Books, History, Social Justice, Women's History

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

Originally published October 2022

October is Women’s History Month in Canada. It is a time to celebrate the women and girls of the past and present who have made important contributions to the collective history of Canada, as well as to the rest of the world. Learn more about these inspiring changemakers and their legacies with the help of these 10 marvellous books for K–12 students.

Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes: The Adventurous Life of the First Giraffologist
By Karlin Gray
Illustrated by Aparna Varma
Kids Can Press (September 2022)
Grade Level: K–3

This picture book biography looks at the true story of Canadian zoologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, the first scientist to study giraffes in the wild. Despite numerous setbacks, including being discriminated against based on her gender, Anne refused to give up. Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes does more than just teach students about her life, it also encourages them to be resilient in the face of adversity, and to chase after their dreams. 

DK Life Stories: Marie Curie
By Nell Walker
DK Children (March 2022)
Grade Level: 2–6

Kids can learn all about two-time Nobel prize winner Marie Curie through this educational history book. Complete with photographs, illustrations, quotations, and helpful definitions, even the most reluctant of readers will enjoy exploring the life and career of one of the world’s most celebrated female scientists.  

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers
Edited by Jess Harriton and Maithy Vu
Rebel Girls (October 2022)
Grade Level: 1–12

100 Inspiring Young Changemakers looks at girls around the world who are making history right now. Meet 18-year-old Mikaila Umer, a young entrepreneur who created a lemonade company to help save honeybees, and 15-year-old Vinisha Umashankar, one of the youngest “green” inventors in India, along with dozens of other inspiring women. The book also includes artwork from 80+ female and nonbinary artists, as well as a foreword by conservationist Bindi Irwin. 

Her Courage Rises: 50 Trailblazing Women of British Columbia and the Yukon
By Haley Healey
Illustrated by Kimiko Fraser
Heritage House (October 25, 2022)
Grade Level: 7–9

This illustrated biographical collection introduces students to 50 inspirational women who shaped Canadian history. Featuring artists like Emily Carr, Indigenous leaders and activists such as Jane Constance Cook, Olympians like Barbara Howard, and more, Her Courage Rises is full of women from all walks of life who defied expectations and made important contributions to their communities, and the rest of the country as well.

Heroines, Rescuers, Rabbis, Spies: Unsung Women of the Holocaust
By Sarah Silberstein Swartz
Second Story Press (October 2022)
Grade Level: 8–12

In this stunning book, author Sarah Silberstein Swartz, the daughter of Jewish-Polish Holocaust survivors, paints a picture of nine extraordinary women who stood up for themselves and others to save lives during the Holocaust.


Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science
By Lisa Gerin
Illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Beaming Books (August 2022)
Grade Level: K–2

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist whose work was essential to understanding the structure of DNA molecules. This book introduces young readers to her story, and is perfect for educators who are looking to instill a passion for STEM in their students. (Additional resources include an educator’s guide.)

Severn Speaks Out
By Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Alex Nogués
Illustrated by Ana Suárez
Groundwood Books (September 2022)
Grade Level: 4–7

Severn Speaks Out reproduces the speech that Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, made at the 1992 UN Earth Summit when she was only 12 years old. Severn’s words are accompanied by stunning illustrations and a biographical analysis that provides additional details about her life and her speech. 

Seen: Rachel Carson
By Birdie Willis
Illustrated by Rii Abrego
BOOM! Box (March 2021)
Grade Level: 9–12

In this exciting graphic novel, students can learn all about Rachel Carson, the pioneering marine biologist whose books resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. An engaging narrative from Birdie Willis, coupled with bold illustrations from Rii Abrego, bring Rachel’s story to life and showcase her passion, dedication, and integrity.

She Persisted: Temple Grandin
By Lyn Miller-Lachmann and Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
Philomel Books (April 2022)
Grade Level: 1–4

This chapter book biography looks at Temple Grandin, a world-renowned animal behaviourist and spokesperson for autism. Readers can follow along on Temple’s journey as she uses her unique way of looking at the world to make great insights into animal welfare and the treatment of livestock.

Who Was the Girl Warrior of France?: Joan of Arc
By Sarah Winifred Searle
Illustrated by Maria Capelle Frantz
Who HQ (January 2022)
Grade Level: 3–7

Who was Joan of Arc? What was the Hundred Years War and why was she fighting to end it? Middle-grade readers can find the answers to these questions and more as they immerse themselves in the lives of French heroine Joan of Arc through this unique graphic novel, complete with bright, full-colour illustrations.