Kids Books on the
Women's Suffrage Mvmt
history of the suffragette movement

suffragette movement

We've come a long way baby!  When teaching about the suffragette movement nowadays, students are often very surprised. It doesn't make sense to most modern students...and that's a great thing. I'm not saying there's total equality, but the fact that this is incomprehensible certainly means that children don't see the tremendous gender differences in intelligence and capability that was virtually 'accepted as fact' just a century ago during the suffrage movement.

The following children's books provide a window into the suffragette movement, either directly through biographies and non-fiction tales or indirectly via historical fiction stories. All are very moving and should spark your students' interest in this historic, sometimes tumultuous movement.




You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer
by Shana Corey; illustrated by Chesley McLaren
You Forgot Your Skirt Amelia Bloomer


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What it's about
Bright, whimsical illustrations and bouncy text tell the story of Amelia Bloomer, a women's magazine editor who publically applauded the baggy, knee-length pants the suffragettes were wearing, and before long people were calling them bloomers!  "In a breezy and delightfully chic manner, Corey and McLaren tell an inspiring tale of nonconformity." (PW) This fun book is not specifically about suffragette movement, but it touches on it enough that we've decided to include it.

Reading levels
Interest Level: K-Gr. 3        DRA Level: n/a
Difficulty Level: age 4-8      Lexile Measure: AD350L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (16 reviews)






Elizabeth Leads the Way
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone and Rebecca Gibbon
Elizabeth Leads the Way : Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote


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What it's about
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a key leader in women's  suffrage, and this title is a great way to introduce her life and passions to kids. Elizabeth Leads the Way depicts the trailblazer as a "strong- spirited, rule-breaking" girl who challenged traditional ideas in her pioneering work for women's rights. Her life is seen from childhood, when she learned that women didn't have the same rights as men, to her successes as leader of the suffragette movement. Other key events in the women's movement are also discussed. Gibbon's darling illustrations just add to the magic. In a starred review, Booklist called it "a must."

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 1-4         DRA Level:  n/a
Difficulty Level: age 4-8       Lexile Measure: AD700L

Awards and Rating
ALA Notable Children's Book 2009
Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year 2009
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (11 reviews)






You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?
by Jean Fritz; illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo Ryan
You Want Women to Vote Lizzie Stanton?


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What it's about
In her trademark witty style, Fritz provides a kid- friendly, entertaining look at the life and passions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Readers learn about Stanton's accomplishments and the wider context of the suffragette movement, with plenty of interesting anecdotes woven in to keep the reader's interest (ie: Did you know Stanton's own husband once got so embarrassed when she spoke at a convention that he left town). In a starred review, PW called this book "highly entertaining and enlightening." And SLJ said, also in a starred review, that "this objective depiction of AStanton's? life and times?makes readers feel invested in her struggle." As with virtually all Fritz titles, we think this is a great classroom addition.

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 3-6          DRA Level:  60
Difficulty Level: age 7+        Lexile Measure: 870L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:4 stars (4 reviews)






I Could Do That!
Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda White; illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
I Could Do That ! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 2-4        DRA: 28 
Difficulty Level: age 4-8      Lexile: 780L  


* See inside / buy from Amazon
What it's about
Not as well known as other women in the suffragette movement, Esther Morris was the first female judge, the first woman to hold political office, and was influential in getting women the right to vote in Wyoming...all while raising a family. Through it all, Esther had the same determined mantra: "I could do that!"  This darling book tells Esther's story in lively, accessible text and whimsical, folksy illustrations that are full of historical details.

Kirkus called it "a rollicking good story" and in a starred review, Booklist said it is "a well-crafted story that secures Morris a deserved place in the sorority of redoubtable picture-book heroines."

Awards and Rating
NCTE Orbis Pictus Informational Book Award 2006
NCSS Notable Social Studies Children's Book 2006
Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice Children's Book
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (5 reviews)






Secrets on 26th Street (History Mysteries)
by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
Secrets on 26th street


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What it's about
Susan's sure that their new boarder is hiding some- thing, so when her mother goes missing, Susan demands answers. Turns out, the women are part of the suffragette movement and her mother has been arrested during a demonstration. Building suspense, "strong female characters, and a cohesive plot" will keep readers engaged, and in the process they will learn a great deal about the life in New York City of 1914 and the suffragette movement.

SLJ ended their review by saying this book" does an excellent job of maintaining a heightened sense of suspense throughout" and "the inclusion of historical information regarding the suffragist movement is an added bonus to this entertaining story."

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 3-6         DRA Level: 40 
Difficulty Level: age 9-12     Lexile Measure: 740L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (5 reviews)






A Time for Courage
The Suffragette Diary of Kathleen Bowen by Kathryn Lasky
DA: A Time for Courage: The Suffragette Diary of Kathleen Bowen, Washington, D.C., 1917 by Kathryn Lasky


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What it's about
Kat writes in her diary about her hopes, her dreams, and about her mother's involvement in the women's suffrage movement. Soon, Kat begins to help too and eventually sees what real equality is. Lasky weaves real suffragettes into the story and provides details about the harsh treatment the women faced. An interesting section at the end includes an overview of the suffragette movement and includes photographs.

SLJ ended their review of this book by saying that the main character is "well developed into a young woman whose exposure to the politics and consequences allow her to mature and decide what true liberty and justice for all really means."

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 4-6        DRA Level: 40 
Difficulty Level: age 9-12    Lexile Measure: 850L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:4.5 stars (19 reviews)






The Journal of Otto Peltonen
A Finnish Immigrant, Hibbing, Minnesota, 1905  by William Durbin
The Journal of Otto Peltonen:A Finnish Immigrant, Hibbing, Minnesota, 1905 by William Durbin


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What it's about
Otto expected life in America to be one of comfort and ease. Instead, he and his family live in a dirty mining town in Minnesota, where his miner father is joining a strike against the mine owners and his mother is engaged in her own fight--helping women secure the right to vote. Otto writes about all these events, and his life as a miner, is his journal. Booklist called it a "captivating, dramatic view of the past."
(Note: Of the books on this list, this one gives the suffrage movement the least coverage. It is just one of a number of historical subjects woven into this book's storyline, such as: the immigrant journey/experience, early 20th century labor conditions/movement...)


Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 5-10         DRA Level:  50
Difficulty Level: age 9-12      Lexile Measure: 1010L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (8 reviews)






With Courage and Cloth
Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote by Ann Bausum
With Courage


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What it's about
The "iron-jawed women" (SLJ) of the suffragette movement took different paths toward voting rights. A more conservative group focused on state by state victories while a more gritty, radical group wanted an all encompassing federal amendment. As this book shows, the groups did not always get along, but in the end they were all fighting for the same cause. Includes period photos, some apparently never before shown. SLJ rightly called it a "vivid presentation."

Reading levels
Interest Range: Grade 7+       DRA Level: n/a 
Difficulty Level: age 9-12        Lexile Measure: 1080L

Awards and Rating
School Library Journal Best Books of 2005
ALA Notable Children's Book
ALA Best Book for YA
Nat'l Council for Social Studies Notable Bk
Women's Int'l League for Peace Award 2005
Avg Amazon Rating:
5 stars(5 reviews)





Other US History Books for Kids

We have lists like this one on dozens of American history topics, some several pages long. To see other lists: GO FROM-- suffragette movement  --TO-- all American History book lists

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