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8 children’s books which celebrate strong women

Posted on March 05 2019

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Friday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, a date in the calendar designed to celebrate the achievements of women and challenge gender inequality.

But the books our children read are much more likely to feature a male character being strong, adventurous and brave than a female. Research carried out by the Observer looked at the 100 most popular children’s picture books of 2017 and found a fifth of them featured no female characters at all.

The study also found that boys and men were twice as likely to be leading characters than girls and women.

So how can you redress the balance and make sure your child’s reading material features female characters who are celebrated for a wide variety of talents and not just their beauty?

At The Story Corner, we know little girls are every bit as clever, curious, imaginative, courageous and amazing as little boys so we have put together a list of our favourite children’s books with strong women at the centre.

 

1. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson

Despite hearing scary tales about the big bad mouse from her father, the Gruffalo’s Child sneaks out of the safety of their cave to seek an adventure and find out for herself whether the stories she has been told are true. One of the best things about the Gruffalo’s Child is that it isn’t a book specifically marketed at girls, it simply happens to have a strong female as its leading character.

 

2. Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen 

Billy is a quick-thinking and resourceful girl who uses her big curly hair to store useful things she can use to get herself out of any scrapes she finds herself in. With her sidekick, a monobrowed feline called Fatcat, she comes to the rescue of a whole host of forest animals who the story’s villain, the Beast, is planning to use as ingredients for a gruesome soup.

 

3. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beatson

The protagonist of this bold and humorous story is the smallest warrior in a kingdom of warriors. But Princess Pinecone is fed up of being palmed off with girly presents when all she really wants for her birthday is a strong horse fit for a ferocious Viking warrior. However, things don’t exactly go to plan when she is presented with a teeny tiny pony with a wind problem.

 

4. Zog by Julia Donaldson

Although Zog the dragon takes the leading role in this popular children’s book, it deserves a mention for its wonderful character Princess Pearl. Pearl is fed up of being a princess and all the things that are expected of her and after coming to Zog’s rescue on several occasions, she decides she’d rather live with a load of dragons and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

 

5. Princess Scallywag and the Brave, Brave Knight by Mark Sperring

Feisty Princess Scallywag defies all the stereotypes about princesses and this means no one wants to marry her and live happily ever after. But maybe Princess Scallywag isn’t so keen on marriage either? This clever picture book turns traditional fairytales on their head and sees the kingdom’s queen and a rather unconventional knight working together to scare away the dragon who is terrorising their land.

 

6. Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst

If you want to teach your children about some real-life role models, this beautifully illustrated picture book is a great place to start. Written by a descendant of the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, it is packed full of facts about some of the amazing women who have shaped the society we live in today including Marie Curie, Rosa Parks and Anne Frank. Young readers will also be able to find out about the explorer Amelia Earhart and the author Jane Austen.

 

7. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Ada is full of curiosity about the world around her and is always asking questions like ‘Why do hairs grow inside your nose?’ A keen scientist and imaginative thinker, she is always conducting experiments to find the answers to her questions. And when her house is filled with an unpleasant smell, she makes it her mission to discover the cause.

 

8. The Girl who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

Beatrice Bottomwell is a perfectionist who prides herself on the fact she has never ever made a mistake. Until one day, she makes a rather big mistake in front of everyone. This funny book teaches an important and powerful lesson – that we can all learn from our mistakes and that life is more fun when you put less pressure on yourself.

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