23 Empowering Children’s Books To Add To Your Bookshelf

15 mins read
Image by White77 from Pixabay

Remember when books aimed at girls were covered in pink and glitter? Today, all those princesses seem to be surrounded by small, raised fists.

Now, children can celebrate feminism inspired by the many books — like “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” and “She Persisted” — that celebrate the achievements of real women.

Why Children Empowerment Is Necessary

Children are inundated with television, movies, computer games, and advertising that are full of violence, retaliation, and harmful stereotyping. This shift towards violence and competition is more in line with human nature than cooperation.

Children are being exposed to violent memes and ideas from all angles. From schools, to social media, to entertainment, we are seeing children growing up in a society where it is normal to oppose cooperation, compromise, cooperation, and compassion.

Schools in America are promoting competition over cooperation according to the researcher Tiffany Jones. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jones explains that while research has begun to show the negative effects of competition in the classroom, there is little to no research about the detriments of cooperation. She states that:

Studies say that cooperation is as effective as drill-based instruction. But most school systems are organized to do the exact opposite. No Child Left Behind essentially requires that you use standard instructional methods with no exceptions: Group students by ability, have them do endless amounts of worksheets, and keep testing them. It’s preposterous at this point.

As children grow older, they are exposed to more violence, aggression, and religious intolerance, which leads them to believe it is the norm. At the root of violence is power and domination. Aggression is created by a need to assert one’s self over others. Religious intolerance is fueled by religious anger, which is the strongest anger of all.

Children need empowerment. I’ll use my own 7-year-old daughter as an example. She is full of energy, sweetness and love. She plays with dolls in ways that show the profound empathy of a 7-year-old.

While she acts out and gets frustrated often, she makes quick decisions to use her powers of initiative to move forward, instead of ceding to her anger and aggression. Her father and I try to model this for her as much as possible.

When she is angry, we remind her of what we expect, and suggest that she save her energy for finding new ways to move forward. Most times, she realizes this quickly, and is able to move past whichever frustration took over.

We well know how challenging our world is. While we may not feel at our best all the time, we are mindful that the energy we put into our children’s heads yes is as important as the energy we put into their stomachs.

Children Need Empowerment

We hope that our daughter will grow up knowing that she is smart, ambitious, compassionate, and powerful. We hope she will grow up knowing that she is loved and supported by those around her.

We hope that she will grow up knowing that she will be challenged, but that it will bring her closer to the people she loves and the causes she believes in.

What I know is this: I don’t have a 7-year-old daughter.

I have a girl who was born, lives, and breathes right now. To focus on the immediate future is to put the present in perspective.

So what do we do about the present?

We see the challenges in humanity every day. We are surrounded by violence, threats, and fear. We see how racial tensions are boiling in America. We see a rise in hate crimes, and we see a rise in white supremacist groups as well as a rise in right-wing politicians.

We look around in horror at the world we have created and the world our children are inheriting.

Because we love our children, and because we have hope for humanity, we must do something. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines waiting for things to change. We can’t sit on the sidelines without taking action to make sure our children know that the world is safe for them.

We can only give our children the vision for a better world if we are living it right now. We can, and must, take action today so they have a better world tomorrow.

What actions can we take to counteract this shift towards violence and aggression?

11-step Guide to Action

1. Love and Protect Our Children Unconditionally

By loving and protecting our children, we lay a foundation for them to feel safe and secure, which is crucial for them to be able to build the skills they will need to navigate the world around them. If we love and protect them, they will learn at a young age that their voice matters, their minds matter, and their bodies matter. Our children are forced to make decisions everyday. Because we love them, we focus on building them up and empowering them to make good decisions. We don’t focus on the mistakes they make, but we make sure that they have the skills to make reasonable, logical decisions. In order to empower our children, we must love them unconditionally. We must protect them from harm and from others who would do them harm.

2. Meditate Daily

As humans, we are so distracted. Every day, I get bombarded by emails, requests, texts, and then messages from social media. It’s hard to even breathe when it feels like the world is about to fall apart.

What we can do is take a 15 minute walk every day. We can meditate, basically closing our eyes and sitting still. We can do this while sitting on a chair, listening to our bodies, or we can spend some time on the floor and work more deeply on our bodies and breathing.

The point of this exercise is that it counteracts the stresses we are bombarded with in our daily lives. It also helps us focus on what is in front of us, rather than what is behind or in the past.

3. Be Mindful of Your Language

According to Michele Borba, parenting expert and author of “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” one of the ways we can empower our children, and ourselves, is by being mindful of our language. She writes about language impacts our children’s health, safety, character, and relationships.

For example, we can change

“Why are you so messy?”


“Your room is so messy, sweetie.”

This re-frames your message to be more empathetic, and instead of blaming it on the child.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

This product was recommended by Mollie Newton from Pet Me Twice

Madeline inspires courage, bravery, and an enthusiasm for life. The main character in the story, Madeline, is a fearless girl who isn’t afraid of anything – whether it’s touching a mouse, getting a scar due to an appendix removal, or going near the big animals in the zoo. Even if she’s just a little girl, her fearlessness gives young readers an empowering feeling that they can do anything, that they shouldn’t be scared of the world.

Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See? by Cherrye S. Vasquez Ph.D.

This product was recommended by Cherrye S. Vasquez from Cherryes Books That Sow

Everyone gets excited about the first few days of school – meeting the teacher and making friends, especially. The teacher is busy doing all the wonderful things teachers do – preparing reading and math lessons and more – but doesn’t notice a problem in her classroom. Whoever thought that happy smiles would turn into frowns all because of a classroom bully? What will the teacher do? Note: I am suggesting this book because the child being bullied knew to speak up. He shared his concerns with this mom, and his teacher. He got them both to listen to him. Because of his strength and courage, the bully received help and the bullying stopped.

Crisscross Applesauce by Cherrye S. Vasquez Ph.D.

This product was recommended by Cherrye S. Vasquez from Cherryes Books That Sow

The teacher was shocked to learn that the girls were bickering amongst themselves. Pinching? Spitting? Pulling braided ponytails? Oh no! Could there be a bully in the learning group? Once the teacher realized the girls weren’t using their classroom manners, there just had to be a share-pair social skills lesson and discussion of how to get along, play fair, and care for one another. Come quickly, gather ’round — Crisscross applesauce, begs the teacher. Will the girls brainstorm solutions and mend their differences in time for recess? Note: I am suggesting this book because the teacher was ‘spot on’ in redirecting inappropriate behaviors in the classroom. She gathered her students to discuss appropriate ways to get along and interact with one another, and she allowed them to problem solve on their own.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

This product was recommended by Muhammad Mateen Khan from PureVPN

This is a beautifully illustrated book about a (very) little girl who transforms her flaws into talents. Every little girl should be able to embrace their flaws, as characteristics that set us apart, and make us who we are.

Little People, Big Dreams by Mariadiamantes Isabel Sanchez Vegara

This product was recommended by Dave Pedley from Your Cub

This lovely collection is inspiring for adults, as well. Each book focuses on an important person in history and their successes. Buy a single book or the entire group, which comes in a box.

My First Book of Why by Amy Shields

This product was recommended by Dave Pedley from Your Cub

This wonderful and brilliant book answers so many questions that come across kids’ minds from an early age. Use it to spark their imagination and curiosity, while finding out some interesting facts.

ResQ Takes on the Takhi by Eva J. Pell

This product was recommended by Rebecca Bryden from Tumblehome Books

ResQ’s motto–Saving One Animal at a Time– motivates the young naturalist and engineer on this non-stop thrilling adventure even as it educates the reader in science, geography, technology, natural history, and other disciplines. Author Eva Pell’s wide-ranging grasp of so many areas of interest ensures anyone an enlightening and empowering reading journey in this second book in the popular ResQ series.

Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down by Lindsey Rowe Parker

This product was recommended by Lindsey Rowe Parker from LindseyRoweParker

Neurodiverse author and illustrator team up for sensory differences picture book. The vibration in her feet when she runs, the tap-tap-tap of her fork on the table at mealtime, the trickle of cool water running over her hands – these are the things that calm her jitters down. The brightly illustrated story follows a young girl with heightened sensory experiences through her day with fun, interactive sounds and motions. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the need for a wiggle, stomp or squeeze!

A simple Idea to Empower Kids by Kathleen Boucher

This product was recommended by Jeremy Ong from HUSTLR

This book is simple, helpful, and attractive at the same time for young children. It delivers inspiration and motivation for young children and encourages them to believe in their dreams and takes them seriously so they can and will achieve them. The uniqueness of this book comes from its focusing on mental empowering by putting many positive ideas into children’s minds to makes them happy and more confident in life.

A Home for Sally by Stenetta Anthony

This product was recommended by Stenetta Anthony from StenettaAnthony

The way some children react to a person or animal with special needs can be disheartening. Sometimes using language that is hurtful, staring or sometimes even bullying. A Home for Sally empowers children with a disability to recognize and accept they are beautiful inside and out; regardless of what others may say about them.

Brilliant Screen-Free Stuff To Do With Kids by Team Golfwell

This product was recommended by Bruce Miller from Team Golfwell

The American Pediatric Association recommends children need a balance between screen time and other healthy activities. This quick reference book for parents and grandparents has over 350+ screen-free activities to give you fast substitutes to get them off digital games, tablets, laptops, TV, etc. and improve and expand their life. It also features some activities for children with handicaps, autism, Asperger, as well as teens.

Louis Armstrong Courageous Kids by Wanda Kay Knight

This product was recommended by Ivy Yahnke from Waldorf Publishing

A series that depicts famous figures as courageous kids that overcome unique and difficult challenges to improve their lives and the world around them.

Escaping Into the Night by D. Dina Friedman

This product was recommended by Dina Friedman from D. Dina Friedman

When the Polish ghetto where she lives is evacuated, Halina narrowly escapes and makes her way to a secret encampment in the woods where Jews survive by living underground. Halina’s bravery is continually tested as the group struggles to obtain food and protect themselves from the encroaching Nazi army.

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks by Jeannine Atkins

This product was recommended by Arash Fayz from LA Tutors 123

The inspiration of the stories of the six women in Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists, by Jeannine Atkins will catch the imagination of girls and boys who are attracted to nature. The greater themes of breaking out of traditional roles and pursuing your passions are swept into the charming pictures and biographies of these six award-winning naturalists.

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

This product was recommended by Arash Fayz from LA Tutors 123

In the delightful book, I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont, kids get a fun and silly look into all the times to like yourself: always! The writing is engaging, and the pictures are vibrant and joyous. This book makes you want to dance and will inspire young children to, at all times, like themselves!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

This product was recommended by Noah Myint from Reggio Emilia Early Learning Centre

Matilda is a kind, extraordinary young girl, suddenly realises she has an exceptional ability with which to fight back on her daily struggles from a scary teacher and parents who don’t love her.

Timothy Scott by Tobey Alexander

This product was recommended by Tobey Alexander from N/A

The story centres around a twelve-year-old boy who is somewhat of a social outcast and plagued by self-doubt and low confidence. The story is part of a planned trilogy and throws Timothy into a fantasy world where he is expected to be a hero. The story really draws on his self-doubt and lack of belief and journeys with him as he realises and ultimately reaches his own potential. The world he discovers is filled with magical creatures both familiar and newly created for the series and positive feedback has been received for the way in which the subjects are dealt with (attested in various reviews). The story was born from my own desire to give my own son a hero to look up to as he suffers with the core elements of the main character and I wanted to create an engaging story he could ultimately relate to.

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

This product was recommended by Nidhi from The Caffables

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, this is a very good book for young ones. This is a story of how the same cat is seen by the other creatures in a different light. The book is full of illustrations and they tell a beautiful story as we read.

Kidpreneurs by Adam Toren

This product was recommended by Maya Mounter from MandMLemonade

Reading Kidpreneurs has empowered our kids 5 and 8 years old and gave them the tools to launch their first business. Their virtual lemonade stand at MandMLemonade.com made over $4,000 in the first week. Half of the donations are going to the Food Banks and the other half to their college funds. Kidpreneurs has been an incredible resource for creating a dialogue around starting a business, following your passion, and understanding work in general. Maxim and Maya’s newfound love for entrepreneurship has been genuinely empowering, and they are just getting started.

Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle

This product was recommended by Barbara Nevers from NeoLittle

This book encourages everyone to be who they wanted to be. It talks about a girl who would follow her dream until the end. Not only did she get what she wanted but she also paved the way for others. This book tackles gender equality and the importance of a support system especially for a child.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba

This product was recommended by Barbara Nevers from NeoLittle

This book talks about the hardship and the eagerness of a young Malawian inventor and engineer who helped his community by creating a windmill to power electrical appliances and then a solar-powered water pump. As a child, he used to believe in magic but later on found out that this was not true. This is an inspirational true-to-life story.

ABC I Love Me by Miriam Muhammed

This product was recommended by Vince Massara from Edu Test Labs

I highly recommend bringing this book as a gift for your children, and other people’s children at birthday parties. I think that all children will love this book, because of its beautiful illustrations but most importantly is the idea that this book delivers for these young children; it teaches them positive ideas and affirmations along with each letter of the alphabet. Once they read this book, they will learn how to love and appreciate themselves and the idea of self-worth will be cultivated within their minds and souls as they grow up.

How to Empower Your Kids by Danny Bastos

This product was recommended by Gerardo Juarez from Sheep Buy Inc

This book is a must-read for parents. It helps parents by creating a new method or a different approach to deal with their children day-by-day in a way that empowers them mentally and physically. The book is discussing different aspects of children’s life and spotting light on a critical point or issue; how to prepare your own children to be ready for that huge world outside, and how to EMPOWER them so they have the needed confidence and the sense of self-worth to handle the challenging situations out there. In addition to that, Danny the author has a simple and easily understood writing style, so I suggest reading this book with your children and ask them about their opinions and discuss with them the included thoughts in the book so you can create the most appropriate approach to empower your own children.

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