It’s Barbie’s World and We’re All Just Living in It: 5 Books to Get You Ready for ‘Barbie’

Posted on July 14, 2023

by Franco V

Barbie is about to hit theaters, and if you’re looking to learn about the history of this cultural icon, here are the books to read. Strap in, it’s about to get really pink in here.

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone.

Learn about Mattel Toys and the background behind Barbie’s concept and development, how it was a solution for girls who wanted to imagine adult roles rather than just play mother, and details about Barbie inventor Ruth Handler.

Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women by Renee Engeln.

Women face a bewildering set of contradictions when it comes to beauty. In Beauty Sick, Dr. Renee Engeln, whose TEDx talk on beauty sickness reveals the shocking consequences of our obsession with girls’ appearance on their emotional and physical health and their wallets and ambitions.

Dressing Barbie by Carol Spencer

A legendary fashion designer for Barbie shares the story of her adventures working behind-the-scenes at Mattel, and spotlights the creations that transformed the world’s most famous doll into a style icon in this beautifully designed book.

Barbie Forever: Her Inspiration, History, and Legacy by Robin Gerber

Barbie Forever: Her Inspiration, History, and Legacy presents a detailed, fully authorized portrait of this beloved doll through all-new interviews, original sketches, vintage photos, advertisements, and much more. A double-sided foldout timeline showcases important moments in Barbie history. Explore how the doll came to be, what it takes to create one of her many looks, and how her legacy continues to influence the world.

Barbie: The Icon by Massimiliano Capella with a contribution by Caroline Corbetta 

Since her first appearance in 1959, Barbie is and has been a trendsetter, global icon, and pop culture mainstay. Barbie has captured the imaginations of people across the globe. This definitive collection of everything Barbie celebrates the impact Barbie has had on popular and high culture for three generations in every arena from style to fashion to careers.

Summaries provided via the Library’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.