23 Feminist Books Every Child Should Read

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1. The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch (Age 0-4)

Annikins

When Prince Ronald gets abducted by a fierce dragon, Princess Elizabeth uses her smarts to rescue him. Weirdly, he’s not impressed with her most unprincesslike behaviour. So she does what any self-respecting woman would do: she dumps him.

2. Katy and The Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton (Age 3-6)

HMH Books For Young Readers

Being a tractor, Katy has lots of important jobs, like helping to build and repair roads. But when a huge blizzard hits Geoppolis, jeopardising her neighbours' lives, there's only one person who can pull on a snowplow and save the day.

3. Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Age 3-6)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Independent Ella Sarah loves choosing her own clothes, but her parents and sister aren’t keen on her flamboyant outfits. Luckily, her friends are as fashion forward as she is and appreciate her unique sense of style.

4. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi E Y Stemple (Age 3-6)

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Some princesses wear pink, definitely, but others wear trainers, climb trees, dance in the rain and get dirty playing sport. And it’s all good, because a sparkly crown really does go with any outfit.

5. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Age 3-6)

Abrams Books for Young Readers

Inventing gadgets and machines makes Rosie the budding engineer happy, so when her great-great-great Aunt Rose (aka Rosie the Riveter) mentions she’d love to fly, Rosie goes about making it happen. What happens next teaches her a valuable life lesson.

6. Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis (Age 3-6)

Dial Books

Donning her signature ladybug costume turns Lulu into Ladybug Girl, a kick-ass superhero who goes on amazing adventurers in her own back garden, all thanks to her imagination. Her trusty sidekick, a bassett hound named Bingo, is never far from her side.

7. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Age 3-7)

Puffin Books

The first book in the classic French series sees little Madeline, who lives in a home for girls, set off on an adventure to have her appendix removed. Nothing scares our awesome heroine, not even the daunting hospital or a brush with a tiger.

8. Olivia by Ian Falconer (Age 3-7)

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Wearing people out is what Olivia, the fun-loving pig, does best. She rarely sits still, but at the end of every busy day, she falls asleep knowing she’s truly loved, despite being a bit of a nuisance.

9. Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Age 4-7)

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Jane (along with her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee) wants to dedicate her life to helping animals and one day her dream becomes a reality. This is the true, inspiring story of animal rights activist Dr Jane Goodall, told in an adorably relatable way.

10. Stagecoach Sal by Deborah Hopkinson (Age 4-7)

Hyperion Book CH

Sitting shotgun in her pa’s stagecoach, catching fish bare-handed and riding a bronco are all in a day’s work for gutsy Sal. When she makes her first journey alone, and encounters a silver-tongued robber named Poetic Pete, she proves a worthy match for the most fearsome desperado in the wild west.

11. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea by Pamela Duncan Edwards (Age 4-8)

Orchard Books

When poor, penniless Princess Pigtoria realises Prince Proudfoot has placed a pea under her pillow to test her princess properties she realises she could never love a man so picky. Luckily, there are plenty more pigs in the sty. And one of them even has pizza.

12. Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming (Age 4-8)

Schwartz & Wade

History-loving Imogene decides to open a museum in her hometown and is devastated when she learns the building is going to be torn down to make way for a factory. So, like a true activist, she barricades herself in to try and save it. Look out for the cameo by a female US president.

13. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss (Age 4-8)

HarperCollins

Being abducted by pirates would be terrifying for most people, but not unflappable Louise, who sails the high seas and gets in plenty of pickles along the way. Her roommates are suitably impressed when she arrives home all blasé about her life and death experiences.

14. Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines (Age 4-8)

HarperCollins

When Aunt Martha rolls up in her brand new car to take her beloved niece on an unforgettable roadtrip, they create lots of fun memories, which include picking up unlimited junk at flea markets and eating in a fancy restaurant.

15. Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunnell and Julie Novak (Age 4-8)

PM Press

As much fun for adults as it is for kids, this colouring book aims to turn pervasive negative gender stereotypes on their heads. Turns out girls are not chicks; they’re thinkers, creators, superheroes and so much more.

16. The Princess in Black by Dean Hale and Shannon Hale (Age 5-8)

Candlewick

When the monster alarm goes off, Princess Magnolia panics. She couldn’t possibly try to save the goats herself, being so dainty and all. Her alter ego, the heroic Princess in Black, certainly could though. Cue a plan so daring she might just pull it off.

17. Katie Morag Delivers The Mail by Mairi Hedderwick (Age 5-9)

Red Fox

Life is sweet on the Isle of Struy where Katie Morag’s family runs the local post office. When she’s tasked with delivering the mail alone one day, she finds herself in a muddle but, thanks to her granny, some quick thinking and a tractor, she eventually manages to sort it out

18. Night of the Five Aunties by Mesa Somer (Age 5-9)

Albert Whitman & Company

When five aunties, with five big personalities, descend on Annie and Alfie’s home all sorts of mishaps occur. After one very exciting announcement, the female-centric family celebrates in style.

19. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (Age 8-12)

Puffin Books

Living alone (well, with a horse and a monkey) means high-spirited Pippi does precisely as she pleases. From causing trouble at school to fighting the strongest man in the circus, there’s never a dull moment when she’s around.

20. The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman (Age 8-12)

HarperCollins

Lucy is convinced she can hear wolves living in the walls of her house so she persuades her family to investigate. When her worst fears are confirmed, she’s faced with the challenge of taking them on in order to retrieve her favourite toy. (Warning: this one’s not for the easily scared.)

21. Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (Age 8-12)

First Second

In the process of rescuing her best friend, Joseph, from an alien doomsday cult, plucky Zita becomes an intergalactic superhero. Even fighting off humanoid chickens and outsmarting a conman don't phase this fearless heroine.

22. Matilda by Roald Dahl (Age 8-12)

Puffin Books

She may be small, but what the legendary Matilda lacks in size she makes up for in wit and determination. Faced with awful Miss Trunchbull, her kid-hating school principal, she discovers she’s more powerful than anyone could have imagined.

23. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede (Age 10+)

HMH Books for Young Readers

This four-part fantasy series features rebellious Cimorene, a princess who flat-out refuses to be “proper.” From scary wizards to friendly dragons, her adventures take her on a journey of self-discovery as she comes of age.