March is Women’s Herstory Month. Kids Co. is excited to highlight women authors – past and present – for the stories they tell that bring joy, shed light on a multitude of experiences, and foster curiosity and imagination. Over the generations, women authors faced and overcame barriers thanks to their persistence and drive to capture the human experience through storytelling. These women and their works busted stereotypes and broke the “rules” of their time. We couldn’t imagine a world without the literary contributions of these incredible women.
Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon may be one of the best-known children’s picture books of all time. Did you know that the author of this classic and The Runaway Bunny wrote more than 100 children’s books in her lifetime? At a time when most children’s books were morality tales, Brown wrote stories that reflected the everyday experiences of childhood. She wrote in a rhythmic and repetitive style, incorporating realistic portrayals and sensory details that appealed to the youngest readers and the people who read to them. Learn more about Margaret Wise Brown and her work.
Brianna Caplan Sayres
Looking for newer bedtime picture books? Seattle local Brianna Caplan Sayres has you covered. Her rhythmic, often rhyming, books explore important questions like Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? And what is it like to celebrate Passover in Space? Sayres also funds Intergalactic Afikoman, an independent publisher of Jewish children’s books. Learn more about Brianna Caplan Sayres and her work.
Beatrix Potter was an English children’s book author best known for her whimsical Tales of Peter Rabbit and other beautifully illustrated stories featuring a host of animal characters. Potter was a woman who knew what she wanted. She faced pushback from her would-be publishers for things she saw as non-negotiables, such as keeping prices affordable for her young readers and the size of books small enough for little hands. In order to keep to these parameters, she self-published her books. Learn more about Beatrix Potter and her work.
If you love the slice of life themes and original illustrations of Beatrix Potter’s books, why not give modern author, Julie Flett a look? Flett is an award-winning Cree-Métis author and illustrator. Like Potter, Flett focuses a lot of her illustrations on the plants, animals, and natural world around her. Where Flett really shines, is how she incorporates the culture, values, and language of her indigenous background in a way that is both unapologetic and accessible to readers from all cultural backgrounds. Learn more about Julie Flett and her work.
Young Adult Fantasy
Patricia C. Wrede
You are probably familiar with evil witches and damsels in distress saved by knights in shining armor. What happens when this all gets turned on its head? From a strong and sassy princess to a witch with cats of all different colors, American author, Patricia C. Wrede, builds wonderful fantasy worlds for young readers to explore, while busting fantasy stereotypes. Another interesting thing about Wrede? She started her writing career while also working fulltime in finance. Learn more about Patricia Wrede and her work.
If you are looking to dig deeper into stereotype-busting fantasy, the books of Dhonielle Clayton are a great place to start. Clayton is the COO of We Need Diverse Books, the President of Cake Creative, a former teacher and librarian, and an American author of young adult fantasy. Clayton’s stories feature strong female characters from diverse backgrounds and abilities who are sure to affirm and empower teens from all walks of life. Learn more about Dhonielle Clayton and her work.
Young Adult Mystery
Mildred A. Wirt (the original Carolyn Keene)
You have probably heard by now that Carolyn Keene of Nancy Drew fame was a pen name shared by a group of writers. What you may not know, is that Mildred A. Wirt was the original member of the syndicate, writing 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books, including The Secret of the Old Clock. Just like the teen detective she helped develop, Wirt had an adventurous spirit. She toured Central America by Jeep, canoe, and a small plane that she flew. After working on Nancy Drew, Wirt went on to write her own series, including one about a teen detective called The Penny Parker Mystery Stories. Learn more about Mildred A. Wirt and her work.
Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
If you grew up (or are growing up) with Nancy Drew, you’ll love Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s literary tribute to the teen detective. In Sisterhood of Sleuths, the fictional detective, Nancy Drew, serves as inspiration for Maizy and her friends as they tried to solve a mystery that spans generations. Bertman has had many jobs over her life, but she has always been drawn to the literary world, a passion she shares with her mother, an avid reader. No wonder her books tend to feature strong young women and books. Learn more about Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and her work.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out more Kids Co. reading lists: