Girl Power! Our Favorite Female Protagonists
Looking for inspiring books with diverse female protagonists?
Children’s literature plays a crucial role in shaping young minds and attitudes toward diversity, inclusion, and gender equality. Books with strong female characters can inspire and empower girls and provide them with positive role models. However, it’s not just crucial for young girls. It is equally important for boys to be exposed to female characters who are independent, brave, and capable. This can help to break down the societal notion that only men are fit for leadership roles and help to create a more inclusive and diverse culture. Additionally, reading books with strong female lead characters can help to increase empathy and understanding between genders, as boys can learn to appreciate and respect the perspectives of girls and women.
We’ve compiled a list of our top picks for children’s books with strong BIPOC female characters written by BIPOC authors. Our recommendations feature diverse characters, positive messages, and themes of girl power.
“Dream Big, Little One” by Vashti Harrison
“Dream Big, Little One” is a collection of inspiring stories about the achievements of Black women throughout history. The book is beautifully illustrated and encourages young girls to dream big and reach for their goals.
“The Proudest Blue” by Ibtihaj Muhammad
This picture book is about a young Muslim girl named Faizah who admires her older sister Asiya’s new hijab. However, on her first day of school, Faizah notices some kids teasing Asiya for wearing it. Faizah and Asiya’s mother reminds them that the hijab symbolizes strength, and Asiya continues to wear it proudly. Written by Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, “The Proudest Blue” encourages children to embrace their culture and identity.
“I Am Enough” is a powerful book that teaches children to love and accept themselves just as they are. It features a young Asian-American girl named Mei who learns to embrace her individuality and celebrate her cultural heritage. The book encourages young readers to feel proud of who they are and to appreciate the diversity of the world around them.
“Mango, Abuela, and Me” by Meg Medina
“Mango, Abuela, and Me” is a heartwarming story about a young girl named Mia who is learning to speak Spanish with her grandmother. This book celebrates the bond between grandparents and grandchildren and introduces children to the beauty of bilingualism.
“Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel” by Nikki Grimes
“Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel” follows the character Dyamonde Daniel, a spunky and determined young girl who has just moved to a new neighborhood. Dyamonde is excited about her new school and making new friends, but she quickly discovers that not everyone is friendly toward her.
“Yasmin In Charge” by Saadia Faruqui
“Yasmin In Charge” features the character Yasmin, a young Pakistani-American girl. The story follows Yasmin as she takes on the role of classroom monitor in her school, which involves being in charge of her classmates during certain activities. The book highlights the importance of leadership and teamwork.
“The First Rule of Punk” by Celia Pérez
“The First Rule of Punk” is a middle-grade novel about a Mexican-American girl named Malú who loves punk music and resists her school’s strict dress code policy. She forms a band with other misfits and learns to embrace her unique identity through her love of music.
“Amari and the Night Brothers” by B.B. Alston
Amari and the Night Brothers” is a middle-grade fantasy novel about a young Black girl named Amari who searches for her missing brother in a world of magic and danger. She discovers that she comes from a family of powerful magicians and must navigate the challenges of training at a secret academy for magical law enforcement. With the help of a mysterious boy and her own inner strength, Amari uncovers a sinister plot threatening the entire magical community.
These children’s books with strong BIPOC female characters written by BIPOC authors are essential for promoting diversity and representation in children’s literature for all children. By reading these books, children can learn about different cultures, identities, and experiences while also developing empathy and understanding. We encourage you to check out these books and share them with the young readers in your life. Looking for more? Check out even more titles on our Celebrating Amazing Girls and Women page.