Recommended Books


National Garden Month

Book recommendations from Future Ready Five.

Hope is a Hop

By Katrina Moore (Author), Melissa Iwai (Illustrator)

Eva works hard in her garden, but a pesky rabbit keeps eating her flowers. Find out how Eva’s perseverance pays off when she discovers something new about her long-eared friend. Read Hope is a Hop written by Katrina Moore and Illustrated by Melissa Iwai this month, available at Columbus Metropolitan Libraries.

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By Carme Lemniscates (Author, Illustrator)

Seeds are tiny powerhouses that once they find their spot, make the most amazing transformations. Read more about Seeds in this wonderfully illustrated book by Carme Lemniscates, available at your local Columbus Metropolitan Libraries!

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In Our Garden

By Pat Zietlow Miller (Author), Melissa Crowton (Illustrator)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Be Kind comes an uplifting classroom tale about students who create a vegetable garden on their school’s rooftop. From building the beds and planting the seeds to the first glorious harvest, here’s the story of a garden—and a girl—in bloom, and what it takes for a new place to finally feel like home. Available at your local Columbus Metropolitan Libraries!

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Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

By Malala Yousafzai (Author), Kerascoët (Illustrator)

Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine, and farm-to-table eating. She was a chef when female chefs—let alone African American female chefs—were few and far between. With lyrical text and watercolor illustrations, Robbin Gourley traces the roots of Edna’s appreciation for the bounties of nature through the seasons. Available at your local Columbus Metropolitan Libraries!

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Women’s History Month

Shark Lady

By Jess Keating (Author) and Marta Alvarez Miguens (Illustrator)

From author Jess Keating and illustrator Marta Alvarez Miguens, this book tells the story of Eugenia Clark. From a young age, Clark loved sharks and wanted to learn everything about them — and disagreed with those who considered sharks to be mindless monsters. In this beautifully illustrated story, readers learn how Eugenie dedicated her life to the study of sharks.

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Mae Among the Stars

By Roda Ahmed (Author) and Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)

“If you dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” This book tells how Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, followed her dreams to become an astronaut. Written by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington, this is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts.

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Think Big, Little One

By Vashita Harrison

This board book by #1 New York Times bestselling author Vashti Harrison is a beautiful first book to teach your little dreamers to follow all their biggest ideas.

Featuring eighteen women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Think Big, Little One introduces trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, and architect Zaha Hadid.

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Malala’s Magic Pencil

By Malala Yousafzai (Author) and Kerascoët (Illustrator)

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

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Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?

By Tanya Lee Stone (Author) and Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)

In the 1830s, when a brave and curious girl named Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up, women were supposed to be wives and mothers. But Elizabeth refused to accept the common beliefs that women weren’t smart enough to be doctors. Although she faced much opposition, she worked hard and finally―when she graduated from medical school and went on to have a brilliant career―proved her detractors wrong. This book written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman tells Elizabeth’s inspiring story.

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She Persisted

By  Chelsea Clinton (Author) and Alexandra Boiger (Illustrator)

Chelsea Clinton and illustrator Alexandra Boiger introduce tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted. She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

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Wilma Unlimited

By Kathleen Krull (Author) and David Diaz (Illustrator)

This award-winning true story of Black Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio and eventually went on to win three gold medals, is illustrated by Caldecott medal–winning artist David Diaz.

Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she’d run. And she did run—all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single Olympiad. This dramatic and inspiring true story is illustrated in bold watercolor and acrylic paintings and told by author Kathleen Krull.

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A is for Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World

By Eva Chen (author) and Derek Desierto (illustrator)

Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to eXtraordinary You―and the Zillion of adventures you will go on? Instagram superstar Eva Chen, author of Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, is back with an alphabet board book depicting feminist icons in A Is for Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World, featuring spirited illustrations by Derek Desierto.

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Dinosaur Lady

ByLinda Skeers (Author) and Marta Álvarez Miguéns (Illustrator)

A beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Mary Anning by author Linda Skeers and illustrator Marta Álvarez Miguéns that will enlighten children about the discovery of the dinosaurs and the importance of female scientists. Mary Anning loved scouring the beach near her home in England for shells and fossils. One day, something caught Mary’s eye. Bones. Dinosaur Bones. Mary’s discoveries rocked the world of science and helped create a brand-new field of study: paleontology. But many people believed women couldn’t be scientists, so Mary wasn’t given the credit she deserved. Nevertheless, Mary kept looking and learning more, making discoveries that reshaped scientific beliefs about the natural world.

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Think Big, Little One

By Monica Brown (Author) and John Parra (Illustrator)

Gabriela Mistral loved words and sounds and stories. Born in Chile, she would grow to become the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. As a poet and a teacher, she inspired children across many countries to let their voices be heard. This beautifully crafted story, where words literally come to life, is told with the rhythm and melody of a poem. This story, by author Monica Brown and illustrator John Parra, will continue to inspire children everywhere.

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Black History Month

Black Boy Black Boy

By Ali Kamanda

From athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick to musician Sam Cooke, inventor Elijah McCoy and writer Chinua Achebe, there are so many inspirational men in Black history. This lyrical, rhythmic text encourages boys to imagine everything they can be and the great things they can do, drawing on the strength of people throughout history that paved the way for Black boys today.

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A Library

By Nikki Giovanni

In this lyrical picture book, world-renowned poet, New York Times bestselling author, and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Nikki Giovanni and fine artist Erin Robinson craft an ode to the magic of a library as a place not only for knowledge but also for imagination, exploration, and escape.

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I Am Ruby Bridges

By Ruby Bridges

When Ruby Bridges was six years old, she became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana. Based on the pivotal events that happened in 1960 and told from her point of view, this is a poetic reflection on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.

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Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

By Carole Boston Weatherford

Arturo Schomburg’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. He later created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.

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ABC Black History and Me

By Queenbe Monyei

From Harriet Tubman and Fanny Jackson Coppin to Amanda Gorman and Ketanji Brown Jackson, ABC Black History and Me covers more than 170 years in a short board book appropriate for the little ones. This book is not only perfect for getting toddlers comfortable with their ABCs, but also for reflecting on how we are all affected by this history and how even the youngest of children will affect the future.

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When the Schools Shut Down

By Yolanda Gladden and Dr. Tamara Pizzoli

An awe-inspiring autobiographical picture book by Yolanda Gladden and Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, When the Schools Shut Down tells the story of a young African American girl who lived during the shutdown of public schools in Farmville, Virginia, following the landmark civil rights case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. 

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Brothers and Sisters

By Eloise Greenfield

This collection of 25 short poems about life with siblings—full, half, step, old and young, close in age and far apart—showcases the powerful and special bond between all brothers and sisters. With lyrical text and vibrant watercolor illustrations, Brothers & Sisters is the perfect way for the children in your family to share their love for each other.

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I Am Enough

By Grace Byers

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

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Antiracist Baby

By Ibram X. Keni

From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves.

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By Lupita Nyong’o

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

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