10 Empowering Books to Inspire the Women and Girls In Your Life

A Brooklyn bookseller on her favorite feminist reads.

With Kamala Harris in office, now is the perfect time to read up on empowering women and share that knowledge with the young women in your life (but, actually, there’s never a bad time to empower women).

We asked Kalima Desuze — the owner of Cafe con Libros, a feminist bookstore in Brooklyn — for some of her favorite empowering books for women and girls. 

Desuze founded her storefront in 2017, as a safe space in the community for people to come and discuss and learn about women’s issues. She helped us compile a list of 10 powerful books about feminists and inspiring women that will appeal to women (and men) young and old looking for a little encouragement. With books from Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, and other renowned authors, there is endless inspiration among these books written by women.

Read on to hear why she recommends each of the titles below.

#1 ‘The Truths We Hold’ by Kamala Harris

kamala harris

“I think it’s really important for folks to know who [Harris really] is. I think we get really caught up in what folks represent in their phenotype…We resonate with her look, her physical being. However, she has a very intense and important story about immigrant mentality. And I think that is an important message for young girls, [especially] immigrant young girls and South Asian girls to hear.”

Buy Here – $16

#2 ‘The Double Bind: Women on Ambition’ by Robin Romm

Double Bind

This is to me a really important conversation to have, because so often [to call a woman] ambitious is like the worst thing you could possibly do. It’s like a curse word, right? Like we never, we never question the ambition of a man…And so women are really in this double bind of wanting to be ambitious, but being looked down upon for it.”

Buy Here – $17

#3 ‘Shirley Chisholm is a Verb’ by Veronica Chambers

“On [Shirley Chisholm’s] shoulders is where Kamala Harris stands, because she was the first Black woman to run for president. And so it is really important that not only do we know Kamala’s story, but we know all the ancestral stories that led to her being there.”

Buy Here – $17

#4 ‘Our Time is Now’ by Stacey Abrams

our time is now stacey abrams

“Stacey Abrams is taking the world by storm…She started very young like so many of us. I do not want her to become an object or a character that people can just place all their hopes in. [They] need to know the actual person.” 

Buy Here – $25

#5 ‘What Would Frida Do?’ by Arianna Davis

what would frida do?

“Frida Kahlo is everybody’s feminist…She is the quintessential embodiment of the vulnerability of feminism, the imperfection of feminism, the beauty, the possibility of feminism — and even really the tragedy on some levels. I think that this is the time for that conversation.”

Buy Here – $23

#6 ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber


I love every word in this book. It is a young adult sci-fi, world-building novel that talks about being undocumented, but turns it on its head. [It touches on] patriarchy and sexims, and it’s a beautiful story about resistance, owning who you are, finding your tribe, becoming powerful in that tribe, as well as being vulnerable enough to fall in love.”

Buy Here – $17

#7 ‘Drop the Ball’ by Tiffany Dufu

“Society gives all the emotional and physical labor to women. And so in this book, she says as women, we need to learn to just drop the ball…You can’t do everything at once. We need to be okay with that. And if society is not okay with it, we have to create that sanctuary for ourselves.”

Buy Here: $16

#8 ‘This is What America Looks Like’ by Ilhan Omar

“A very inspiring work. It is an example of what is possible in America. It is an example of what it means to be an immigrant in America from a different country, to come as a refugee and now serve the people in one of the highest offices in our democracy.” 

Buy Here – $25

#9 ‘Freedom Soup’ by Tami Charles

“The reason why I liked this book is because, personally, I feel Haiti is a maligned country in the world. I think that part of it is because they were the first Western country to free themselves from slavery…I just love this tradition of the freedom soup, but also the history of Haiti freeing themselves in that process.”

Buy Here – $15

#10 ‘Sulwe’ by Lupita Nyongo

“It talks about [cultivating] self-love as a dark skinned person. So she has a light-skinned sister and she has darker skin, and it’s a book about self-acceptance and feeling good. Your skin color is only one aspect of your humanity. “

Buy Here – $16

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