Rise: A Feminist Book Project for Ages 0-18 has been promoting quality feminist literature for young readers since 2002 as a part of the Feminist Task Force and the Social Responsibilities Round Table. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the booklist.
Silence is a present danger. As the pandemic rages on, politicians, school boards, and other forces strive to control the narrative by weaponizing history. By limiting access to books by marginalized creators, silencing voices of dissent, and shutting down critical discussion, institutions of power are holding us back from understanding the full range of human experience. We unequivocally stand against hatred, extremist dogma, and attempts to ban books.
“When we go back and retrieve our past, our legacy of resistance through impossible odds, our way out of no way, we redress the void of origin that would erase us. We empower and bring joy to our present.” (Hall, Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts)
“Speaking proper will help us belong / somewhere that has never made us feel welcome // even with our mouths closed.” (Velasquez, When We Make It)
Feminism seeks to uphold human dignity by embracing multiplicity. Identity is–and always has been–blurry, multifaceted, and ever evolving. The stories we tell about ourselves and the stories we share with young people are varied, important, and often uncomfortable. Stories show us where we come from, give context for who we are, and allow us to imagine an equitable future. We provide young people with books that reflect this complicated reality.
“She is doing the thing that…so many others have done for years and years–trying to glimpse a far-off place she can’t yet see, keeping herself above water, in a world that has changed, but not enough.” (Caletti, One Great Lie)
The books on the 2022 Rise list are beacons of light in a moment of uncertainty. Their stories offer hope for young people. These books invite engagement; pulling readers into critical conversations and allowing them to find their own stories reflected within. They are a playbook for activism.
“I am valued. I am loved. I have purpose, hope, and power. Ahead of me, sisters, aunties, mothers have opened so many doors.” (Harris and Valdez, Ambitious Girl)
Feminism is for everybody. This list welcomes all young readers to express their identities, to live their truth unapologetically, and to rise up.
“Be open to challenges. Work hard and you’ll learn a lot. Listen to people. (But not the doubters!) Use your big voice to fight for your beliefs. And always remember: You deserve to be seen–and heard.” (Davids, Mays, and Pawis-Steckley, Sharice’s Big Voice)
Silvia Lin Hanick (co-chair), LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), NY;
Jean-Louise Zancanella (co-chair), College of Western Idaho, ID;
Ally Watkins, First Regional Library, MS; Sara Saxton, Wasilla Public Library, AK;
Allison Staley, Lake Oswego Public Library, OR;
Mallory Caise, Lisle Library District, IL;
Vicki Pietrus, Niles West High School, IL;
Cynthia Medrano, Parkland College, IL; and
Laura Simeon, Kirkus Reviews.
2022 Booklist from Rise: A Feminist Book Project
Early Readers – Fiction
*Anand, Shelly. Laxmi’s Mooch. Illus. by Nabi H. Ali. 2021. 32p. Random House/Kokila, $17.99 (9781984815651). PreS-Gr. 3.
A body-positive picture book about Laxmi, an Indian American girl who learns to accept her heritage and her body hair after being teased about her “mooch,” Hindi for “mustache.”
Fan, Larissa. Ten Little Dumplings. Illus. by Cindy Wume. 2021. 48p. Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra, $18.99 (9780735266193). PreS-Gr. 3.
A bright spark of a girl in a Taiwanese family of 10 sons—“little dumplings” whose very existence is celebrated—might be overlooked, but nevertheless forges her own path.
*Feder, Tyler. Bodies Are Cool. 2021. 32p. Penguin Random House/Dial, $17.99 (9780593112625). PreS-Gr. 2.
Celebrate the many shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns the human body comes in! All bodies are cool bodies!
Forman, Ruth. Curls. Illus. by Geneva Bowers. 2020. 26p. Simon & Schuster/Little Simon, $8.99 (9781534446311). PreS.
A joyful celebration of Black girls’ hair.
Harris, Meena. Ambitious Girl. Illus. by Marissa Valdez. 2021. 40p. Little, Brown, $18.99 (9780316229692). PreS-Gr. 2.
A young girl takes the words thrown at women to bring them down—“too ambitious,” “too confident,” “too proud”—and makes them words of empowerment to fuel her ambitions.
Ho, Joanna. Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. Illus. by Dung Ho. 2021. 40p. HarperCollins, $17.99 (9780062915627). PreS-Gr. 3.
A young Taiwanese American girl finds strength and beauty in the shape and characteristics of her eyes alongside three generations of her family.
Howes, Katey. Rissy No Kissies. Illus. by Jess Engle. 2021. 32p. Lerner/Carolrhoda, 17.99 (9781541597983). PreS-Gr. 2.
Rissy the lovebird does not like kisses — and that’s okay! Rissy’s choices offer an entry into conversations about bodily autonomy, consent, and sensory processing issues.
Lajimodiere, Denise. Josie Dances. Illus. by Angela Erdrich. 2021. 32p. Minnesota Historical Society, $17.95 (9781681342078). PreS-Gr. 2.
The women in Josie’s family help prepare her for her first powwow.
*Maclear, Kyo. The Big Bath House. Illus. by Gracey Zhang. 2021. 40p. Random House/Random House Studio, $17.99 (9780593181959). PreS-Gr. 3.
A girl joins her aunties and Baachan at a traditional Japanese bath house where girls and women socialize while cleaning and relaxing their naked bodies.
Moises, Yesenia. Stella’s Stellar Hair. 2021. 40p. Macmillan/Imprint, $18.99 (9781250261779). |
Stella hoverboards across the universe to try different hairstyles for the Big Star Little Gala, but the winning style is the one that makes her feel most herself.
Nontshokweni, Sihle and Mathabo Tlali. Wanda. Illus. by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne. 2021. 32p. Interlink/Crocodile, $17.95 (9781623718640). PreS-Gr. 2.
Her mother and grandmother remind her ‘intombi mayizithembe’ every morning, but it’s hard for Wanda to remain confident when everyone at school makes fun of her crown of hair.
Noor, Nabela. Beautifully Me. Illus. by Nabi H. Ali. 2021. 40p. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781534485877). PreS-Gr. 3.
Bubbly Bangladeshi American Zubi loves herself unconditionally, but when her family and friends are self-critical of their weight, she starts to question her own view of herself.
Rahman, Bahram. The Library Bus. Illus. by Gabrielle Grimard. 2020. 32p. Pajama Press, $18.95 (9781772781014). PreS-Gr. 3.
Pari accompanies her mother on the library bus, traveling from villages to refugee camps bringing books and lessons in English to young girls in Afghanistan.
Ramos, NoNieqa. Your Mama. Illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara. 2021. 32p. HMH/Versify, $17.99 (9781328631886). PreS-Gr. 3.
This picture book about a single mom and her child reframes old school “yo’ mama” jokes into positive and empowering statements.
Sánchez Vegara, Maria Isabel. Corazon Aquino. Illus. by Ginnie Hsu. 2020. 32p. Frances Lincoln/Quarto, $15.99 (9780711246843). PreS-Gr. 2.
Corazon Aquino led a revolution in the Philippines to become the country’s first female president.
Spillett-Sumner, Tasha. I Sang You Down from the Stars. Illus. by Michaela Goade. 2021. 32p. Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780316493161). PreS-Gr. 3.
An Inniniwak mother gets ready for her new baby by preparing a sacred medicine bundle.
Valentine, Madeline. More Than Fluff. 2021. 40p. Penguin/Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780593179055). PreS-Gr. 2.
A picture book exploring autonomy, consent, and boundary-setting through the experience of a young chick.
Wahl, Phoebe. Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest. 96p. Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra, $19.99 (9780735264892). PreS-Gr. 3.
Through four seasons Little Witch Hazel explores her forest and helps her neighbors.
Early Readers – Nonfiction
Browne, Meghan P. Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards. Illus. by Carlynn Whitt. 2021. 44p. Random House/Random House Studio, $17.99 (9780593173275). Gr. 1-4.
As the 46th governor of Texas, Ann Richards drew on a life of activism and advocacy to speak up for those who had long been ignored.
Davids, Sharice with Nancy K. Mays. Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman. Illus. by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. 2021. 40p. HarperCollins, $17.99 (9780062979667). PreS-Gr 3.
An inspiring biography of Congresswoman Sharice Davids, whose hard work and listening ear helped her become one of the first two Native women elected to Congress.
Denise, Anika Aldamuy. A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer! Illus. by Leo Espinosa. 2020. 40p. HarperCollins, $17.99 (9780062877703). PreS-Gr. 3.
Rosita Dolores Alverio moved from Puerto Rico to New York and became award-winning entertainer Rita Moreno. Throughout her career she challenged the racist stereotypes she was typecast into.
Freeman, Anna Harber and Barbara Gonzales. Shaped by Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez. Illus. by Aphelandra. 2021. 32p. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (9780807575994). PreS-Gr. 3.
Tewa Pueblo potter Maria Povika Martinez developed a technique of creating shiny black pottery using traditional methods, sharing her work with her family and the world.
Friddell, Claudia. Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators. Illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley. 2021. 42p. Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins Creek, $18.99 (9781684373505). K-Gr. 4.
Grace Banker and her Hello Girls were an all-female unit of telephone operators who served the US Army during WWI.
Griffith, Evan. Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist. Illus. by Joanie Stone. 2021. 40p. HMH/Clarion, $17.99 (9780358244325). Gr. 1-4.
A picture book biography celebrating Jeanne Power’s influence in the use of aquariums for scientific study.
Henderson, Leah. Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues. Illus. by George Doutsiopoulos. 2020. 32p. Capstone, $18.95 (9781684460236). Gr. 1-5.
Mamie “Peanut” Johnson had a passion for baseball and didn’t let anyone stop her from playing. She overcame racism and sexism to become a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues.
Keating, Jess. Ocean Speaks. Illus. by Katie Hickey. 2020. 34p. Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra Books, $17.99 (9780735265080). PreS-Gr. 3.
Historical figure Marie Tharp breaks barriers and makes a big discovery about the ocean.
Lasky, Kathryn. She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer. Illus. by Julianna Swaney. 2020. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper, 18.99 (9780062849304). K-Gr. 2.
Williamina Fleming discovered the Horsehead Nebula, worked with other “human computers” to develop the first star classification system, and became the first woman to hold an official title at Harvard.
Leung, Julie. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee. Illus. by Julie Kwon. 2021. 48p. Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780759554955). K-Gr. 2.
Hazel Ying Lee was a brave pilot, who fought relentlessly for her right to fly despite rampant racial and gender discrimination working against her.
Madison, Megan and Jessica Ralli. Being You: A First Conversation about Gender. Illus. by Anne/Andy Passchier. 2021. 36p. Penguin Random House/Rise x Penguin Workshop, $8.99 (9780593382646). PreK-Gr. 2.
Provides a clear introduction to gender and the ways feminists work together to make the world fairer and safer for everyone.
McCabe, Katie & Dovey Johnson Roundtree. We Wait for the Sun. Illus. by Raissa Figueroa. 2021. 40p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250229021). PreK-up.
Women working together become a symbol of hope in this gentle portrait of a formative experience in civil rights lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree’s life.
Nickel, Sandra. The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe. Illus. by Aimée Sicuro. 2021. 48p. Abrams/Abrams Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781419736261). Gr 1-4.
A picture book biography of astronomer Vera Rubin.
Reid, Megan. Maryam’s Magic: The Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. Illus. by Aaliya Jaleel. 2021. 32p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (9780062915962). PreS-Gr.2.
A celebration of the life of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman and first Iranian to win a Fields Medal.
Rinker, Jessica M. Send a Girl: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY. Illus. by Meg Hunt. 2021. 48p. Bloomsbury Children’s, $17.99 (9781547601745). PreS-Gr. 2.
The true story of how firefighter Brenda Berkman worked to make women a part of the Fire Department of New York City.
Sorell, Traci. Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer. Illus. by Natasha Donovan. 2021. 32p. Lerner/Millbrook, $19.99 (9781541579149). Gr. 1-5.
Mary Golda Ross’s core Cherokee values and a passion for math guided her in a career designing classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s first female engineer.
Sriram, Meera. Between Two Worlds: The Art and Life of Amrita Sher-Gil. Illus. by Ruchi Bakshi Sharma. 2021. 40p. Penny Candy, $16.95 (9781734225945). K-Gr. 3.
A woman of two countries, Amrita Sher-Gil used art to express herself and her love for both India and Hungary.
Todd, Traci N. Nina: A Story of Nina Simone. Illus. by Christian Robinson. 2021. 56p. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99 (9781524737283). K-Gr. 3.
Nina Simone was a singing prodigy who used her talent to give voice to the anger and frustration of those fighting for racial justice.
Worthey, Diane. In One Ear and Out the Other: Antonia Brico and Her Amazingly Musical Life. Illus. by Morgana Wallace. 2020. 48p. Penny Candy, $16.95 (9781734225914). Gr. 2-6.
The story of accomplished musician and skilled conductor Antonia Brico, who worked throughout her life to provide equal opportunities for women in classical music.
Middle Grade – Fiction
Behar, Ruth. Letters from Cuba. 2020. 255p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $17.99 (9780525516477). Gr. 4-8.
In 1938, Polish Jewish Esther builds a new life in Cuba after joining her father to help him earn enough to save the rest of their family from growing antisemitism.
Guidroz, Rukhsanna. Samira Surfs. Illus. by Fahmida Azim. 2021. 411p. Penguin/Kokila, $17.99 (9781984816191). Gr. 3-6.
Samira learns to surf so she can compete in the local contest while also learning to read and make new friends.
Khan, Hena. Amina’s Song. 2021. 280p. Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads, $17.99 (9781534459885). Gr. 4-8.
Following a transformative month with family in Lahore, seventh grader Amina pushes herself to speak up so classmates at home in Wisconsin can see beyond superficial stereotypes about Pakistani women.
McCullough, Joy. Across the Pond. 2021. 280p. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $17.99 (9781534471214). Gr. 4-7.
Callie is excited for a fresh start when her family inherits a Scottish castle, but making friends is still tough; could a birdwatching club help her reach out?
Parks, Amy Noelle. Summer of Brave. 2021. 232p. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (9780807576601). Gr. 4-8.
Twelve-year-old Lilla and her friends vow to be brave and truthful this summer, inspiring Lilla to stand up against street harassment and misogyny in her community.
Schroeder, Lisa. Don’t Judge Me. 2020. 239p. Scholastic, $17.99 (9781338628548). Gr. 3-8.
As the toxic environment at her school closes in, shy Hazel realizes that it’s time to come out of her shell and speak up for change.
Stoddard, Lindsey. Bea is For Blended. 2021. 293p. HarperCollins, $16.99 (9780062878168). Gr. 3-7.
Bea adjusts to life with a new stepfather and stepbrothers while fighting misogyny and discrimination at school in order to form a girls’ soccer team.
Ursu, Anne. The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy. 2021. 423p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $17.99 (9780062275127). Gr. 3-7.
After 12-year-old Marya is banished to a remote reform school for girls who have misbehaved, she and her classmates start investigating history and questioning the sexism of the accepted order.
Williams, Rhiannon. Ottilie Colter and the Narroway Hunt. 2021. 343p. Trafalgar/Little Hare, paper, $10.99 (9781760500849). Gr. 3-7.
When Ottilie’s younger brother is abducted and taken with other boys to the borderlands to kill monsters, she disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates the hunt to save him.
Young, Brigit. The Prettiest. 2020. 320p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781626729230). Gr. 5-8.
When a list of the Top 50 Prettiest Girls in school starts circulating, it impacts everyone, whether they are on the list or not.
Zhao, Katie. Last Gamer Standing. 2021. 277p. Scholastic, $7.99 (9781338741506). Gr. 5-8.
To avoid the sexism and racism that dominates the gaming world, 12-year-old Reyna Chang secretly plays as a male avatar until a rival player threatens to doxx her.
Middle Grade – Nonfiction
Grimes, Nikki. Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance. 2021. 134p. Bloomsbury Children’s, $18.99 (9781681199443). Gr. 5-up.
Accompanied by stunning illustrations, Nikki Grimes’ original poetry is featured alongside a beautiful range of poems from Black women writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
Heumann, Judith and Kristen Joiner. Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution. 2021. 194p. Beacon, $14.95 (9780807003596). Gr. 5-12.
Judith Heumann has been a disability rights activist her entire life. She helped spark the movement to achieve disability rights in the US, and now fights on an international scale.
Menéndez, Juliet. Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers. 2021. 102p. Macmillan/Henry Holt, $18.99 (9781250234629). Gr. 3-6.
These 40 short biographies of Latina women from all over the world showcase a stunning range of talent, activism, persistence, and creativity.
Roundtree, Dovey Johnson & McCabe, Katie. Mighty Justice: The Untold Story of Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree. Adapted by Jabari Asim. 2020. 208p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $19.99 (9781250229007). Gr. 5-9.
Lawyer, minister, and activist Dovey Roundtree paved the way for important civil rights legal victories.
Quint, Chella. Own Your Period: A Fact-Filled Guide to Period Positivity. Illus. by Giovana Medeiros. 2021. 95p. Quarto, $14.95 (9780711256644). Gr. 3-8.
This gender-neutral guide to period positivity gives young people the information and confidence they need to approach their periods without shame or negativity.
Young Adult – Fiction
Abtahi, Olivia. Perfectly Parvin. 2021. 310p. Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $17.99 (9780593109427). Gr. 7-10.
After she is dumped by her first boyfriend for being “too much,” 14-year-old Parvin Mohammadi decides to remake herself into a quiet dream girl to get a date to homecoming.
Ali, S.K. Misfit in Love. 2021. 301p. Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads, $19.99 (9781534442757). Gr. 9-up.
Janna’s plans for a summer of love following her brother’s wedding are interrupted by mixed signals, new love interests, and confrontations with racism and discrimination.
Azad, Nafiza. The Wild Ones. 2021. 340p. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $18.99 (9781534484962). Gr. 9-up.
Existing in both the real, physical world and the spiritual, magical Between, a band of girls fights to protect women and children in danger.
*Boulley, Angeline. Firekeeper’s Daughter. 2021. 494p. Macmillan/Henry Holt, $18.99 (9781250766564). Gr. 9-up.
Biracial 18-year-old Daunis is determined to use her knowledge of chemistry and traditional Ojibwe medicine to solve an FBI investigation of drug-related deaths within her tribal community.
Browne, Mahogany L. Chlorine Sky. 2021. 178p. Random House/Crown, $17.99 (9780593176399). Gr. 9-up.
A novel in verse about growing up and growing apart from your best friend. When the world tells you to make yourself smaller, how do you learn to take up space?
Caletti, Deb. One Great Lie. 2021. 375p. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $19.99 (9781534463172). Gr. 8- up.
Charlotte earns a scholarship to a Venetian writing workshop with a prominent—and predatory—male author.
Charles, Tami. Muted: A Novel in Verse. 2021. 383p. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338673524). Gr. 9-up.
Denver is going to make a name for herself with the help of music superstar “Merc” Ellis. But what should be a dream come true quickly becomes a nightmare.
Deonn, Tracy. Legendborn. 2020. 498p. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99 (9781534441606). Gr. 8- up.
To learn more about her mother’s mysterious death, Bree Matthews infiltrates a secret Arthurian magical society on the UNC campus.
Einhorn, Heather, Adam Staffaroni, & Janet Harvey. Illus. by Sonia Liao. The Curie Society. 2021. 164p. MIT Press/Einhorn’s Epic Productions, paperback, $18.95 (9780262539944). Gr. 7-12.
Three new college freshmen are invited to join a secret organization that supports women in STEM and helps save the world from nefarious rogue scientists.
Flake, Sharon G. The Life I’m In. 2021. 321p. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338573176). Gr. 9-up.
Char’s unresolved grief from losing her parents has made her prickly and defiant—and despite her will to survive, this alienation makes her a vulnerable target for a sex trafficker.
Forna, Namina. The Gilded Ones. 2021. 418p. Random House/Delacorte, $18.99 (9781984848697). Gr. 7-up.
In Otera, girls who bleed gold are considered impure, then exiled. Deka soon learns gold means power and gifts, gaining the responsibility to fight for truth and justice.
Frasier, Crystal. Cheer Up! Love and Pom Poms. Illus. by Val Wise. 2021. 128p. Oni Press, $14.99 (9781620109557). Gr. 6-up.
Antisocial Annie and newly out trans girl Bebe learn how to speak up for themselves and find acceptance from each other and their friends senior year on the cheerleading squad.
Garber, Romina. Lobizona. 2020. 391p. St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250239129). Gr. 7-up.
Manu lives as an undocumented immigrant with her mother until her world is shattered and she learns that she is a lobizona with the power to change her future.
Garrett, Camryn. Off the Record. 2021. 311p. Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781984829993). Gr. 9-up.
After 17-year-old Josie wins a journalism contest, the real scoop isn’t the young actor she’s profiling, but the explosive #MeToo story she uncovers that could take down a powerful predator.
Hartl, Sonia. The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story. 2021. 251p. Page Street, $17.99 (9781645673149). Gr. 9-12.
Three teen vampires team up to try and kill their abusive vampire maker.
He, Joan. The Ones We’re Meant to Find. 2021. 375p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250258564). Gr. 8-up.
Kasey must decide whether or not to help save the polluted planet she thinks killed her sister. Stuck on a deserted island, Cee fights to get back to her.
Henry, Katie. This Will Be Funny Someday. 2021. 386p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $18.99 (9780062955708). Gr. 8-12.
Introverted 16-year-old Izzy finds her voice and confidence when she stumbles into the world of stand-up comedy, but what happens when her secrets catch up with her?
*Holland, Lucy. Sistersong. 2021. 406p. Hachette/Redhook, $28.00 (9780316320771). Gr. 9-up.
In ancient Britain, three siblings fight to find their own identities alongside the magic of the land, all while the threat of a Saxon invasion looms.
Hur, June. The Forest of Stolen Girls. 2021. 369p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250229588). Gr. 8-up.
With the reluctant help of her sister, Hwani must travel back to her home village to find her missing father and solve the mystery of kidnapped girls he was investigating.
Keplinger, Kody. Poison Ivy: Thorns. Illus. by Sara Kipin. 2021. 208p. DC, paperback, $16.99 (9781401298425). Gr. 7-12.
In this gothic re-imaging of Poison Ivy’s origin story, Pamela Ives must choose between love and the drive for revenge over the men who think they own her body.
Kinew, Wab. Walking in Two Worlds. 2021. 285p. Penguin Random House Canada/Penguin Teen, $17.99 (9780735269002). Gr. 7-12.
An Anishinaabe teen wields power in a virtual reality game while facing online misogyny; offline, she’s grounded in her family and heritage but struggles with peers and body image.
*Lo, Malinda. Last Night at the Telegraph Club. 2021. 409p. Penguin/Dutton, $18.99 (9780525555254). Gr. 9-up.
In 1950s San Francisco, a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club awakens Chinese American Lily Hu’s queer self-discovery, despite the duty she feels to her family and culture.
Lundin, Britta. Like Other Girls. 2021. 373p. Buena Vista/Hyperion, $17.99 (9781368039925). Gr. 8-up.
When small-town closeted lesbian Mara decides to play football with the boys, she—and her family, teammates, friends, and community—are challenged in ways both painful and, ultimately, positive.
McCauley, Kyrie. We Can Be Heroes. 2021. 356p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780062885050). Gr. 8 and up.
After losing their best friend, Cassie, to her violent ex-boyfriend, Beck and Vivian seek justice against the town who let her die by painting murals to honor her memory.
McCullough, Joy. We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire. 2021. 383p. Penguin/Dutton, $18.99 (9780525556053). Gr. 8-up.
After her sister’s rapist is sentenced only to time served, Em channels her rage and disappointment into a novel about Marguerite de Bressieux, a 15th-century noblewoman-turned-knight.
McKinney, L.L. Nubia: Real One. Illus. by Robyn Smith. 2021. 208p. DC Comics, $16.99 (9781401296407). Gr. 9-up.
When her friends are put in danger, Nubia challenges society’s notions that she can’t be Wonder Woman because of the color of her skin.
McLemore, Anna-Marie. The Mirror Season. 2021. 311p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250624123). Gr. 9-up.
In this queer, Latinx remix of “The Snow Queen,” two teens form a guarded friendship upon learning they’re both survivors of sexual assault.
*Morrow, Bethany C. So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix. 2021. 291p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 (9781250761217). Gr. 6-up.
The March sisters, four Black girls coming of age at the peak of the American Civil War, explore their personal aspirations alongside hopes for the future of emancipated people.
Moulite, Maika and Maritza Moulite. One of the Good Ones. 2021. 335p. Inkyard Press, $18.99 (9781335145802). Gr. 9-up.
When teen YouTube activist Kezi Smith is killed in police custody, her sisters embark on a road trip that brings up more questions than it answers.
Narváez Varela, Alessandra. Thirty Talks Weird Love. 2021. 205p. Lee & Low/Cinco Puntos Press, $18.95 (9781947627482). Gr. 7-up.
In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in 1999, during the rise of kidnapped women and girls, 13-year-old Anamaria meets a strange woman claiming to be her 30-year-old future self.
Palmer, Iva-Marie. Gimme Everything You Got. 2020. 392p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (9780062937254). Gr. 9-up.
It’s 1979 and Title IX has facilitated the start of a girls’ soccer team at 17-year-old Susan Klintock’s school. Will she lead her team to victory?
Quach, Michelle. Not Here to Be Liked. 2021. 374p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, $18.99 (9780063038363). Gr. 8-12.
When qualified Eliza loses the editor-in-chief position of her school newspaper to inexperienced Len, she unwillingly inspires a feminist movement even though she still wonders, “what makes a good feminist?”
Salaysay, Cynthia. Private Lessons. 2020. 308p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536209600). Gr. 10-up.
Guided by a prominent teacher, Claire enters piano competitions with hopes that winning them will be her entry into colleges and conservatories. Her teacher’s approval, however, comes at a cost.
Sharpe, Tess. The Girls I’ve Been. 2021. 356p. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780593353806). Gr. 9-up.
Caught in a botched bank robbery, Nora O’Malley, daughter of a con artist, must figure out how to save her friends using the skills she learned from her mother.
Stephens, Olivia. Artie and the Wolf Moon. 2021. 253p. Lerner/Graphic Universe, $16.99 (9781728420202). Gr. 10- up.
Artie discovers she comes from a line of werewolves who are in danger from vampires.
Sussman, Elissa. Drawn That Way. 2021. 341p. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster BFYR, $19.99,( 9781534492974). Gr. 7-up.
Hayley Saffitz recruits the five other girls at a prestigious animation internship to create and screen their short film despite the misogynistic boy’s club environment.
Vasquez Gilliland, Raquel. How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe. 2021. 421p. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster BFYR, $19.99 (9781534448667). Gr. 8-up.
Moon Fuentez feels trapped in the shadow of her thinner, lighter-skinned, and “more beautiful” influencer twin sister, Star, until a summer road trip shows Moon how to shine.
Velasquez, Elisabet. When We Make It. 2021. 375p. Penguin Random House/Dial Books, $19.99 (9780593324486). Gr. 8-up.
Puerto Rican eighth grader, Sarai, explores her Boricua identity amid issues of religion, sexual assault, housing insecurity, and toxic masculinity in her gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Zhao, Xiran Jay. Iron Widow. 2021. 394p. Penguin Random House Canada/Penguin Teen, $17.99 (9780735269934). Gr. 9-up.
After avenging her sister’s death, Zetian discovers her own power and works to challenge the sexist system that sacrifices women in war.
Young Adult – Nonfiction
Blumenthal, Karen. Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights. 2020. 385p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook, $19.99 (9781626721654). Gr. 7-up.
With journalistic integrity, this book traces the history of abortion and reproductive rights in the US, leading up to and venturing beyond the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case.
Diamant, Anita. Period. End of Sentence: A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice. 2021. 158p. Simon & Schuster/Scribner, $26.00 (9781982144289). Gr. 8-up.
This collection of essays and interviews showcases the global, intersectional injustices associated with menstruation as well as the incredible activists who are doing something about them.
Duster, Michelle. Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells. 2021. 176p. Simon & Schuster/One Signal, $27.00 (9781982129811). Gr. 9-up.
This is a biography of Ida. B. Wells-Barnett written from the perspective of her great-granddaughter.
*Ford, Ashley C. Somebody’s Daughter. 2021. 212p. Flatiron, $27.99 (9781250305978). Gr. 10 and up.
Ford’s memoir examines her childhood growing up with an incarcerated father.
Greenfield, Amy Butler. The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life. 2021. 328p. Random House/Random House Studio, $18.99 (9780593127193). Gr. 6-12.
This account charts the remarkable accomplishments of a woman whose career and personal life transcended the restrictions of her time, serving as a role model and lowering barriers for others.
Hall, Rebecca. Wake: the Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. Illus. By Hugo Martínez. 2021. 208p. Simon & Schuster, $29.99 (9781982115180). Gr. 9-up.
This graphic novel by scholar Rebecca Hall chronicles her experiences researching women-led slave revolts and highlights history that has been erased and ignored.
Herreros, Ana Cristina. The True Story of a Mouse Who Never Asked for It. Illus. by Violeta Lópiz. Tr. by Chloe Garcia Roberts. 2021. 108p. Enchanted Lion, $22.95 (9781592703203). Gr. 10 and up.
Based on a Spanish folktale, this art book tells the story of a neat and tidy mouse who builds a house and encounters a kitten with unfortunate results.
*Jonnie, Brianna & Nahanni Shingoose. If I Go Missing. Illus. By Nshannacappo. 2020. 64p. James Lorimer, $24.95 (9781459414518). Gr. 8-up.
A stunning graphic illustration of excerpts from Jonnie’s viral letter to the Winnipeg Chief of Police criticizing his response to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Kantor, Jodi & Megan Twohey; adapted by Ruby Shamir. Chasing the Truth: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Investigative Reporting: She Said Young Reader’s Edition. 2021. 259p. Penguin/Philomel, $17.99 (9780593326992). Gr. 7-12.
Two New York Times reporters share the process and impact of their investigation of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of predatory behavior and share with readers the tenets of investigative journalism.
*Wong, Alice. Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century. 2020. 309p. Penguin/Vintage, paper, $16.95 (9781984899422). Gr. 9-up.
An anthology with manifestos, personal essays, blog posts, media analyses, and more, all written by and centering disabled folks’ robust lived experiences.