Best Summer Reading for Girls
With bravery and gusto, a young girl tackles the adventures of everyday life, from staring down giants at the school bus stop to climbing the Mountain of Knowledge at the library to building new bridges of friendship. Kirkus calls this picture book, written by Bea Birdsong and charmingly illustrated by East Bay artist Nidhi Chanani, “a multicultural girl-power manifesto,” but its tale is just as inspiring for boys. Roaring Brook Press, 2019. $17.99.
The first book in a new middle grade series, The Startup Squad follows four friends competing in a school lemonade stand competition. The book was the brainchild of Brian Weisfeld, a Silicon Valley dad of two girls and former tech executive, who co-wrote it with Nicole C. Kear. It’s part of a greater effort by Weisfeld to encourage and empower girls with an entrepreneurial mindset. MacMillan, 2019. $16.99.
Michelle Travis, a law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and mom of two daughters, celebrates all kinds of working moms in this picture book. From doctors to engineers and secretaries to sergeants, Travis shows how women bring the same passion, talents and ingenuity to their jobs inside and outside the home, caring for their children while making the world a better place. DartFrog Books, 2018. $9.99.
Sen. Kamala Harris tells her life story in this picture book memoir in which her family, friends and role models are the everyday superheroes who made her feel brave and special, and taught her to stand up for what’s right. The Oakland native went on to be elected District Attorney of San Francisco and California Attorney General (the first woman and person of color in that role) and is now running for president. She encourages kids to become superheroes themselves with a Hero Code that includes being kind, working hard and making a difference. Philomel Books, 2019. $17.99.
Danville photographer and mom Adriane Costa shows what it really means to play like a girl – to be “strong, confident, fierce and empowered.” Costa’s full-color action shots portray young female athletes engaged in a wide variety of sports including basketball, gymnastics, kickboxing, weightlifting and more. Alongside each photo is a quote from its subject reflecting on what it means to “play like a girl” or what their sport means to them. As Eme, a 9-year-old mountain biker, puts it: “Playing like a girl means that I can play rough or I can play with a doll; It means I can do whatever I want, it doesn’t matter.”Self published, 2018. $18.99 soft cover, $26.95 hard cover.
In her first picture book, Saratoga author and illustrator Thuy Ha writes about the power that small acts of kindness, from a smile to a handwritten note, have when they grow and multiply. Her charming illustrations and simple prose encourage kind acts to others and oneself, and the book includes ideas for an act of kindness each week of the year. Says Ha, “I’m a mom of two and my only wish is for my children to grow up in the brightest world possible. I truly believe that small acts of kindness are the seeds from which a more loving world can emerge.” Beavers Pond Press, 2019. $17.95.
Ara and her droid sidekick set out to tackle a “big problem” by building an algorithm with the help of real-life female Google engineers. Komal Singh, an engineering program manager at the Mountain View firm, wrote the book after her 4-year-old daughter told her, “Engineers are boys.” Singh hopes the book will help change that perception and encourage girls in STEM interests. Page Two Books, 2018. $15.95.
In the follow-up to their bestselling She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton and San Anselmo illustrator Alexandra Boiger profile women who persevered and made history worldwide, from well-known figures such as Marie Curie and J.K. Rowling to lesser-known – but no less inspiring – ones, such as the first women to discover a comet and to secure women the vote. Philomel Books, 2018. $17.99.