8 Books About Incredible Women Who Changed History

This year for Women’s History Month, add these inspiring nonfiction stories about incredible women to the top of your TBR pile. The women featured in these books have lived noteworthy lives and have all changed the world in a significant way. These women embody feminism, strength, power, innovation, ingenuity, resilience, and so much more. And just like every woman’s life can be important for different reasons, every story on this list is inspiring in different ways. All of them make for incredible reads, and a perfect way to celebrate and honor women’s accomplishments this month (and every month).



Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, Malala refused to be silent and spoke out for her right—and every girl’s right—to an education. Her fight took her from Pakistan to the United Nations, and at 16, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable story of Malala Yousafzai, told in her own words.


In her memoir Every Day is a Gift, Illinois senator and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth tells readers the story of her remarkable life. In November of 2004, Duckworth was stationed in Iraq when an Iraqi RPG blew through the cockpit of her U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter, destroying both of her legs. Coming that close to death was an eye-opening experience for Duckworth, and she now looks at every day as a gift. With fresh and thankful eyes, Duckworth looks back at her life growing up the biracial daughter of an American father and a Thai-Chinese mother, facing discrimination and poverty, experiencing the horrors of war, and growing more resilient with each challenge.


You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey is a humorous memoir written by Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey Lamar. Amber lives in New York, where everyone is, as she puts it “stark raving normal,” but her sister Lacey still lives in their home state of Nebraska, and as the title suggests, you’ll never believe what happened to Lacey. Together, the two share their stories and experiences as only two sisters can, tackling heavy topics like racism with the perfect balance of levity and gravity.


In the 1940s and ’50s, the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory recruited an elite group of young women—known as human computers—who were able to calculate velocities and plot trajectories using only pencil, paper, and their mathematically-inclined brains. These women shaped rocket design and space exploration, and for the first time, their stories are being told in Rise of the Rocket Girls. 


Whether you know her as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, as a host of SNL’s “Weekend Update,” or as calculus teacher Ms. Norbury in Mean Girls, you know Tina Fey. But before Tina Fey was any of those other things, she was an awkward young girl with big dreams. Tina Fey’s humorous memoir in essays Bossypants is the comedian’s journey from childhood to stardom, and Fey’s story comes with a very important message: you’re no one until someone calls you “bossy.”


Harriet Tubman: the Road to Freedom is the definitive biography the courageous woman celebrated for her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Slaveholders saw Harriet Tubman as a thief. Abolitionists saw her as a prophet. But who was the real Harriet Tubman? Historian Catherine Clinton shares the compelling and impeccably researched story of this remarkable woman who changed the world.


If you’re looking for an inspiring book for kids to help get them fired up about change and social justice, pick up Aileen Weintraub’s We Got Game! This book looks at the story of 35 inspiring female athletes who broke records and literally changed the game. These women prove that girls are capable of doing anything!


Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler are five incredible women who revolutionized modern art in the 1940s and ’50s. Ninth Street Women is the true story of the amazing works of art and the unparalleled fearlessness of these women who entered the male-dominated world of 20th century abstract painting and made it their own.