March is Women’s History Month, which is a great time to share quality read alouds that feature strong female characters based on real women. These Women’s History Month read alouds highlight incredible women like Malala Yousafzai, Hazel Ying Lee, and Pura Belpré. Your students will love listening to the stories of these women. Check out the full list of Women’s History Month read alouds below!
This post highlights the following books:
- Malala’s Magical Pencil
- Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré
- Rosie Revere, Engineer
- One Plastic Page
- The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee
6 Women’s History Month Read Alouds
Below are 6 quality Women’s History Month read alouds. Your elementary students are going to love these picture books for Women’s History Month! They are sure to be a big hit!
1. Malala’s Magical Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
Malala’s Magical Pencil is about Malala Yousafzai when she was a child. When she was younger, she watched a TV show about a boy who had a magic pencil. When he was in trouble, he could draw something to get out of the situation. Malala always wished she could have a magic pencil, too. If she had one, she could use to to put a lock on her bedroom door, or to erase the smell of the trash dump near her house. She would draw things for others, too: a beautiful dress for her mother, or a proper ball for her brothers to play with.
One day, when she is throwing away trash, Malala notices a girl around her age working in the trash pile. When she returns home, she asks her father about it, and finds out that not many girls like her get to go to school. School is Malala’s favorite place, but she had never considered herself lucky to be able to go.
Over the next few years, Malala worked hard to be one of the top students in her class. However, at that point powerful men demanded that girls can no longer attend school. The other girls in Malala’s class stopped attending because they no longer felt safe doing so. Malala decided to do something to speak out about what was going on. She wrote accounts of what she’d been through in her valley, speeches, and even talked to reporters. Now, people all over the world know Malala’s story, and she continues to fight using her own magic: the magic of her words. This is one of my favorite read alouds for Women’s History Month!
2. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
In Planting Stories, Pura Belpre was the first Puerto Rican Librarian in New York City. When she started working the library, she realized that there weren’t any of the stories and folktales that she was familiar with in Puerto Rico. She decides to share her stories during story hour and through puppet shows, and eventually publishes a book.
Pura travels across the country and from classroom to classroom planting her story seeds and educating about her homeland. When she returns to the library, she sees that her story seeds have bloomed and everyone is telling her stories. Students will love learning about Pura and how she shared her stories with children everywhere.
3. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
The book Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty is the story of a young girl named Rosie that dreams of becoming an engineer when she grows up. She spends her time creating all kinds of inventions, but eventually hides them from her family and friends because she is embarrassed that they will be failures.
One day, her Aunt Rose comes to visit and teaches Rosie that failure is part of success. She inspires Rosie to keep working on her inventions and not to give up when they are not successful at first.
This is an inspiring story for students about growth mindset and perseverance. Students will enjoy listening to this Women’s History Month read aloud and hearing about Rosie’s inventions and listening to the upbeat rhyme in this book.
4. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
In the book Sulwe, Sulwe had skin that was as dark as night. She didn’t look like her family; they all had lighter skin and Sulwe wished she looked like them. At school, Sulwe didn’t have any friends like her sister did. Everyone gave her sister nice nicknames like “Beauty” or “Sunshine” while they called Sulwe mean names like “Darky” and “Night.”
Sulwe wanted lighter skin so much she tried erasing it, putting on makeup, and eating light colored foods. Nothing she tried worked. When Sulwe told her mother about her problem, her mother told her that she was beautiful. She explained that it is not enough for someone else to think you’re beautiful, you must think it about yourself.
One night Sulwe had a dream where she learned about Night and Day who lived long ago. Like Sulwe and her sister, people did not like Night but they loved Day. Feeling sad, Night decided to leave earth. Eventually, the people missed Night so her sister went to find her. Night learned that there is beauty in darkness and the world needs both.
After hearing the story of Night and Day, Sulwe finally started to feel beautiful herself. She knew she had brightness inside of her and learned to love herself inside and out. This is one of the great Women’s History Month read alouds out there!
5. One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul
The book One Plastic Bag teaches readers about Isatou Ceesay and the women of Gambia. For awhile in Gambia, people were littering. They would throw plastic bags on the ground and the pile of trash was getting bigger and bigger. Time passed and Isatou grew up. One day, she learned that the goats were eating the plastic bags and dying. She realized she needed to do something. Isatou picked up the bags and she and a group of other women washed them. As Isatou watched her sister crochet, she had an idea. They decided to make the plastic bags into string and crochet bags out of the trash. At first, everyone laughed at the women. But over time, people started to buy their creations. The trash pile started to get smaller and eventually Gambia was beautiful and trash free once more. This will become one of your students’ favorite Women’s History Month read alouds!
6. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung
The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is about Hazel Ying Lee, who was an American pilot who flew for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. She was born fearless, and when she was young, she would win races against her brothers and was always the first to jump in the swimming pool. The moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. In 1932, at the time when she decided she wanted to be a pilot, less than one percent of pilots were women. After getting her pilot’s license, Hazel signed up to be a part of the WASPs right away. Today, Hazel is remembered in a place chosen just for her, on a hillside with a beautiful view of the sky.
If you are looking for book-based lessons and activities for teaching about Women’s History Month, then check out my Starts With a Story resources below. They include reading comprehension questions, vocabulary activities, writing prompts, and much more.
Grab the Free Reading Resources!
We hope you found this list of Women’s History Month read alouds helpful! They lend themselves to being great winter read alouds or spring read alouds, but can be used any time of the year. Many of the read alouds highlighted in this post are part of my Starts With a Story collection. Your students are going to love these Women’s History Month picture books. If you want to get more book ideas to read aloud to your elementary students, then grab this reading freebie. It includes read aloud books lists, reading logs, and reading challenges for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom teachers. It will have you covered for the entire school year, as well as the summer months! Grab this free elementary reading packet now!