9 Children’s Books That Celebrate Gender Equality
Every child deserves to grow up healthy, educated and safe – with an equal chance to reach their potential. That’s why Save the Children is committed to building a world where girls, boys, and youth of diverse gender identities are heard, valued, and have access to equal opportunities. We believe that ALL children should be empowered to live their lives, speak their minds, and determine their own futures.
We know that from an early age, children learn stereotypical notions of what it means to be a girl and what it means to be a boy. In efforts to break-down rigid, inequitable gender stereotypes and promote diverse and positive expressions of gender identity, we’re proud to share this list of books for little ones and young adults. Books like these can broaden children’s horizons and challenge common misperceptions about traditional gender roles. This list offers books about powerful girls and sensitive boys, and kids who dare to be different. Enjoy!
Baby Feminists by Libby Babbot-Klein (ages 2-3)
What do Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mae Jemison, Frida Kahlo, Barack and Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Billie Jean King, Yoko Ono, and Malala Yousafzai have in common? They’re all feminists, and they were all once babies! This irresistible and timely board book invites you to lift the flap and discover what your favorite feminist icons might have looked like as babies and toddlers. With an inspiring message that any baby can grow up to make the world a better place for all genders.
Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl? by Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher (ages 3+)
This colorful picture book follows Tiny, a child who likes dressing up and playing games, but doesn’t like telling nosy people whether they’re a boy or a girl. This book is a great starting point for parents to address the idea of gender identity with their children.
Little Feminist Board Book Set by Emily Kleinman (ages 2-3)
The Little Feminist Board Book Set is comprised of colorful illustrated portraits of real women who have made historical impact on the world. Illustrations by Lydia Ortiz and words by Emily Kleinman introduce children to these important people in history with images that are fun for youngsters and also realistic. The Board Book Set includes 4 mini board books (Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, and Activists).
My First Book of Feminism (for Boys) by Julie Merberg (preschool & up)
Simple illustrations paired with engaging, rhyming text make the compelling, age appropriate argument that girls and boys are equal, plain and simple. Humorous, familiar scenarios are treated as teachable moments for very young boys (ages 0-3) who will ideally grow up without ever questioning women’s equality.
Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunnell (preschool & up)
Truly fun for all ages, this unique coloring book subversively and playfully examines the female gender stereotypes that pervade daily life. A diverse group of pictures reinforce positive gender roles throughout the book and show that girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, and healers.
Boy, Can He Dance! by Eileen Spinelli (ages 4+)
Boy, does Tony love to dance! And boy, would his father love for him to follow in the family footsteps and become a chef. Father and son appear to be on a collision course, but instead, they’re able to celebrate their differences — and the things they both love to do!
Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz (ages 5+)
Raffi is a shy boy who doesn’t like noisy games and is often teased at school. But when he gets the idea of making a scarf for his dad’s birthday he is full of enthusiasm, even though the other children think it is girly to knit. Then the day draws near for the school pageant, and there is one big problem – no costume for the prince. And that’s when Raffi has his most brilliant idea of all – to make a prince’s cape. On the day of the pageant, Raffi’s cape is the star of the show.
Gender Now Coloring Book by Maya Gonzalez and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez (ages 7+)
Gender Now is meant to provide reflection and support unity by showing multiple genders standing together. It is a specific opportunity to create balance and awareness by including gender expressions that are under-represented in our current culture.
Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different by Ben Brooks (ages 9-12)
In Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, author Ben Brooks-with the help of Quinton Wintor’s striking full-color illustrations-offers a welcome alternative narrative: one that celebrates introverts and innovators, sensitivity and resilience, individuality and expression.