If you’re anything like I am, your first instinct when it comes to gift-giving will be books. There’s something immensely personal and wonderful about sharing a story and an experience with someone you love. When it comes to children, though? It’s difficult. How do you think outside the classics, how do you find something that will impact young kids and impart powerful lessons? There are certainly many ways to do that, and you might have your own. Still, if you’re as interested as I am in helping little girls grow up to be strong and independent, and helping little boys grow up to view women as such, this very short list of seven feminist kids books to gift to the child in your life.
7. The Princess In Black Series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
This series is a fun, action-packed story about a young princess Magnolia who likes beautiful dresses and girly attire… as well as dressing in all-black for her ninja missions. It’s the super hero that feminine girls need which explores all the ways in which someone can be feminine, strong, sweet, independent and kind all at once without any contradiction.
6. The Feminist Baby Series by Loryn Brantz
These books are short, absolutely hilarious, heartwarming, and wonderful. They tell the tale of a baby girl who refuses to do what she is told and instead stands up for her individuality. Loryn Brantz’ books are delightfully clever and wonderfully fun, and they deliver a simple and important message about equality and strong women, all through the genuinely funny antics of her brash and bold protagonist.
5. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
A simple but refreshing role reversal tale where the princess saves her prince wearing the only attire on hand: a paper bag. It’s funny, wonderful, and has a bit of a twist which leaves little girls knowing better than to attach their worth on the assessment of unappreciative men. This one is a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason.
4. Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
By the absolutely incredible Malala Youdafzai, winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace prize and youngest retainer of that title, this gorgeous, touching story talks about her fight for the education of pakistani girls and women. It’s a powerful, touching, inspirational book that teaches children about equal rights to education and the power of standing up for what is right despite great adversity.
3. Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History by Vashti Harrison
Vashti Harrison’s book teaches children about the incredible achievements of 40 wonderful black women who have changed the world. It is gorgeously illustrated, wonderfully written, and an absolutely wonderful source of inspiration for the young black girls of today to learn about those brave women who came before them, and of the immense potential that they themselves have for making the world a better place. And you might also want to give a look at her equally wonderful book: Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around The World
This short picture book is sweet, beautifully written, and absolutely inspirational. Rosie Revere is a young girl who dreams of being an engineer, but after a few failures, believes she might never never make it – until her great aunt, an engineer herself, teaches her a lesson about the beauty of failures, and helps Rosie feel proud and excited by her accomplishments even when they don’t function perfectly on the first few tries. It’s a story of the success of a young girl in a STEM field, who faces many failures before realizing her own cleverness and strength, and it’s a story about accepting failures as stepping stones to success instead of harsh challenges. If anyone is interested: there exists a free reading of it on youtube which is absolutely delightful! Also check out her other equally brilliant feminist STEM book: Ada Twist, Scientist
1. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls volumes 1 & 2 by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
These books are, as an employee in a bookstore, my absolute favourites to recommend for girls between the ages of 2 and around 6 or 7. They are non-fiction books detailing the incredible achievements of women throughout history. Every page is short, simple, attention-grabbing and absolutely inspiring (even to the adults in the room). They are choc-full of powerful role-models for young girls to aspire to be: free-thinkers, scientists, artists, athletes, writers, etc. Of all sorts of different backgrounds and ethnicities. The very goal of these books is to teach young girls about their potential, to give the real life superheroes that young boys receive as soon as they so much as crack open a history book.
Happy reads my friends and future feminists!