Courageous Girls in Music: Books for Women’s History Month

This Women’s History Month, be inspired by girls from history who let their voice be heard through music! Here are five books for young readers that will let you share the adventures of amazing women from the world of music. 

For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart 

For the Love of Music

By Elizabeth Rusch 
Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher 

Maria Anna Mozart was a pianist, a singer, and a composer who sang and played for kings and emperors all over Europe with her little brother Wolfgang Amadeus. Even when her family cared more about her brother’s career, more than hers–because she was a girl–she still found ways to live out her love of music. The author of this book, Elizabeth Rusch, lives right here in Portland, Oregon, the home of ICAN! 

Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso

By Susanna Reich 

Clara Wieck Schumann was a brilliant pianist who started playing concerts and writing music when she was just a little girl. Despite a stressful childhood and a star-crossed love, she was known throughout her life for pouring her heart into expressing herself through music. This biography tells the story of her life with real paintings, drawings, photos and letters from her lifetime. 

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln 

By Margarita Engle 
Illustrated by Raphael Lopéz 

This beautiful picture book follows a piano prodigy from Venezuela, Teresa Carreño, who grew up to be one of the most famous pianists in the world! Teresa was only a little girl when her family emigrated to the United States, but by the time she was ten, this brave and talented girl was playing the piano at the White House for President Abraham Lincoln. 

Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-Ša, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist 

Red Bird Sings

By Gina Capaldi and Q.L. Pearce 
Illustrations by Gina Capaldi 

Zitkala-Ša was a Sioux Native American girl who became a violinist, composer, and writer who used music and words to share her culture’s stories. This book tells the story of Zitkala-Ša’s lonely life in a boarding school away from her home and culture, and how she became an activist for the rights of Native Americans. 

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

By Pam Muñoz Ryan 
Illustrated by Brian Selznick 

This book tells the story of Marian Anderson, a little girl from Philadelphia who had such a lovely voice that her friends and family raised the money for her to study opera. She became a famous singer in Europe, but struggled with racial discrimination in America. When a performance hall canceled her recital because she was Black, Marian Anderson sang a recital on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an audience of more than 75,000 people, and she forever changed the world of classical music.