Aretha
Author: Katheryn Russell-Brown
Illustrator: Laura Freeman 
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography, Women, Music, Social Issues (4 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books(January 7th 2020 )

My Thoughts

What It Is (from Goodreads description)

In this stirring biography of a true artistic and social icon, award-winning creators Katheryn Russell-Brown and Laura Freeman show young readers how Aretha’s talent, intelligence, and perseverance made her a star who will shine on for generations to come.

The How (I Felt)

This book conveys Aretha Franklin’s soul, her energy and verve through both the narrative and artwork. We see Aretha transform from a shy, little girl with a big singing voice to the legend she grew up to become.

The narrative captures important events in Aretha’s life, and I loved how the author included some specific interesting facts throughout the book (for example, how Franklin would only perform in venues open to people of all colors). It is just wordy enough for its target audience yet will appeal to older audiences as well.

Bold, bright, colorful, and realistic illustrations done in mainly royal colors as befitting the Queen of Soul capture Aretha Franklin’s personality and set the right atmosphere for telling her story. Like the prose, the artwork also includes little details that add to the story (like crowns hidden throughout, and of course, even the emotions captured perfectly).

Backmatter is not to be missed; includes more about the Queen of Soul, a list of her some of her most popular songs, additional sources and notes, as well as a heartfelt tribute in the form of both the author’s and the illustrator’s notes.

Perfect Pairing

A book I read but forgot to review – Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker… And of course, Aretha Franklin’s music playing in the background as you read it!!

In Summary

A rich, vibrant and powerful biography of the Queen of Soul. Bound to inspire all who read it..

Get It Here

 Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

Yusra Swims

Book Info

Title: Yusra Swims
Author: Julie Abery
Illustrator: Sally Deng  
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography, Sports, Women (6 – 8 years)
Publisher: Creative Editions(February 25th 2020)

My Thoughts

What It Is (Goodreads Description)

A biography in rhyme relates the story of Olympic swimmer and Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini.

The How (I Felt)

While I recall seeing the refugee team in the 2016 Olympics and feeling inspired by their stories, I certainly didn’t recall any individual names or the stories themselves. And reading this book showed me that I need to rectify that now.

Thanks to this book, I have made a start – even if just a tiny one. This picture book using sparse rhyming text that manages to inform and empower and stunning artwork filled with those little details that add to the story relates the story of Yusra Mardini, starting from her life in Syria where she first started swimming to her escape from a war-torn Syria and her passion to follow her dreams that eventually led her to the Olympics.

I was amazed at how much I learned even with the sparse text in the book; and I am sure you will enjoy it too. And I totally fell in love with the dreamy yet action-filled artwork.

Perfect Pairing

Sports related books like Unbeatable Betty or Mamie on the Mound in this post, or stories about immigration like When Stars are Scattered. For some reason, this also reminded me of Numenia and the Hurricane (a book about a bird’s migration story).

In Summary

A book that flows effortlessly in narrative and accompanying illustrations to convey this uplifting inspiring story of pursuing dreams in the face of seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.

Get It Here

Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

Pin Me

5 Wonderful & Inspiring Nonfiction Girl Power Books

Disclaimer: Thanks to Edelweiss and publishers for digital review copies of I am a Promise and A Voice Named Aretha. These are my honest opinions after reading these books.

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the featured nonfiction girl power books!? If yes, your thoughts on those are welcome.. If not, which of these books would you pick first. And as always, your recommendations please..

40 thoughts on “5 Wonderful & Inspiring Nonfiction Girl Power Books

  1. Each one sounds like a gem! I wish there had been more books like this when I was growing up. Thanks for pointing these out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.