Words from New Feminist Picture Books

“Are you ever too scared to say something because you might be wrong?”

From Raise Your Hand, written by Alice Paul Tapper, illustrated by Marta Kissi (Penguin Workshop, $17.99). The author also came up with the Girl Scout “Raise Your Hand” pledge and patch program.


“On haircut day, I go first. ‘Not too much, Mama I like it swingy!’ But Jackie says, ‘More, more, more!’ So Mama cuts and cuts. ‘Stop, Mama, stop!’ I shout. ‘Now Jackie looks like a boy.’ Jackie says, ‘I am a boy!’ Mama is quiet. Finally she says, ‘Well, Jackie’s been trying to tell us that for a long time’.”

From Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Holly Hatam, (Little Bee, $17.99).


“Temple did not like scratchy socks, whistling teakettles, bright lights, or smelly perfumes And Temple really didn’t like hugs.”

From How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by Giselle Potter (Simon & Schuster, $17.99).


“In high school, my teacher assigned my class a book about boys on a deserted island who went wild because there were no rules. The boys hurt each other in the chaos of a land without laws. This book opened my eyes. I saw why we need laws and rules to feel safe, so that people have the freedom to grow and flourish. I did not yet know that I would end up working in law, as a lawyer and later as a judge, but I was learning why laws mattered.”

From Turning Pages: My Life Story, by [Supreme Court Justice] Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Philomel, $17.99).


“Her parents worried. Such a life for a well-brought-up Jewish girl!”

From Hedy & Her Amazing Invention by Jan Wahl, illustrated by Morgana Wallace (Penny Candy Books, $16.95). This is the final book by the prolific author, who died in February. It’s about actress Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000), who found her way to Hollywood, where she took unwearable movie costumes home and secretly adjusted them. She liked to make things, and what she called her “frequency hopping” invention is used in many hi-tech gadgets today.


“Soon Gittel and her mother reached the head of the line. ‘Stick out your tongue,’ a burly man with a bristly beard ordered Gittel. ‘Blink your eyes. Show me your hands.’ Gittel did as she was told. The man nodded and then turned to Mama. ‘What is wrong with your eye’?”

From Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story, by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates (Abrams, $17.99).


“When Levi got home, Papa had tears in his eyes. ‘Why are you crying?’ asked Levi. ‘It was your first day at a new school,’ said Papa. ‘I was scared. Papa…big boys do cry,’ said Levi. ‘And that’s okay,” said Papa.”

From Big Boys Cry, written and illustrated by Jonty Howley (Random House, $17.99).


“Girls need to know they can break the rules.”

From Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World bJessica M. Rinker, illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley (Bloomsbury, $17.99).