100 books like Modern HERstory

By Blair Imani, Monique Le (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Modern HERstory fans have personally recommended if you like Modern HERstory. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Generation Brave: The Gen Z Kids Who Are Changing the World

Rochelle Melander Author Of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

From my list on anthologies for young activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’ve found that learning about other writers and their processes helps me. Over the years, I’ve devoured the memoirs and letters of writers like Madeleine L’Engle, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neal Hurston. In 2006, when I started a writing program for young people in my city, I brought these writers’ words to use as writing prompts. When I researched my book, Mightier Than the Sword, I read dozens of anthologies to find people who used writing to make a difference in their fields—science, art, politics, music, and sports. I will always be grateful for those anthologies—because they broadened my knowledge and introduced me to so many interesting people.

Rochelle's book list on anthologies for young activists

Rochelle Melander Why did Rochelle love this book?

The first generation of young people raised on the internet has faced gun violence, climate change, and a pandemic. They also understand diversity, are adept at digital platforms, and want to change the world. The inspiring stories in this book gave me the good kind of chills. These young people are marching for social justice, working to change laws, giving speeches, starting nonprofits, and more. But they need your help. After you read this, you’ll be inspired to make a difference, too.

By Kate Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Generation Brave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An illustrated celebration of Gen Z activists fighting to make our world a better place.

Gen Z is populated-and defined-by activists. They are bold and original thinkers and not afraid to stand up to authority and conventional wisdom. From the March for Our Lives to the fight for human rights and climate change awareness, this generation is leading the way toward truth and hope like no generation before.

Generation Brave showcases Gen Z activists who are fighting for change on many fronts: climate change, LGBTQ rights, awareness and treatment of mental illness, gun control, gender equality, and corruption in business…


Book cover of Girl Warriors: How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earth

Catherine Thimmesh Author Of Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World

From my list on you’ve-got-this-girl young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m someone who believes the accomplishments of women have been glossed over for far too long. I'm passionate about sharing the stories of women and girls that the world at large still tends to ignore. It’s critical to share these stores and to give face and voice to women. Social entrepreneurship, the topic of my recent book Girls Solve Everything, has fascinated me for some time:  creative problem solving, tackling problems in our communities and the world, creating a business to find and facilitate the solution. Representation matters. I’m determined to write about and share the stories of strong, innovative, creative women and girls. Our future depends on them.

Catherine's book list on you’ve-got-this-girl young readers

Catherine Thimmesh Why did Catherine love this book?

By now, we all know the Earth needs saving. And most of us try to do our part – recycling, composting, using less plastic, etc. But it’s hardly enough...yet still, what more can we as individuals do? That question didn’t stop the young activists in Girl Warriors. These young women have Stepped Up! Over and over again, I found myself awed at the stories that included speaking at a UN Climate Change Conference (Isabella Fallahi) and organizing a Global Cleanup Day that included 27 countries (Lilly Platt). The young women profiled are not afraid to tackle large, seemingly insurmountable problems if it means saving the Earth. I loved how in-depth the profiles went on the various actions being undertaken. If they can do it, why not me? Or you?

By Rachel Sarah,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Girl Warriors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It gives me true hope to read about the phenomenal young women of Girl Warriors. Their fierce commitment to the future of our precious planet is as inspiring as it is vital." —Kate Schatz, New York Times bestselling author of Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide 

2021 Skipping Stones Honors Book in Nature and Ecology

Girl Warriors: How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earthtells the stories of 25 climate leaders under age 25.They've led hundreds of thousands of people in climate strikes, founded non-profits, given TED talks, and sued their governments. These young eco-activistspresenta hopeful picture of…


Book cover of We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World

Rochelle Melander Author Of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

From my list on anthologies for young activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’ve found that learning about other writers and their processes helps me. Over the years, I’ve devoured the memoirs and letters of writers like Madeleine L’Engle, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neal Hurston. In 2006, when I started a writing program for young people in my city, I brought these writers’ words to use as writing prompts. When I researched my book, Mightier Than the Sword, I read dozens of anthologies to find people who used writing to make a difference in their fields—science, art, politics, music, and sports. I will always be grateful for those anthologies—because they broadened my knowledge and introduced me to so many interesting people.

Rochelle's book list on anthologies for young activists

Rochelle Melander Why did Rochelle love this book?

Over the years, I’ve met many young people who are more interested in sports than social studies. I was so excited to find this book—because it helps sports-minded kids see the tremendous contribution young women have made to both sports and social change. You’ll read about how these women overcame barriers, competed in challenging circumstances, and still broke records. You will also learn how they are still making a difference in the world. These multidimensional heroes help us want to be more like them! 

By Aileen Weintraub, Sarah Green (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Do you play sports? Maybe you dream about scoring a goal on the soccer field or hitting a home run in baseball. Perhaps you're thinking about trying a new sport, but you're still not sure.

In We Got Game you'll meet thirty-five female athletes who played hard, broke records, and inspired girls around the world. Some of these athletes have retired. Others are still competing. But they have one thing in common: they all got game! You'll read about the first woman horse jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby, the number one tennis player in the world, a surfer…


Book cover of Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World

Rochelle Melander Author Of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

From my list on anthologies for young activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’ve found that learning about other writers and their processes helps me. Over the years, I’ve devoured the memoirs and letters of writers like Madeleine L’Engle, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neal Hurston. In 2006, when I started a writing program for young people in my city, I brought these writers’ words to use as writing prompts. When I researched my book, Mightier Than the Sword, I read dozens of anthologies to find people who used writing to make a difference in their fields—science, art, politics, music, and sports. I will always be grateful for those anthologies—because they broadened my knowledge and introduced me to so many interesting people.

Rochelle's book list on anthologies for young activists

Rochelle Melander Why did Rochelle love this book?

This highly browsable picture book uses poems, quotes, and short bios to tell the stories of young change agents like spies Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, student Ruby Bridges, and scientist Angela Zhang. Fourteen artists illustrated the book, providing readers with an exciting new image on each page. I love this book because it’s for younger children—and they are hungry to learn about history, too.

By Susan Hood, Sophie Blackall (illustrator), Emily Winfield Martin (illustrator) , Shadra Strickland (illustrator) , Melissa Sweet (illustrator) , LeUyen Pham (illustrator) , Oge Mora (illustrator) , Julie Morstad (illustrator) , Lisa Brown (illustrator) , Selina Alko (illustrator) , Hadley Hooper (illustrator) , Isabel Roxas (illustrator) , Erin Robinson (illustrator) , Sara Palacios (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shaking Things Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"Each poem and illustration shines with a personality all its own." -Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"This book has definitely made an impact on my life." -Kitt Shapiro, daughter of Eartha Kitt

Fresh, accessible, and inspiring, Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women-each paired with a noteworthy female artist-to the next generation of activists, trailblazers, and rabble-rousers.

From the award-winning author of Ada's Violin and Lifeboat 12, Susan Hood, this is a poetic and visual celebration of persistent women throughout history.

In this book of poems, you will find Mary Anning, who was just thirteen when she unearthed a prehistoric…


Book cover of Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different

Renée Sentilles Author Of American Tomboys, 1850-1915

From my list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl, I thought I was a tomboy—or I wanted to be one, because the image of a “normal” girl was far too pink and frothy and shallow for my tastes. For me, being a tomboy was less about being boy-like than being unable to claim the markers of femininity. As a historian of women and girls, I wondered how young women saw their futures in this modernizing America, with its True Women and New Women and the opening of advanced education. Did tomboys grow into the rebels who changed the world? Or, like the tomboys in so many fictional stories, did they renounce their assertive sense of self upon marriage and motherhood?

Renée's book list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys

Renée Sentilles Why did Renée love this book?

This one is for girls who want to know more about tomboys in the here and now. Davis essentially asks “how did we get to this time of transgender and nonbinary identity?” She interrogates the term “tomboy” as a way of understanding how our understanding of gender norms has changed and remained unchanged—at the same time.

By Lisa Selin Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tomboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the author’s viral New York Times op-ed, this heartfelt book is a celebration and exploration of the tomboy phenomenon and the future of girlhood.

We are in the middle of a cultural revolution, where the spectrum of gender and sexual identities is seemingly unlimited. So when author and journalist Lisa Selin Davis's six-year-old daughter first called herself a "tomboy," Davis was hesitant. Her child favored sweatpants and T-shirts over anything pink or princess-themed, just like the sporty, skinned-kneed girls Davis had played with as a kid. But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word—why use a word with "boy"…


Book cover of Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Difference

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino Author Of The Change Guidebook: How to Align Your Heart, Truths, and Energy to Find Success in All Areas of Your Life

From my list on to implement and manage change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is the founder of The Best Ever You Network and co-founder of Compliance4. Through these companies, she has helped individuals and organizations around the world be their best and achieve world-class excellence with gratitude-based behavior and belief systems. She is one of America's foremost personal and corporate development consultants specializing in mindset, change management, strategy, leadership, and taking action. Elizabeth is also the author of the award-winning personal development book PERCOLATE - Let Your Best Self Filter Through (Hay House) and multiple children’s books as a contributor and author. Elizabeth lives her daily life with life-threatening food allergies. Elizabeth and her husband live in Maine with their four sons and three rescued cats. 

Elizabeth's book list on to implement and manage change

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This is a very relatable book from everyday people who have created change for good. I firmly believe that the practice of change starts with us individually and this book supports that concept. I believe that to be our best and live our best lives, we must solidly and whole-heartedly look within.

By John C. Maxwell, Rob Hoskins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Change Your World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Maxwell and Rob Hoskins have invested their lives as champions of change. Maxwell's organizations EQUIP and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation have transformed communities by training more than five million leaders from literally every country in the world. Hoskins's One Hope has transformed the lives of more than one billion children and youth in 120 countries around the globe.

Now, for the first time, these two leaders have partnered to write a book about how anyone, anywhere, can transform their world. Offering practical principles based on solid research and real-life experience, the authors teach how to recognize where and…


Book cover of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Carlos A. Zuluaga Author Of The Wisdom Factor: Reducing the Control of Bias, Threat, and Fear while Building a Better World

From my list on inspiring personal growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about continuous learning and understanding why people act the way they do. The books I recommend cover the topic of continuous growth across different states and areas of life. 

Carlos' book list on inspiring personal growth

Carlos A. Zuluaga Why did Carlos love this book?

This is a great book for those interested in promoting change. I like how the book combines stories, examples, and engaging information to present practical strategies that have been used to accomplish change when it seemed difficult to achieve. 

Reading this book made me realize small actions can have significant long-term effects when taken consistently and repeatedly. It opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes complex problems require simple solutions. 

By Dan Heath, Chip Heath,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Switch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

___________________________________
Change is hard. It doesn't have to be.

We all know that change is hard. It's unsettling, it's time-consuming, and all too often we give up at the first sign of a setback.

But why do we insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in their compelling and insightful book. They argue that we need only understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour.

Illustrating their ideas with scientific studies and remarkable real-life turnarounds - from the secrets of…


Book cover of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

Jordan Flaherty Author Of No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality

From my list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I produced dozens of hours of film and television, including for Al Jazeera’s Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont-award-winning program Faultlines; as well as short and long-form documentaries for Democracy Now and teleSUR, and reporting in The New York Times and Washington Post. I’ve written two books based on my journalism, No More Heroes: Grassroots Responses to the Savior Mentality and Floodlines: Community and Resistance From Katrina to the Jena Six. I produced the independent feature film Chocolate Babies, which was recently added to the Criterion Collection. My latest film is Powerlands.

Jordan's book list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy

Jordan Flaherty Why did Jordan love this book?

The definitive book for understanding today’s social justice movements, and what needs to change for them to be successful. The brilliant women of color of INCITE come from a background of organizing and scholarship, and together they show the systemic flaw in left movements today, showing the ways that organizations become accountable to wealthy funders rather than the people they say they wish to serve. Read this book to learn what can be done to challenge this dynamic and build a better world.

By INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Revolution Will Not Be Funded as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A trillion-dollar industry, the US non-profit sector is one of the world's largest economies. From art museums and university hospitals to think tanks and church charities, over 1.5 million organizations of staggering diversity share the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation, if little else. Many social justice organizations have joined this world, often blunting political goals to satisfy government and foundation mandates. But even as funding shrinks, many activists often find it difficult to imagine movement-building outside the non-profit model. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded gathers essays by radical activists, educators, and non-profit staff from around the globe who critically rethink the…


Book cover of Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know

Alex Counts Author Of Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship

From my list on social entrepreneurship and why it is so important.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alex Counts founded Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997. A Cornell University graduate, Counts’s commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Since its modest beginnings, Grameen Foundation has grown to become a leading international humanitarian organization. Today he is an independent consultant to mission-driven organizations, a prolific writer, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland who loves to teach nonprofit leadership and related subjects. 

Alex's book list on social entrepreneurship and why it is so important

Alex Counts Why did Alex love this book?

This short book hits the nail on the head over and over about what social entrepreneurship is, what it isn’t, why it matters, and how it differs from other approaches to causing social change.  I have given it to countless people over the years, especially those seeking their own place in the “do good” ecosystem.  On virtually every page, I found multiple insights about the realities of leading social change that I found not only true but also extremely helpful to me as I reflected on my own journey and its highs and lows as well as its more mundane elements and its many absurdities.

By David Bornstein, Susan Page Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Entrepreneurship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In development circles, there is now widespread consensus that social entrepreneurs represent a far better mechanism to respond to needs than we have ever had before-a decentralized and emergent force that remains our best hope for solutions that can keep pace with our problems and create a more peaceful world.
David Bornstein's previous book on social entrepreneurship, How to Change the World, was hailed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times as "a bible in the field" and published in more than twenty countries. Now, Bornstein shifts the focus from the profiles of successful social innovators in that book-and…


Book cover of Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World

Carrie Firestone Author Of The First Rule of Climate Club

From my list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm co-founder of a grassroots social justice, civic engagement, and service organization called ForwardCT, which I started with my friend and current state representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw with the intention of mobilizing community-centered action. Our work centers on these four pillars: Connect, Inform, Serve, and Lead. Those pillars guide my work as chair of my town’s Clean Energy Commission, as teacher and facilitator of workshops and events, and as an author of books for young people. I'm drawn to the powerful use of storytelling as a tool for starting conversations, stirring up “good trouble,” and inspiring activism. Read a book, approach your library or town to host a community conversation, leave with actionable takeaways, repeat!

Carrie's book list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations

Carrie Firestone Why did Carrie love this book?

Youth climate activist Zahra Biabani has tapped into something many climate activists have yet to learn. Doom doesn’t work. It causes people to retreat into their vices (or under their covers) and, in many cases, it paralyzes entire fledgling movements.

My own work at the community level reflects what Biabani has shared in her well-organized book of carefully-curated hope bombs – hopeful stories inspire positive bursts of brain chemicals, which motivate action. She provides clear examples of climate-centered successes from around the world, and ends with “what you can do.”

This would be a fantastic discussion book for climate clubs of all ages, municipal or non-profit environmental groups, and larger climate-centered conferences.

By Zahra Biabani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Climate Optimism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Guide on Climate Optimism and Environmental Sustainability

Zahra Biabani, a climate activist focused on hope and action, wrote this book to help readers learn why we need to and how we can stay optimistic in the face of the climate crisis. People are doing good things for our planet all over the world.... it's time we highlight it!

Change the way you think about the future. The fate of humanity can be daunting, but we don't need to live in that space. First, we need to change our attitude in order to implement nature based solutions that help mitigate…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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