Want to dive into some great stories for Women’s History Month in a novel way? Check out these fantastic graphic novels highlighting the struggles and triumphs of women throughout history.
Since 1987, the month of March has been designated in the United States as Women’s History Month. It’s a time to reflect on the contributions women have made to history, culture, and society. International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 of every year, is recognized in many countries around the world as well. Learn about a few women who aren’t household names but should be.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Growing up is an adventure for everyone. Based on her personal experiences during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, author Marjane Satrapi shares her adventure of cultural change through the eyes of a child.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is both humorous and heartbreaking as it illustrates the life of a child forced to grow up more quickly than they should. It also provides a humanizing perspective on a country often in Western news for conflict, terrorism, and other strife.
Almost American Girl
Robin Ha’s illustrated memoir details her experience moving from Seoul, South Korea, to Huntsville, Alabama, when she 14 years old. Almost American Girl shares a relevant perspective of what it’s like to assimilate into a new culture and feel like you don’t quite belong anywhere.
Ha dives deep into racial injustice, language barriers, gender roles, and other issues people face for just being different. The illustrations are beautiful and make you feel more connected to the story, hopefully making you more empathetic along the way.
Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin
Have you ever heard of Claudette Colvin? Most people haven’t, which is why this book is important. Long before Rosa Parks became famous for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Colvin did the exact same thing at 15 years old.
Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin gives an important perspective on the Civil Rights Movement and asks the reader to consider why certain people make the history books while others don’t.
Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide
Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is based on photographer Graciela Iturbide’s career in Mexico, the United States, and beyond. When Iturbide was a young mother, she experienced a terrible tragedy that sent her on a journey, by way of photography, to better understand the world.
While meeting fascinating people and cultures, her career blooms and eventually brings her success and fame. Instead of laying out a straightforward biography, this book pulls together the influences and impressions that were central to Iturbide’s work, which is mainly focused on Mexican culture. The final creation is a vivid and poetic journey through her life.
The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures
This memoir by cartoonist Noelle Stevenson explores her career success and how it mixed with her religious faith and mental health. Whether you’re familiar with Stevenson’s work or not, The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures will resonate with anyone who has ever felt lost and depressed when things seemed to be going well for them on the outside.
It’s the story that no one ever sees finally put into words (and pictures). In the end, the message is heartfelt and full of hope. Stevenson reminds everyone that no matter what your outside influences are, you need to trust in yourself and your abilities to be happy.
Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation
Anne Frank’s famous book gets a different twist with illustrations to bring it to life in a whole new way. It’s perfect for younger readers or anyone who struggled with the format of the original. Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation makes her story even more intimate, if that’s possible.
Without pictures, it is difficult to envision how crowded and uncomfortable it was in the tiny space where Frank and her family were hiding. The illustrations get the message across more pointedly. They also add some creative liberties in addressing how Frank felt in a way that words can’t. It’s a great read for anyone interested in her story.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World details the stories of 30 lesser-known but still remarkable women from history. Each person gets a brief summary of their accomplishments in a fun cartoon comic style that’s easy to follow.
You might recognize a few names here, but most of the women aren’t household names (even though they should be). Readers will also appreciate the diverse array of women represented in this book. You’ll read stories about women who identify with a wide variety of racial ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and disabilities. The diversity is refreshing and much needed today.
Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World
In the same thread as Brazen, this book shares illustrations and stories of 50 women who changed history. Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World features women from all walks of life including politicians, singers, athletes, scientists, and many more.
It will introduce you to new heroines and remind you why you love others with an excellent selection of well-known and lesser-known women. There’s a lot of information and plenty of illustrations given to each subject so you can feel like you really got to know each person. Each story will tug at your heartstrings and remind you how incredible women are and always have been.
Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier
This graphic novel shares the struggles and triumphs of the earliest female astronauts, including Sally Ride and Valentina Tereshkova. Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier is both funny and frustrating as it details the sexism and misogyny many of these women had to face while attempting to achieve their dreams.
The illustrations add to the story by clearly drawing out technical gear and training exercises that would be difficult for many people to understand otherwise. Tying all the stories together is the narrative voice of former U.S. astronaut Mary Cleave, who was interviewed extensively for the book. It’s a great story about the resilience of women who will fight for what they deserve.