You know me and my book lists… I love reading me some feminist books! And I actually LOVE reading feminist books for kids too. If you’re new here, you should know that I’m a substitute teacher by day. It makes me so happy when I go to work at a school and the book I get to read the kids is one with excellent feminist lessons. What a perfect way to open up the conversation with kids!
So I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite feminist books for kids here so that you can help teach feminism to the kids in your life. If you have a young feminist in your life, or a young child who might love a new book, take your pick from the list below. I’ve organized them by age recommendation according a Buzzfeed’s article that happened to have a lot of them. Some of them weren’t on their list, but I made a guess still.
1. Matilda by Roald Dahl (Ages 8-12)
This is one of my favourites, and was when I was little too. Matilda is so creative, and believes in herself when others do. She stands up for what she believes in and in the midst of bigotry she thinks for herself. She is such an inspiration for young kids everywhere, no matter what gender.
2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (Ages 0-4)
Gotta have some Robert Munsch in here! This is one book I had never heard of until I read it to some kids at a school. When Prince Ronald gets kidnapped by a big scary dragon, Princess Elizabeth must save him! And when he’s unimpressed by her “unprincesslike” mannerisms, she does something awesome — she dumps him!
3. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Ages 3-6)
Okay first of all, I love the name of this book and the character Aunt Rose — she’s Rosie the Riveter! Brilliant. The story is about her desire to fly and making that happen… and what happens when failure is the result.
4. Not All Princesses Dress In Pink by Jane Yolen & Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple (Ages 3-6)
Young girls need to hear it: not all princesses look the same or act the same. This book discusses diversity, acceptance, and possibility. Much needed these days!
5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Ages 3-7)
My sister and I used to love the Madeline cartoon… I can still hear the tune, “I’m Madeline, I’m Madeline,” in my head when I read the name! In this story, the first of the series, Madeline sets out to have her appendix removed. Brave girl, right? Nothing scares her, not even a big scary hospital… or even a tiger.
6. Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Ages 4-7)
This story is based on Jane Goodall’s story of dedicating her life to work in a field where women were not commonly accepted, and not letting anyone stop her.
7. Stagecoach Sal by Deborah Hopkinson (Ages 4-7)
Sal is one gutsy lady, catching fish with her bare hands and riding a bronco all day. Then she meets the robber Poetic Pete, and she proves herself a worthy match for the criminal.
8. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea by Pamela Duncan Edwards (Ages 4-8)
This is a cute twist on the well-known story The Princess and the Pea, and it points out how silly it is. Prince Proudfoot wants to test the penniless Pigtoria’s worthiness by seeing if she can notice a pea under pillow – and she ain’t got no time for that! She realizes she could never be with someone so picky, and knows there are other pigs out there for her – even ones with pizza!
9. Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunell & Julie Novak (Ages 4-8)
This isn’t a storybook, but it’s a coloring book for kids that subverts gender stereotypes. Awesome!
10. Night of the Five Aunties by Mesa Somer (Ages 5-9)
Five aunties pay a visit to Alfie and Annie’s home and all sorts of silly events occur. Then there is a special announcement and the female-centric family has a wonderful celebration.
11. The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke (Ages 5-8)
I used to love Cornelia Funke growing up. She wrote inspiring, strong female characters in her stories. This story features a Princes Violetta who wants to be strong and courageous just like her brothers. She won’t let the fact that she’s not a boy stop her from becoming a knight, practicing and teaching herself how to be one. But sometimes the fight isn’t between two people, and instead it’s within.
12. The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leséa Newman
Roger is a young boy who loves to describe everything around him — and loves to call everything fabulous! This book encourages young children to be whoever they want to be, in a wonderful way.
13. Piggy Book by Anthony Browne
Mrs. Piggot is the only woman in her family, with her sons and husbands. All of them take her for granted as she keeps the house — cooking, cleaning, ironing, doing the laundry, and more… all before she goes to work! This is a great book to teach kids about stereotypes and gender roles especially at home.
14. Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman (Ages 8-12)
This book is about a young girl who is convinced there are wolves in her home’s walls. Lucy has to convince her family that she’s right, and then she has to save her favourite toy. Neil Gaiman is an amazing storyteller, and this story is a beautiful one about again believing in yourself, facing your fears and slowly conquering them.
15. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (Ages 8-12)
I never read this book, but I watched the show as a kid and I have to say I LOVED it. Pippi does what she wants, and is not afraid to be her very quirky self. She’s amazing! She live by herself, causes trouble, and is full of energy. She’s a character that will teach the little ones in your life that they can do whatever they want to if they believe they can.
16. Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (Ages 8-12)
Before I even get into this book, I just have to say I wish I’d found something like this when I was a kid! When I started admitting I liked sci-fi I got made fun of and felt really embarrassed and it sucked. There’s a stereotype around sci-fi in the first place, and it’s worse for girls. This is book is awesome for being about sci-fi and having a girl be the main character!
Zita has to save her best friend from aliens, and in the process she becomes an intergalactic superhero. She’s not afraid of anything!
17. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede (Ages 10+)
This is a series of four books featuring Cimorene, a princess who does not give a single crap about being proper. The books follow her adventures with scary wizards, magic, and dragons as she makes her journey of self-discovery.
What was your favourite book when you were a child? Share in the comments section below!
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