Inspirational Role Models Books for Kids & 3 Book GIVEAWAY

Most of these books are picture book biographies but not all these books are. Yet, they still are inspirational showing that the human spirit can rise above adversity. I’m giving away of three of these books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

Inspirational Role Models Picture Books

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donnal Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter

William Key was born into slavery in 1833 but his masters allowed him to be educated along with their children. He had a special talent in caring for injuries and illnesses of both animals and people. After the Civil War, he was a free man and set up a veterinarian clinic where he sold a medicine he formulated. He became famous for a horse that he raised from a sickly colt and taught to read. It was through kindness that his horse, Jim Key, responded, proving that animals were intelligent, capable of emotions, and willing to learn if treated well. Together, Doc Key and his horse helped to raise funds for humane organizations including the ASPCA. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddleley

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Did you know that Supreme Court justices wrote:

The nature and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.

Woman has always been dependent upon man.

Ruth really, really disagreed with this, and she happened to be one of the few law professors in the country so she went to court to fight for equal treatment of women. In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Jewish woman justice on the Supreme Court. She never forgot the discrimination she experienced as a child, and was and continues to be a voice for equality and justice. RBG is high on my list as a role model for girls, and indeed, anyone who pursues justice for all. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure by Jennifer Thermes

Charles Darwin’s teachers didn’t think he was very smart; he much preferred to be outside exploring. After graduating in 1831 at ages 22, he set sail on the HMS Beagle as the naturalist and decided to write about everything that he saw. Their mission was to take map measurement of South America. It was on this four year trip that he landed on the Galapagos Islands. Darwin’s observations of landforms, fossils, creatures, and their interactions led to his theories of evolution. He is a role model to encourage everyone to follow their curiosity. His fascination with the natural world and his strong work ethic were evident as a young child, and served as the foundation for the important work he went on to do in the field of biology. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

For all of us who love children’s books, we have John Newbery to thank! Before 1726 when he created books for kids, children read religious texts, fables, manuals and preachy poems. He was the first to think that reading should be a treat for children and created novels for children, children’s magazines, and picture books. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Pair this book with Balderdash! above. It also pairs nicely with Step Right Up. It’s not a biography, but this picture book also celebrates love of reading, knowledge, books, and remembering. Fleeing a war, a family brings a single treasured book with them. From father to son, they keep the book safe. When Peter, the son, is grown up, he is able to finally retrieve the book safely and return it to its rightful spot. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr by Lucie Papineau and Caroline Hamel

In 1877, Louis Cyr and his sixteen siblings and parents moved from Quebec, Canada to Lowell, Massachusetts to work in the textile mills. It was here that he learned the professional sport of weight lifting. After he beat the strongest man in Canada, David Michaud, Louis joined the circus as the strong man, setting records that still stand today. Rising from poverty in a small village in Quebec, Louis rose to become the undisputed strongest man in the world. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

In the Time of the Drums by Kim L. Siegelson, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

During enslaved tines in the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina, this oral folk story was passed down through generations of African-Americans. It’s the story of the Gullah people, brought from Angola, that chose death over slavery, and walked through the water to a spiritual release to their homeland. In this book, Mentu is raised by his grandmother Twi, who knew of a kind of powerful root magic. When the Ibo people arrived by slave ship, Twi transforms into her younger self and leads them under the water to “home.” This book inspires strength during times of adversity. The scratchboard illustrations by Brian Pinkney illuminate this story and give it a timeless quality. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Awesome Women Who Changed History: Paper Dolls illustrated by Carol Del Angel

These awesome women who changed history are in the form of paper dolls and include: Ruth Bader Ginsberg (see I Dissent! above), Sally Ride, Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall, Frida Kahlo, and Joan of Arc. The book includes short biographies of each of these awesome female role models who changed history. [paper doll book, ages 4 and up]

A Rocky Start by Anthony Tucker, illustrated by Breanne “Cari” Carlson

From a childhood in East Harlem, to a teacher in the Bronx, author Anthony Tucker’s life inspires those who don’t start off in life with educational successes but rise to accomplish something incredible: he helps others find their passion. This book is for those who feel that they never see themselves represented in books. It’s an inspiration that if you don’t see what you want, go ahead and make it yourself. [picture book, ages 5 and up]


I’m giving away The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr, Awesome Women Who Changed History Paper Dolls, and The Treasure Box. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below and note in the comments section your first, second, and third choice. I can only ship to U.S. addresses due to the high cost of shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Inspirational Role Models Books for Kids & 3 Book GIVEAWAY

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. These sound amazing! I just added quite a few of them to our reading lists. Pinned.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Art Project #99– Metal StampingMy Profile

  2. John Smith

    “What are your kids’ favorite inspirational books?” Looking at this page, the Charles Darwin book looks very beautiful!

  3. Alyssa Annico

    Recently read ‘I Dissent’ and loved it!

  4. Elisabeth

    I would to love to read I Dissent with my daughter, such an inspirational book.

  5. Olivia

    1. The Treasure Box
    2. Awesome Women Who Changed History
    3. The Strongest Man in the World

  6. SJ

    Thank you for the Giveaway!

  7. I love I, Dissent so much!! It is such a powerful book. And Step Right Up is very moving. Lots of great choices here, Mia. Balderdash! was so well done too & I enjoyed the Darwin book as well.

  8. Jennifer Oliger

    My fourth-graders love the Who Was? series because they can learn about their favorite authors, leaders, and sports figures and be inspired by their lives.

  9. Great choices! I’ve just purchased The Treasure Box, and it is a wonderful story.
    Patricia Nozell recently posted…PPBF – Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat RefugeesMy Profile

  10. Emma loves “The Innovators”, although it wasn’t written for kids.
    maryanne recently posted…How To Help Kids Put Kindness FirstMy Profile

  11. Barbara McEwen

    I really loved reading On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein with my son. We grabbed it from the library but it is definitely one worth buying.

  12. Kristen Picone

    Thank you so much for sharing these titles. A few I already own and the others I can’t wait to own! My order of preference would be: The Treasure Box, The Strongest Man in the World, & Awesome Women…but I’d be thrilled to win any one of them!

  13. Patricia O'Neill

    We read about Mala last year and many other powerful women. The girls learned about how lucky they are to live in a country that gives everyone an education.

  14. kimiko

    treasure box…really interesting…thank you for sharing amazing event!!

  15. Jana Eschner

    This is a great list of books! Thanks for sharing!

  16. What a list! I will have to look into these books! 🙂
    Erik Weibel recently posted…Blog Tour! Beach Party Surf Monkey by Chris GrabensteinMy Profile

  17. Bianca Munoz

    My kids and my family love reading about the Civil Rights who were inspirational in their own rights. Thank you!

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