If you’ve ever got halfway through a bedtime story and just wished for once the princess could rescue herself instead of rushing into an ill-advised marriage – then this list of children’s books is for you.
They all feature strong female characters who are intelligent, determined and won’t let the fact that they’re a girl stop them from doing anything – whether it’s outsmarting a dragon or becoming a noted primatologist.
Although these feminist books are great for making girls feel like anything is possible, it’s also important that boys give them a read too – the sooner they’re able to identify with girls, the more likely they are to understand why sexism is so wrong when they grow up.
Katy and The Big Snow
Katy and The Big Snow is an incredibly detailed board book all about Katy – a red crawler tractor. Katy “was very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things”. A great book to read to little girls and boys alike.
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink teaches the message that not all girls have to play with dolls and wear pink dresses – they can jump in mud puddles in their overalls, climb trees and play sports.
Violet the Pilot
Violet the Pilot‘s homemade flying machine takes her to the rescue of a Boy Scout troop in trouble.
Madeline might be small but she’s tough and brave – showing young readers that the difference between the sexes isn’t that great.
Children love playing dress up, but the girl in Every-Day Dress-Up ditches her princess get-up in favour of costumes inspired by great women in history from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to queen of jazz Ella Fitzgerald.
The Paperbag Princess
The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch reverses the typical fairytale stereotype – so instead it’s the go-getting princess who rescues the prince from the dragon in this definitively feminist storybook originally published in 1980.
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie Revere, Engineer dreams of becoming – you guessed it – a great engineer. She makes amazing inventions but keeps them a secret until her great-great-great aunt Rosie helps her understand that sometimes you’ve got to risk failure before you can find success. Teaches little girls all about following their dreams – no matter how unlikely they seem.
As a renowned humanitarian, conservationist and animal activist, Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most inspiring women. In Me…Jane Patrick McDonnell tells the real story of a young Jane and her childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee – making her incredible story accessible for children.
Matilda by Roald Dahl is a classic that not only teaches that reading is a magic power in itself – but that clever and resilient little girls can achieve practically anything – even the ultimate revenge.
Howl’s Moving Castle
When young Sophie Hatter is cursed by the Witch of the Waste and turned into an old woman – she doesn’t need to be rescued; instead she sets out on an inspiring quest to Howl’s Moving Castle to break her own curse.