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30 Feminist Children's Books That Every Child Should Read

There are no stories about princesses being rescued in here.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which feminist children's books every child should read.

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1. Matilda, by Roald Dahl

"Matilda wasn't offered the opportunity to learn when she wanted to, so she took it upon herself to do so." — madeleinek43e5c5a7bGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Puffin

"Matilda wasn't offered the opportunity to learn when she wanted to, so she took it upon herself to do so." — madeleinek43e5c5a7b

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

2. Grace For President, by Kelly DiPucchio

"I review children's books, and to this day this is one of the best I've ever reviewed. It features a WoC protagonist, a young girl who immediately becomes incensed upon learning that there's never been a female president and decides to run for president of her class. Aside from giving young readers a crash-course in how the electoral college works, there are so many amazing lessons the book imparts, like judging a person's worthiness on their actions and character rather than their gender; and how girls, especially POC girls, often have to work 10 times as hard to be taken just as seriously as their male peers." — TheIrishCowgirlGet it on Amazon
Scholastic

"I review children's books, and to this day this is one of the best I've ever reviewed. It features a WoC protagonist, a young girl who immediately becomes incensed upon learning that there's never been a female president and decides to run for president of her class. Aside from giving young readers a crash-course in how the electoral college works, there are so many amazing lessons the book imparts, like judging a person's worthiness on their actions and character rather than their gender; and how girls, especially POC girls, often have to work 10 times as hard to be taken just as seriously as their male peers." — TheIrishCowgirl

Get it on Amazon

3. The Tortall series, by Tamora Pierce

"Reading about these strong women taking the lead in their respective stories pumped me up so much! I had a particular pull to Daine and loved how much she changed by just coming to a land that accepted her and valued her opinion. She went from a uncertain young girl to someone who trusted her own experience and knowledge to overcome challenging situations." — hannahw425d8b922Get it on Amazon
Random House Books for Young Readers

"Reading about these strong women taking the lead in their respective stories pumped me up so much! I had a particular pull to Daine and loved how much she changed by just coming to a land that accepted her and valued her opinion. She went from a uncertain young girl to someone who trusted her own experience and knowledge to overcome challenging situations." — hannahw425d8b922

Get it on Amazon

4. How Prudence Proovit Proved the Truth About Fairy Tales, by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

"It's about a little girl who defies everybody else's opinions and proves that fairy tales aren't real." — Ann Onomuos, via FacebookGet it on Amazon
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

"It's about a little girl who defies everybody else's opinions and proves that fairy tales aren't real." — Ann Onomuos, via Facebook

Get it on Amazon

5. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

"It follows the life of an orphan up until she is an adult with her own children. It takes place around the time of the women's suffrage movement in the early 1900s. Almost every woman in the series is independent and strong, especially Anne. She was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in, show her emotions and vividness, and be kind to everyone. She loved her friends, loved the earth and Mother Nature, and was always willing to be an equal to the men around her. She can do whatever those boys can!" — molnarkat95Get it on AmazonGet the audiobook
AmazonClassics

"It follows the life of an orphan up until she is an adult with her own children. It takes place around the time of the women's suffrage movement in the early 1900s. Almost every woman in the series is independent and strong, especially Anne. She was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in, show her emotions and vividness, and be kind to everyone. She loved her friends, loved the earth and Mother Nature, and was always willing to be an equal to the men around her. She can do whatever those boys can!" — molnarkat95

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

6. The His Dark Materials series, by Philip Pullman

"Lyra was one of the most fearless and intelligent characters I remember from my childhood: She was kindhearted, determined, and loyal to everyone who met her." — melwasserGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Scholastic

"Lyra was one of the most fearless and intelligent characters I remember from my childhood: She was kindhearted, determined, and loyal to everyone who met her." — melwasser

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7. I, Emma Freke, by Elizabeth Atkinson

"That book literally helped me learn to accept myself and my body. The women are so empowering." — madelinejohnson123Get it on Amazon
Carolrhoda Books

"That book literally helped me learn to accept myself and my body. The women are so empowering." — madelinejohnson123

Get it on Amazon

8. Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley

"It's about a smart and brave 16-year-old princess that questions the princess stereotype. She saves herself from a tower and then goes off to help other princesses save themselves as well. It's a really fun and cute story. And really good for younger girls too." — Ashley Clark, via FacebookGet it on Amazon
Action Lab Entertainment

"It's about a smart and brave 16-year-old princess that questions the princess stereotype. She saves herself from a tower and then goes off to help other princesses save themselves as well. It's a really fun and cute story. And really good for younger girls too." — Ashley Clark, via Facebook

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9. Feminist Baby, by Loryn Brantz

— Carol Berkow, via FacebookGet it on Amazon
Hyperion

— Carol Berkow, via Facebook

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10. Princess Smartypants, by Babette Cole

"It's about a princess whose parents are trying to marry her off to a prince, and every time a suitor comes to win her hand she sets them an impossible task to drive them away. Throughout the book she maintains that she does not wish to have a husband, but instead live by herself with her many pets. She is shown to be intelligent, independent, and strong-willed. It was one of my favourites as a kid, and proves to young girls that they do not need a man to define them or give them happiness, and they should say true to themselves and what they want." — squiddlordGet it on Amazon
Penguin

"It's about a princess whose parents are trying to marry her off to a prince, and every time a suitor comes to win her hand she sets them an impossible task to drive them away. Throughout the book she maintains that she does not wish to have a husband, but instead live by herself with her many pets. She is shown to be intelligent, independent, and strong-willed. It was one of my favourites as a kid, and proves to young girls that they do not need a man to define them or give them happiness, and they should say true to themselves and what they want." — squiddlord

Get it on Amazon

11. Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren

"Pippi Longstocking is just this badass independent female who did what she wanted and didn't care what anyone else said. As a young girl, that really inspired me." — maryl42e86db37Get it on Amazon
Puffin Modern Classics

"Pippi Longstocking is just this badass independent female who did what she wanted and didn't care what anyone else said. As a young girl, that really inspired me." — maryl42e86db37

Get it on Amazon

12. Girls Are Best, by Sandi Toksvig

"It's a really great book that teaches young girls about what great things women have done in history that children probably won't be taught in schools. It says that boys are not always bigger than girls in other species, explains that women live longer, that women can fight well, says that women are just as smart as boys, and then explains why women are often forgotten in history with lots of references to those that aren't often in textbooks. I can't recommend it enough!" — eleanorp4ac898fd5Get it on Amazon
Penguin

"It's a really great book that teaches young girls about what great things women have done in history that children probably won't be taught in schools. It says that boys are not always bigger than girls in other species, explains that women live longer, that women can fight well, says that women are just as smart as boys, and then explains why women are often forgotten in history with lots of references to those that aren't often in textbooks. I can't recommend it enough!" — eleanorp4ac898fd5

Get it on Amazon

13. Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

"Seriously, these girls are in second grade and they manage to do kick-ass things like create things that fly, or figure out the scientific method for why something smells. As a teacher and an aunt, I LOVE these books and recommend that every child (but especially girls) read them at any and all ages." — SKipneesGet it on Amazon
Abrams Books for Young Readers

"Seriously, these girls are in second grade and they manage to do kick-ass things like create things that fly, or figure out the scientific method for why something smells. As a teacher and an aunt, I LOVE these books and recommend that every child (but especially girls) read them at any and all ages." — SKipnees

Get it on Amazon

14. Princess Princess Ever After, by Katie O'Neill

"It's a wonderful classic story about a princess who gets rescued, falls in love, and goes on many adventures. But it's another princess who rescues and falls in love with her. It's empowering, it's sweet, and it's a great feminist read for young girls." — LokiLooGet it on Amazon
Oni Press

"It's a wonderful classic story about a princess who gets rescued, falls in love, and goes on many adventures. But it's another princess who rescues and falls in love with her. It's empowering, it's sweet, and it's a great feminist read for young girls." — LokiLoo

Get it on Amazon

15. The Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

"Its a series that follows a girl from elementary school through college and into the rest of her life. Her mom died shortly after she was born and she grows up with her father and brother. Ultimately its about discovering the woman you want be when there's no example to follow." — dariai4ec81ef2fGet it on Amazon
Simon and Schuster

"Its a series that follows a girl from elementary school through college and into the rest of her life. Her mom died shortly after she was born and she grows up with her father and brother. Ultimately its about discovering the woman you want be when there's no example to follow." — dariai4ec81ef2f

Get it on Amazon

16. The Oz series, by L. Frank Baum

"Baum was known to be influenced by the strong women in his life when he wrote the series, and it shows. Dorothy was always a resourceful heroine, and never was meek or scared in her adventures in Oz. There was even an uprising of housewives lead by General Jinjur who didn't want to take the patriarchy anymore." — williamp4c37c518dGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax Ltd

"Baum was known to be influenced by the strong women in his life when he wrote the series, and it shows. Dorothy was always a resourceful heroine, and never was meek or scared in her adventures in Oz. There was even an uprising of housewives lead by General Jinjur who didn't want to take the patriarchy anymore." — williamp4c37c518d

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

17. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild

"It's about three orphaned sisters called Pauline, Petrova, and Posy who want to make it into the history books. Pauline wants to be a famous actress, Posy wants to be a ballerina, and Petrova wants to fly airplane. They are all very different from one another and are determined to follow their dreams." — wuraolaolagunjuGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Puffin

"It's about three orphaned sisters called Pauline, Petrova, and Posy who want to make it into the history books. Pauline wants to be a famous actress, Posy wants to be a ballerina, and Petrova wants to fly airplane. They are all very different from one another and are determined to follow their dreams." — wuraolaolagunju

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

18. The Cam Jansen Mysteries series, by David A. Adler

"They're about a fifth grade girl who is a classroom detective with photographic memory. Her character taught me that it is important to think outside the box and believe in my own abilities to figure out problems. She is such an underrated feminist heroine." — emilyf45f8b0968Get it on Amazon
Puffin Books

"They're about a fifth grade girl who is a classroom detective with photographic memory. Her character taught me that it is important to think outside the box and believe in my own abilities to figure out problems. She is such an underrated feminist heroine." — emilyf45f8b0968

Get it on Amazon

19. The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling

"With great characters like Hermione, Luna, Professor McGonagall, Ginny and Molly Weasley, among a myriad of others, it offers us heroines that are so different from each other and yet such splendid role models. They are simply great women." — Ir Jaa via FacebookGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Bloomsbury

"With great characters like Hermione, Luna, Professor McGonagall, Ginny and Molly Weasley, among a myriad of others, it offers us heroines that are so different from each other and yet such splendid role models. They are simply great women." — Ir Jaa via Facebook

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20. Ronia, the Robber's Daughter, by Astrid Lindgren

"It's about this girl Ronia who forms a beautiful friendship with the biggest rival of said robber's son who is the same age. She's a daredevil, smart, rebellious, and pretty badass." — Iveta Marinopolska via FacebookGet it on Amazon
OUP Oxford

"It's about this girl Ronia who forms a beautiful friendship with the biggest rival of said robber's son who is the same age. She's a daredevil, smart, rebellious, and pretty badass." — Iveta Marinopolska via Facebook

Get it on Amazon

21. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

"It's an amazing book that introduces readers to women around the world that were/are leaders in their field. The illustrations are by female artists and the stories about each woman are told in a storybook format. Best book I have ever purchased." — tylerstaplesrGet it on Amazon
Particular Books

"It's an amazing book that introduces readers to women around the world that were/are leaders in their field. The illustrations are by female artists and the stories about each woman are told in a storybook format. Best book I have ever purchased." — tylerstaplesr

Get it on Amazon

22. Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman

"Grace loves stories, and with a boundless imagination she acts them all out. One day, her teacher asks who would like to play the lead in the play Peter Pan. Grace eagerly raises her hand, but Raj tells her she isn't a boy, and Natalie tells her she can't because she is black. Nana sets Grace straight: she can do anything she sets her mind to! Grace's talent bursts forth, and she wins the audition hands down. Binch's radiant illustrations add to this inspiring story." — maggief4d2b7a1d8Get it on Amazon
Scholastic

"Grace loves stories, and with a boundless imagination she acts them all out. One day, her teacher asks who would like to play the lead in the play Peter Pan. Grace eagerly raises her hand, but Raj tells her she isn't a boy, and Natalie tells her she can't because she is black. Nana sets Grace straight: she can do anything she sets her mind to! Grace's talent bursts forth, and she wins the audition hands down. Binch's radiant illustrations add to this inspiring story." — maggief4d2b7a1d8

Get it on Amazon

23. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

"It promotes the idea that all girls are princesses, no matter if they are bullies or living on the streets. It shows that all girls are strong and can make it on their own." — TheBlackImpala74Get it on AmazonGet the audiobook
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

"It promotes the idea that all girls are princesses, no matter if they are bullies or living on the streets. It shows that all girls are strong and can make it on their own." — TheBlackImpala74

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

24. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

"A science- and math-savvy pre-teen girl who travels through space-time and saves her brother and father through the power of love and she has three cool old lady mentors. I love it." — emmak31Get it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Turtleback Books

"A science- and math-savvy pre-teen girl who travels through space-time and saves her brother and father through the power of love and she has three cool old lady mentors. I love it." — emmak31

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

25. The Baby-Sitters Club series, by Ann M. Martin

"It's about a group of smart and ambitious young women. They were definitely some of my idols when I was a kid." — allyj3Get it on Amazon
Scholastic Inc.

"It's about a group of smart and ambitious young women. They were definitely some of my idols when I was a kid." — allyj3

Get it on Amazon

26. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell

"It's an amazing book about a young girl standing up to a bully. Sometimes I still read it today (as a college student) because of its messages of self-acceptance and body positivity." — sam823543Get it on Amazon
Scholastic Inc.

"It's an amazing book about a young girl standing up to a bully. Sometimes I still read it today (as a college student) because of its messages of self-acceptance and body positivity." — sam823543

Get it on Amazon

27. Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

"It's short and sweet, giving amazing advice to a little girl who grows up to be an independent woman. The illustrations are gorgeous, too. A great bedtime story." — athorup1Get it on Amazon
Puffin Books

"It's short and sweet, giving amazing advice to a little girl who grows up to be an independent woman. The illustrations are gorgeous, too. A great bedtime story." — athorup1

Get it on Amazon

28. The Nancy Drew series, by Carolyn Keene

"Nancy was my first foray into detective fiction. A young girl and her female cohorts solving a multitude of crimes and putting themselves in danger's way." — Ir Jaa via FacebookGet it on AmazonGet the audiobook
Grosset & Dunlap Inc.

"Nancy was my first foray into detective fiction. A young girl and her female cohorts solving a multitude of crimes and putting themselves in danger's way." — Ir Jaa via Facebook

Get it on Amazon

Get the audiobook

29. O'Sullivan Stew, by Hudson Talbott

"The main character Kate saves the day. It's not a princess story!" — r4acfbb85bGet it on Amazon
Puffin Books

"The main character Kate saves the day. It's not a princess story!" — r4acfbb85b

Get it on Amazon

30. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch

"Princess Elizabeth plans on marrying Prince Ronald, who is practically perfect. However, a dragon arrives who destroys her castle, kidnaps Ronald, and burns all her clothes, so she must look for something to wear, and her only option is a paper bag. Elizabeth follows the dragon and Ronald, seeking to rescue her fiancé, and outsmarts the dragon. Elizabeth rescues Ronald, who is ungrateful and tells her to return when she looks more like a princess. Elizabeth calls Ronald out for his ungratefulness and goes dancing off into the sunset." — axo513Get it on Amazon
Classic Munsch

"Princess Elizabeth plans on marrying Prince Ronald, who is practically perfect. However, a dragon arrives who destroys her castle, kidnaps Ronald, and burns all her clothes, so she must look for something to wear, and her only option is a paper bag. Elizabeth follows the dragon and Ronald, seeking to rescue her fiancé, and outsmarts the dragon. Elizabeth rescues Ronald, who is ungrateful and tells her to return when she looks more like a princess. Elizabeth calls Ronald out for his ungratefulness and goes dancing off into the sunset." — axo513

Get it on Amazon

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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