In 1971, U.S. House Representative Bella Abzug presented a bill designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. The day was chosen to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, to the United States Constitution and women winning the right to vote. It is important to note that many women of color would have to wait several more decades for their voting rights to be recognized, and Black American women were not guaranteed the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Women’s Equality Day is an opportunity to learn and reflect on the women (and men) who fought for the 19th Amendment and voting rights for all Americans. Here are 15 recommended feminist books for kids, that will help them understand these important chapters in U.S. history.
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Children’s Books for Women’s Equality Day
History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote: Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the fight for women’s suffrage. (Ages 8 to 12)
Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote: We know a few famous names, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but what about so many others from diverse backgrounds—black, Asian, Latinx, Native American, and more—who helped lead the fight for suffrage? On the hundredth anniversary of the historic win for women’s rights, it’s time to celebrate the names and stories of the women whose stories have yet to be told. (Ages 8 to 12)
Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote: The fight for women’s suffrage between women’s rights leader Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson is creatively presented as a four-round boxing match in this energetic picture book. (Ages 7 to 10)
The Voice that Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History: If the Tennessee legislature approved the 19th Amendment, it would be ratified, giving all American women the right to vote. The historic moment came down to a single vote, and the voter who tipped the scale toward equality did so because of a powerful letter his mother, Febb Burn, had written him. (Ages 7 to 10)
Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America: This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done. (Ages 3 to 8)
Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told: Ida B. Wells worked bravely as an activist, educator, writer, journalist, suffragette, and pioneering voice against the horror of lynching. An inspiration for generations of civil rights crusaders, Wells’s own words are used throughout this picture book biography to introduce young readers to this leader. (Ages 4 to 8)
Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote: Bold & Brave introduces children to strong women who have raised their voices on behalf of justice–and inspires them to raise their own voices to build our future. (Ages 6 to 9)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Rights Pioneer: A biography telling the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a staunch supporter of women’s rights including women’s right to vote. Written in graphic-novel format. (Ages 9 to 12)
My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth: Written in the fiery and eloquent voice of Sojourner Truth herself, My Name Is Truth will captivate readers just as Sojourner’s passionate words enthralled her listeners. (Ages 6 to 10)
A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights: Activist Belva Lockwood had big dreams and didn’t let anyone stand in her way–not her father, her law school, or even the US Supreme Court. She fought for equality for women in the classroom, in the courtroom, and in politics. In her quest for fairness and parity, Belva ran for President of the United States, becoming the first woman on the ballot. (Ages 7 to 10)
Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist: Author Philip Dray tells the inspirational story of Ida B. Wells and her lifelong commitment to end injustice. Award-winning illustrator Stephen Alcorn’s remarkable illustrations recreate the tensions that threatened to upend a nation while paying tribute to a courageous American hero. (Ages 10+)
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles: In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car, embarking on a bumpy, muddy, unmapped journey ten thousand miles long. They took with them a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine, a wee black kitten, and a message for Americans all across the country: Votes for Women! (Ages 5 to 8)
Suffragists and Those Who Opposed Them: Although Thomas Jefferson wrote “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, women wouldn’t be allowed to vote in the United States until many years later. Suffragists, the women who fought for the vote, faced great opposition from several forces, even other groups of women. (Ages 9 to 12)
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Ages 5 to 9)
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality: Follows the trajectory of the movement in the U.K. and visits some key figures and moments in the United States as it presents the stories of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, and many more heroic women and men. (Ages 7 to 10)
Compiled by Erin Prather Stafford