11 inspiring children’s books to teach kids about gender equality

Moving forward requires focus. Mashable’s Social Good Series is dedicated to exploring pathways to a greater good, spotlighting issues that are essential to making the world a better place.

Women are still passionately fighting for their rights in 2020, which is why it’s so crucial for parents, educators, and caregivers to teach kids about the importance of gender equality. 

If you’re searching for some resources to help educate young kids on respect, empathy, resilience, and self-esteem, we’ve complied a list of informative, inspiring, and engaging children’s books that all touch on the subject of gender equality.

Image:  Harry N. Abrams

Andrea Beaty has mastered the art of lifting up young girls through her stories. Ada Twist, Scientist, which was inspired by mathematician Ada Lovelace and physicist Marie Curie, tells the tale of a curious young girl named Ada with big ambitions and a love of problem solving. If you’re a fan of Ada’s journey, we also encourage you to check out some of Beaty’s other books, such as Rosie Revere, Engineer and Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.

Image: Philomel Books

Chelsea Clinton’s second children’s book, She Persisted was inspired by one of the most powerful feminist phrases of the modern era. The book highlights the careers of 13 influential women: Virginia Apgar, Nellie Bly, Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, Florence Griffith Joyner, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Sally Ride, Margaret Chase Smith, Sonia Sotomayor, Maria Tallchief, Harriet Tubman, and Oprah Winfrey. (It also includes a surprise reference, as well. Can you guess who?) If you’re a fan of She Persisted you can also check out the companion books, She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History and She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game.

Image: HarperCollins

“If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” That’s what Little Mae’s mom told Mae when she expressed her dreams of becoming an astronaut as a child. That message stuck with Mae and encouraged her to follow her dreams. Mae Among the Stars was inspired by the real-life journey of Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel to space. It’s a touching, inspiring tale that will remind young girls they can achieve their ambition with hard work and support.

Image: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Nobel Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai shares her wisdom with kids in Malala’s Magic Pencil. The book was inspired by a time in Malala’s childhood in Pakistan when she wished for a magic pencil that could fix the world’s problems. Though she never obtained a super-powered writing utensil, she realized that she could work to identify and solve problems herself. So that’s what she did. Malala’s Magic Pencil takes young kids on an enlightening journey of self-discovery. And kids can also enjoy Malala: My Story of Standing up for Girls’ Rights.

Image: HarperCollins

If you’re looking to shake things up a bit, this book of poems by Susan Hood is a perfect investment. The unique book shares stories of 14 noteworthy women — including paleontologist Mary Anning, painter Frida Kahlo, and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges — who all began making invaluable impacts in the world when they were young. In addition to being written and edited by women, 13 women provided illustrations for the book. What better way to show children that women have the power to do whatever they set their minds to?


A Computer Called Katherine tells the true story of Katherine Johnson, the masterful mathematician whose brilliant mind and determination helped America reach outer space and put a man on the moon. You may know Katherine from the popular Hidden Figures books or movie, but before she was helping make history at NASA she was a kid. A Computer Called Katherine depicts Johnson’s childhood and follows her educational journey all the way to NASA. The book teaches kids about racial and gender equality while enforcing the importance of overcoming gender stereotypes, fighting for your rights, and pursuing knowledge and subjects you’re passionate about.

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