A collection of biographies and autobiographies about women with strong, unique characters who followed their own inclinations and dreams. More books for children are at Kids Path.


Ada Byron Lovelace and the thinking machine

Wallmark, Laurie,
Call Number: x 92 L898Wal
Grades 1-3.
Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. When she meets Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, Ada understands the machine better than anyone else and writes the world's first computer program in order to demonstrate its capabilities.

Alicia Alonso : prima ballerina

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T.
Call Number: x 92 A454Be
Grades 4 and up.
Alicia did not let partial blindness or the loss of her peripheral vision stop her from becoming the principal dancer in Ballet Theater and founding her own company in Cuba. After the company folded from financial difficulty, Cuba gave Alicia the money to create a dance school, where she still directs today. This is her story. Beautifully illustrated by Raul Colon.

Daredevil : the daring life of Betty Skelton

McCarthy, Meghan.
Call Number: x 92 S5455Mc
Grades 2-5.
Intrepid Betty Skelton played with a toy airplane in the 1930s when other little girls played with dolls.  At 12 she learned to fly. She became a stunt pilot until that became boring, then went on to break records racing cars and boats. She even trained with the Mercury 7 astronauts!
 

For the love of music : the remarkable story of Maria Anna Mozart

Rusch, Elizabeth.
Call Number: x 92 B485Ru
Grades 3-5.
The story of Maria Anna Mozart, older sister to Wolfgang, who as a child was considered to be one of the best pianists in Europe, but who later was forced to give up performing and ended in obscurity.  Gorgeous illustrations and a long author's note.  Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Life in the ocean : the story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Nivola, Claire A.
Call Number: x 92 E125Ni
Grades 3-5.
Picture book biography of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who broke a lot of barriers in her quest to learn more about the depths of the ocean.  Charming illustrations and poetic writing.
 

Night flight : Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic

Burleigh, Robert.
Call Number: x 92 E12Bur
Grades K-5.
Lyrical language and gorgeous artwork present the harrowing tale of Earhart's history-making attempt to be the first woman to pilot across the Atlantic Ocean, alone.  Breathtaking, and a fine read-aloud.
 

Queen of the Falls

Van Allsburg, Chris.
Call Number: x 92 T238Va

Grades 2-5.

Distinctive art enhances this story of an unlikely daredevil. 62-year-old widow Annie Taylor was the first person and only woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel by herself - and survive! Oddly relevant in today's reality television world.

Rachel Carson and her book that changed the world

Lawlor, Laurie.
Call Number: x 92 C321Law
Grades 2-4.
Charming picture book bio of Carson, whose unladylike interest in science caused her to do many brave things, including write and publish Silent Spring, a book which woke people up to the dangers of chemicals in the environment.  Includes afterword, resources.
 

Sarah Emma Edmonds was a great pretender : the true story of a Civil War spy

Jones, Carrie.
Call Number: x 92 E24Jo
Grades 2-5.
Wonderful picture book biography about a brave and imaginative woman who spied for the Union Army during the Civil War. The story is exciting, the pictures are appealing, and it's a fabulous read-aloud.
 

Shining star : the Anna May Wong story

Yoo, Paula.
Call Number: x 92 W8717Yo
Grades 2-5
She dreamed of being an actress while working in her family’s Los Angeles laundry.  Even after achieving that dream, she had to struggle to get roles that showed Chinese women in a positive, realistic light.

Temple Grandin : how the girl who loved cows embraced autism and changed the world

Montgomery, Sy.
Call Number: x 92 G753Mo

Grades 5 and up.

An inspiring and engaging photo-biography about a girl who, despite the odds, became a scientist and professor while living with autism. With a love and compassion for animals, a fierce determination, and a mind unlike anyone else’s, she created a more humane cattle industry. Includes a forward and advice for kids on the autism spectrum by Grandin, plus bibliography, websites, index.

Touch the sky : Alice Coachman, Olympic high jumper

Malaspina, Ann, 1957-
Call Number: x 796.4 C652Ma
(Gr. K-5)  Inspiring story of a girl who wanted to run and jump more than anything, and how she achieved her dream, eventually becoming the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics.
 

Voice of freedom : Fannie Lou Hamer, spirit of the civil rights movement

Weatherford, Carole Boston, 1956-
Call Number: x 811 W362-4
Grades 3-5.
Free-verse poems and stunning illustrations combine to tell the story of a woman who came from humble beginnings and endured much – ultimately emerging as a national hero and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

Who says women can't be doctors? : the story of Elizabeth Blackwell

Stone, Tanya Lee.
Call Number: x 92 B632St
Grades K-1.
A brief and entertaining look at Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America.  She hadn’t really ever wanted to be a doctor (she hated being around sick people), but she saw the need for female doctors, and she was determined to succeed. The story ends when Blackwell graduates from medical school, but there is a long author's note and a list of sources.

Zora! : the life of Zora Neal Hurston

Fradin, Judith Bloom.
Call Number: x 92 H966Fr
Grades 4-7.
Accessible and fascinating account of a writer who lived a remarkable, if difficult, life.  Includes timeline, bibliography, index, and two "lies" (folktales) collected by Hurston.