Seems like a good time to remind girls they can do everything boys can and are stronger than they may know. These new books introduce tough girls and women, and even a feminist baby.

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports

By Phil Bildner; illustrated by Brett Helquist; Candlewick Press; 40 pages; $16.99

Chris Evert was the best tennis player in the United States as a teen, and Martina Navratilova was the national champ in communist Czechoslovakia at age 15.

The pair became fast friends on the world tennis circuit, though they knew they were supposed to hate each other, like their countries did in the 1970s. But as for Evert and Navratilova, “they weren’t the type of women who did what they were supposed to do.”

Navratilova was the underdog at first, and then she got in great shape and soon beat Evert at Wimbledon. Evert won the next year, and then Navratilova and so on. Through all the wins and defeats, the pair made each other better players and better people.

The timeline at the back of the inspirational picture book, Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports, explains that the pair are now as close as ever and support each other in respective charity work.

Lively, sporty illustrations from Brett Helquist bring an air of determined personality to Phil Bildner’s focused tale about “The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports,” which ends with lifelong friendship. The timeline at the back of the book helps readers learn more about these iconic athletes.

Feminist Baby

By Loryn Brantz; Disney/Hyperion; 24 pages; $12.99

The back cover of Feminist Baby, a vivid yellow board book, says: “Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby! She’s strong, she’s smart, and she makes as much noise as possible!”

The round tan baby, wearing nothing but a diaper and a pink bow on her bald head, loves to dance, says no to pants, chooses her own clothes and plays rock guitar. There’s lots of silly, hilarious action going on, and at the end she poses similar to Rosie the Riveter, boasting, “Feminist baby can be whatever she dreams!”

A unique, multicolored large board book about an energetic baby who plays equally with cars and dolls, Feminist Baby certainly makes a cool baby gift for girls and boys.

Awesome Women Who Changed History: Paper Dolls

By Carol Del Angel; Adams Media; 48 pages; $12.99

Want to teach your kids about “awesome women who changed history?” Playing with the sturdy, artsy paper dolls in Awesome Women Who Changed History: Paper Dolls is a fun way to celebrate strong women.

The 20 realistic paper dolls are many, including Sally Ride, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Joni Mitchell and Hillary Clinton. It also comes with uniforms and outfits and accessories, like dogs for Queen Elizabeth, chimps for Jane Goodall and even a 1950s TV set for Lucille Ball.

These paper doll likenesses of groundbreaking women are truly inspiring and fun. This is an empowering gift for girls of all ages.

Women Who Dared: 52 Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers & Rebels

By Linda Skeers; illustrated by Livi Gosling; Jabberwocky Kids; 128 pages; $16.99

Though not officially released until September, Women Who Dared: 52 Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers & Rebels is worth an early shout-out.

Women are rarely mentioned in history books as adventurers, daredevils or rebels, but this new compilation of short biographies showcases 59 of them. From the first professional stunt woman, Helen Gibson, to the first woman who flew in space, Valentina Tereshkova, to horse whisperer Johanna July, the powerful women inside run the gamut of occupations, causes and goals.

Livi Gosling’s mod, lighthearted illustrations bring out the daring personalities of these women, and Linda Skeers’ exciting writing is adventurous and awe-inspiring.

How Dare the Sun Rise

By Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta; Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins; 276 pages; $16.99

When Sandra Uwiringiyimana was 10 years old in the Congo, she had a gun pointed to her head and watched her mother and sister killed. From there, through a U.N. refugee program, she and her remaining family members moved to America, only to experience ethnic disconnect.

How Dare the Sun Rise, a moving, inspirational read, penned by Uwiringiyimana and investigative journalist Abigail Pesta, is the story of her survival in a new country in middle school and high school and her hope for the future.

It’s also an ode to art and activism, which saves this remarkable strong young woman and gives her honorable, lofty goals.

Amina’s Voice

By Hena Khan; Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster; 197 pages; $16.99

Amina is a middle-school girl who happens to be Muslim and is dismayed when her best friend, Soojin, becomes “cool” and wants to change her name to sound more American. Then, her local mosque is vandalized, and Amina is devastated and wants to help.

Amina’s Voice is a modern read for our multicultural population and also a timely, caring read for middle-grade kids about the power girls of all colors and ethnicities have to use their voices to bring people together.

Hena Khan’s writing is fun and hip, and is just as much a kid-friendly take on friendships and school cliques as it is a lesson in equality, kindness and the power of girls.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.