Women Politicians, Activists, and Peacemakers

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

These youth titles present fascinating women who made (and are making) our world a better place through their hard work, dedication, and emotional and physical strength.

  • Lizzie Demands a Seat! Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights

    2020 by Anderson, Beth

    One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City. She was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened, all because of her race--even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court, and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation. Ages 6 and up.

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  • Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

    2020 by Grimes, Nikki

    The first picture book biography of Vice President Kamala Harris, this book beautifully weaves together her life from its beginnings to her run for Vice President. The lyrical text and detailed illustrations make this a must-read. Ages 4 and up.

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  • Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers' Rights

    2020 by Hopkinson, Deborah

    After she witnessed the 1911 catastrophic fire at the Triangle Waist Company, in which 146 people died, Frances Perkins devoted her life to improving conditions for workers. Ages 6 and up.

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  • Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

    2010 by Johnson, Jen Cullerton

    This biography of Kenyan Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai describes her determination to get an education as a young girl, leading to her fight against the destruction of the environment and her people with the development of the Green Belt Movement. Ages 6 and up.

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  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

    2016 by Levy, Debbie

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent a lifetime dissenting: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what's right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG tells her story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements. Ages 6 and up.

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  • She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

    2020 by Russell-Brown, Katheryn

    This picture book biography of Shirley Chisholm, an educator and politician, covers her years as the first Black female member of Congress and as the first Black female candidate for the Democratic Presidential ticket in 1972. Includes photographs and other biographical information. Ages 6 and up.

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  • Leading the Way: Women in Power

    2019 by Howell, Janet

    This anthology celebrates the contributions of 50 American women visionaries, politicians, and activists--complete with fact-filled biographies and first-person quotations, as well as a "Take-Action Guide" for those who are ready to take a stand. Ages 10 and up.

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  • The House That Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams

    2015 by Stone, Tanya Lee

    Jane Addams' story begins not far from where we live, on Chicago's south side. Jane created the Hull House--a place where people could find food, work, and community. She transformed the lives of thousands of people through her generous efforts. Ages 5 and up.

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  • The Protest

    2021 by Thornhill, Samantha

    In this story, Lily and her friends organize a protest to save their community garden from being demolished. A great primer for kids to learn how to make change. Ages 4 and up.

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  • Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg's Call to Save the Planet

    2019 by Winter, Jeanette

    This is the story of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage climate activist who has sparked a worldwide student movement and demands action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. The book ends with a call to action: What will you do? Ages 3 and up.

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  • Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx

    2009 by Winter, Jonah

    Sonia Sotomayor was born in the South Bronx, NY, and--with her hard work and dedication from her mother-- rose to be the first Latina justice on the United States Supreme Court. Ages 4 and up.

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  • We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls around the World

    2019 by Yousafzai, Malala

    Malala Yousafzai, an international education activist and Nobel Peace PrIze Winner, was once an Internally Displaced Person as a child in her native Pakistan. This book is a memoir of her life, complemented with stories from other young girls and women she has met in her journeys--about the loss of community, family, and a place to call home, and the hopes and dreams that are lost, too. Ages 14 and up.

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