As March marks both Women’s History month and International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of our favourite reads which feature strong and inspirational female lead characters. Perfect for any young readers looking for compelling stories to move and engage them.
The Breadwinner is the bestselling story about Parvana, a girl living in war-torn Afghanistan, who must disguise herself as a boy to save her mother and sisters from starvation. This honest, heart-breaking, and inspiring story is written by Deborah Ellis – a feminist and anti-war activist who spent time with Afghan refugees, recording and learning about their stories, before creating The Breadwinner collection of books.
The newest title in the series, One More Mountain, is set in contemporary Afghanistan in 2021. These days, Parvana runs a school for girls, but everything changes in an instant and Parvana and Shauzia must flee to escape the new dangers of an old enemy, whilst continuing to support those in danger. Deborah Ellis is donating all her royalties from One More Mountain to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
Emmy Levels Up, written by Helen Harvey, explores themes of online bullying and gaming. Online, Emmy is a superstar gamer with lots of fans who like to watch her videos, but in real life, she is friendless and bullied at school. Can Emmy join forces with some new friends, and beat the bullies? This title is perfect for young readers who enjoy reading books by Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy.
Suitable for age 8–12.
In The Closest Thing to Flying, when Semira discovers a diary written by Hen, a girl living over 100 years ago in 1891, she finds the friend she has been desperately seeking. A friend who brings not just comfort, but inspiration to be brave, to fight for her place in the world, and maybe even to uncover the secrets of her own past. This thought-provoking story is written by Gill Lewis.
Lightning Strike by Carnegie Medal winning author Tanya Landman, brings to life the match girl strike of 1888 and follows factory worker Eliza. Eliza is angry about the harsh working conditions at the factory, and that her family never seems to have enough. She stands up for what she believes in and speaks out, and the flame of rebellion at the factory is lit. But what next? Can one girl really inspire an uprising that will change her world?