Who’s your hero? Celebrating Women’s History Month

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

My mom is my biggest hero. From supporting me (most of the time) to always being there to talk when something was on my mind, my mom has shaped me into who I am today. She is caring, strong, and everything I could ever ask for in a mother. Although I try to let my mom know how much she means to me whenever possible, this month is especially important.

March is Women’s History Month. It serves as a time to reflect on the influential women throughout history and their tremendous impacts on our lives, which continue to be felt today. Through the magic of movies, television, and writing, we can see and hear their stories over and over, inspiring the next generation of women. And through the power of Learnalytics, we have the unique ability to see what students are reading and taking quizzes on in Renaissance Accelerated Reader® and Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360®, giving us a window into the stories inspiring students nationwide.

Below are just a few of the most popular books on inspirational women that are popular with K–12 students:

1. Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen – Marissa Moss

Jackie Mitchell’s father told her she could be good at anything if she worked hard enough. For Jackie, that was baseball. Marissa Moss tells the true story of Jackie Mitchell, the girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back-to-back in front of a stunned Tennessee crowd. This is a great read for students who are interested in sports!

2. Grace for President – Kelly DiPucchio & LeUyen Pham

“Where are the girls?”

When Grace finds out there has never been a female U.S. president, she immediately declares that she’ll be the first. To kickoff her political career, Grace enters her school’s mock election, which is a close, tough race. Appealing to all grades, Grace for President serves as a basic introduction to politics and the electoral college, and it may even inspire a future politician in your classroom!

3. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving – Laurie Halse Anderson

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Turkey? Stuffing? Green beans? All of the above? Either way, you might want to thank Sarah Josepha Hale. Sarah famously petitioned to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States during the 1800s and continuously fought for years to make it a national holiday, finally persuading President Lincoln in 1863. Your students will get a kick out of this relatively unknown, yet important, part of history.

+ Bonus: Did you know Sarah was also a strong supporter of education for women? During her life, she encouraged women to enter the teaching and medical fields.

4. The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis

When the Taliban hauled away Parvana’s father, her family was shaken. Parvana decided to disguise herself as a boy and become the breadwinner for her mother and younger siblings. Set in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s early regime, The Breadwinner reveals the tough realities for women. As a possible introduction to the Middle East, mid- and upper-grade students will pick up on the stark differences from their lives.

5. Who Was Helen Keller? – Gare Thompson

Helen Keller was born blind and deaf, but that didn’t stop her. With the help of a wonderful teacher, Helen learned to read, write, and do so much more. Serving as a great introduction to Helen Keller, Who Was Helen Keller showcases Helen’s determination and what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it. Students will enjoy reading Helen’s story with this strong entry in the Who Was… series.

Strong women are all around us. Throughout history, a profound number of women have made our lives better today. Whether they’re someone close to us or famous, March is a time to reflect on the achievements of women worldwide and aim for a better future.

Interested in more ideas for Women’s History Month? Check out some of the top books students are reading nationwide in this year’s What Kids Are Reading report.

How are you celebrating Women’s History Month with your students? Who is your hero? Did we miss any books that are popular with your students this time of year? Let us know in the comments!

Need more inspiration for your classroom? Download our latest eBook highlighting key women in mathematics!

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Rita Platt says:

    Every single Deborah Ellis book has strong female characters. I have so many heroes. One, that I want to highlight is Harriet Tubman. She was a warrior for human rights and a model of feminist action.

  2. Jennifer says:

    My 4th grade teacher was my hero! I like to encourage my students to learn more about the First Ladies.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      I love that, Jennifer! What about your fourth-grade teacher made them your hero?

  3. Mr. Marshall says:

    My hero is Rosa Parks! She stood up for what she believed in.

    • Cynthia says:

      I agree. My hero is Rosa Parks for taking a stand for what she believed in with out fear of dying.

  4. Virginia Travis says:

    Harriet Tubman is my hero because of the bravery she showed risking her life to save others!

  5. Jamye Jaco says:

    My mom was my hero! She always put her kids first.

  6. S.Bellomo says:

    It is important for students to know that all things are possible. The more students read about personal drive, empowerment and success, it can lead to their own personal goals and success as well.

  7. Ami K. Edwards says:

    Amazing Grace is a great story for younger students!

  8. David Keech says:

    I mention in my math classes that my parents are my heroes. Both worked hard and used math in ways I marveled at, but weren´t mathematicians. They were problem solvers. We talk about strong female role models on a regular bases in my math classes.

  9. Carly says:

    Hard to narrow to one phenomenal shero. 1st, there’s my personal amazing mother shero. 2nd, Michelle Obama comes to mind as representing strength, caring, and grace. In literature, Maya Angelou who wrote the Phenomenal Woman. “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size… …I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

  10. Dvawn Maza says:

    I’m not celebrating it, but my mom and my grandmother are my heroes.

  11. Fatima Peters says:

    My mom is my hero! She has always been my biggest supporter! My mom has been an amazing role model and has changed so many lives for the better!

  12. Diane Young says:

    My mother was and is my hero! She ran our home like a champ. She was always at my school volunteering. She gives of herself more than anyone I know. I hope to be half the woman she is.

  13. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    I coach rugby and push for more girls to join every year. We start with an elementary flag rugby team and watch videos of the women’s Olympics and then expand it to women athletes who were trailblazers for their respective sports. The woman element intrigues the girls and the sports elements attract the boys.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      That is awesome, Lloyd. I always wanted to play rugby, but there were never any teams around the area! Who are some of the women athletes that you like to share with your students?

  14. Nicole Erwin says:

    All the Malala books – her memoir and the picture books about her

  15. Kimberly Bell says:

    A retired teacher that I met at church is my hero. She was obviously the kind of teacher I want to be remembered as and now as a retired educator, she mentors others. I’ve encouraged my students to read about First Ladies, famous African American women, and women athletes who’ve made a name for themselves. I feel like students can relate to these women.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      Thank you for sharing, Kimberly. A great teacher can make a tremendous impact on our lives. What made them your hero?

  16. Emily Carlisi says:

    Can never decide if I like Helen Keller or Ann Sullivan!! (Nope…not celebrating with kids.)

  17. Kim says:

    My mom is my hero!

  18. P R says:

    My mother is my #1 hero. She kept our family going even through my father’s illness which took him away from us when we were children. She was the strength of the family.
    A historical female figure that inspires me is Amelia Earhart. She was a nurse who looked after soldiers, became the first woman to cross the Atlantic, and was a writer of articles about aviation for a local Boston newspaper. She was determined and strong.

  19. Christina says:

    My mom who is also a teacher is my hero! At this time of year the kiddos love books about Ruby Bridges and Mrs.Obama

  20. Liana Ferrer says:

    My grandmother was my hero!

  21. Melissa Robles says:

    Michelle Obama

    • Roxane Johnigan says:

      Amen to that. I think we have only seen the tip of what she did while in the White House and with all the criticism, she is absolutely a hero.

  22. Sheila Shaffer says:

    My mother is my hero! In the early 50s, she broke with societal norms; she and my father lived together for 6 months before marrying. Then when they divorced when I was young, she went back to work as the breadwinner in the family. To make sure the same type of thing didn’t happen to her 3 daughters, when we were growing up and expressed an interest in any occupation, she always said “After you finish college,….”

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      Your mother is a hero, indeed. Thank you for sharing, Sheila.

  23. Lisa Capon says:

    My 106 year old grandmother is my hero!

  24. My mom is my hero. She has always been. Strong role model for me, as well as having a demanding leadership career and also being involved and leading causes that she cares about in our community.
    In my language arts classroom we do cold read passages during the month on famous American women. Going over them is a great segue into the changes in women’s rights and roles in our country’s history.

  25. Tom Beauchamp says:

    Great books to help our young ladies find their inner can-do!

  26. Margaret Payne says:

    My sister is my hero. She is the head of the disabilities council of Alabama. She works for a non-profit medical facility where they provide health care for people who work but have no medical insurance. Her husband died of cancer caused by agent orange cancer and her son died from complications related from a car accident that happened when he was eight years old. He was a quadriplegic patient and was totally dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Lillian became his care giver and went through a long period where she had to care for him with no nursing help at all.
    She has persevered and is such a strong, confident woman with a loving, caring heart. She practically raised me when I was growing up, taking me to church, to buy school clothes and supplies, camping, traveling, and even sometimes on her dates! So she has always definitely my hero.

  27. Connie says:

    My grandmother was my hero! She loved everyone and showed everyone love. She did not have a mean bone in her body. Grandma welcomed everyone into her home and life. And she gave the best hugs ever! Love and miss her.

  28. Heidi says:

    My parents are my heroes. They were and are amazing roles models. I only hope I can be as wonderful a role model to my daughter as they were for me.

  29. Renee Graham says:

    My grandmother was my hero. She was the hardest working woman I knew and she never worked outside the home. I stayed with her from age 2 to 5, when I went to kindergarden.

  30. Julie says:

    My parents are my heroes, but especially my dad. He had to work on the family farm as a teenager while going to school.

  31. Darlene Christianson says:

    My mom is my hero. She is always inspiring and supportive. She never judges and is always smiling. She always knows the right thing to say to me to cheer me up or make me feel better!

  32. Roxanne says:

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my hero! I love to read Grace for President with my class, as well as excerpts from Malala’s autobiography.

  33. Maria says:

    My mom is my hero. She only went to school up to 3rd grade because her parents took her out of school. She was told she had to work to help support the family because she was the eldest. Mom said the day she was taken out of school was one of the saddest days of her life because she loved to learn. Nonetheless, my mom continued to learn on her own by reading. You can find books on a variety of subjects in almost every room in her house. She is a great supporter of education. I believe that’s why I’m an educator today.

  34. Meredith Sanders says:

    My mom was my hero. She was an amazing teacher. I lost her to brain cancer when I was 12. She was loving, caring, dependable, funny, honest, and I could keep going… She inspired me to be a teacher.

  35. Francine Canarios says:

    Like many of us, my mother was my hero. She was a single mother who managed a family working as a waitress. She always wanted to go to college, but knew she couldn’t until her kids were grown. When I was 18 and moved out, she immediately enrolled in college. On her 40th birthday she received her Bachelor’s degree. She is my inspiration.

  36. Kim says:

    One of the greatest female leaders we have seen is Mother Teresa. Her patience, her peaceful attitude in the presence of such despair, her vision of hope for greater things, and her desire to help everyone, has made her a true leader.

  37. Shannon Kovarik says:

    My mom is my hero for sure. From raising 3 girls while my dad worked to surviving cancer and now working toward finding a cure! I’m so proud of her.

  38. Marianne Gaskins says:

    There are so many women that can be considered heroes: Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sally Ride, Ruby Bridges, … I really haven’t focused on women’s history this month. Most of my displays are spring or St. Patrick’s day related.

  39. Janet Cefali says:

    My mom is my hero. She had many hardships in her life but you would never know it if you met her. She is always happy and smiling and ready to do anything for someone who may need help. She always amazes me!