Disclaimer: The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As usual the content and opinions are my own.
These days it feels like you’d really have to dig deep to find positive news stories about being a woman. We’re collectively painted out as one extreme or another – the broken victim or the shrill woman; the virgin or the slut; the wallflower or the provocateur. ‘Women’s sections’ of newspapers talk about thigh gaps – not pay gaps; telling us when we’re too old to wear what we want to wear; and frankly anything other than the real issues.
For the three humans I’m trying to raise – two small men of 8 and 3, and one small woman of 6, the world is an exciting – and frankly nicer, place, that the newspaper columns betray. It’s a lovely bubble and one which I shamelessly hope to keep them in for as long as I can. It’s a place where boys and girls are different but equal. It’s a place where they like what they like and they are who they are, and so it should be. It’s a place I wish I could keep them in – and most days a place I wish I myself could go.
So here – for every day of the year and also for the weeks ahead when stocking stuffers are all the rage, are some of our favourite books that – for the first eight years at least, have given my little feminists a positive insight into all the wonderful things about womankind.
One for the real smallies, Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo’s Child is a gorgeous book with the simplest added bonus that the brave and adventurous little Gruffalo who wanders around the forest at night – as you find out at the very end, is a girl!
Another Julia Donaldson book that’s great for small kids is Zog. A tale about a dragon learning the tricks of his tricks of the trade who befriends Princess Pearl – a girl who balks at the idea of being a princess in a palace and instead opts to be a flying doctor. A far more exciting choice Pearl!
My daughter gets a real kick reading the Paper Bag Princess – Robert Munsch’s quirky tale about -strangely enough, a princess in a paper bag, who saves the day only to find her Prince Charming is quite the loser.
This year’s all time favourite in our house is Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World. A beautiful illustrated book it introduces your kids to some of history’s most formidable women including Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank. My kids love this one and it’s raised spirits all round if I’m honest.
I love that my kids are now getting to enjoy books I loved as a kid. One of my favourite Roald Dahl books is Matilda – the story about a remarkable girl bullied at home by her awful parents and at school by the awful Miss Trunchbull, who discovers some amazing powers and develops a healthy taste for retribution! I always loved this book – and equally the great movie that followed, and what child didn’t fall in love with the amazing Miss Honey. *Sigh*. Another set of classics I haven’t read in over thirty years the adventures of Pippi Longstocking have recently appeared in the house and I’m looking forward to introducing the kids to her zany adventures.
This year my own stocking will be stuffed with Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – and the best part was it was my husband’s idea to buy it for me. Re-telling fairystories and introducing 100 brilliant women, this beautiful book is a big hit with biggies and smallies and will be a favourite this Christmas.
Finally, so much of what we can give our kids stems from teaching them about the wonders of their bodies. I honestly believe that boys and girls should own their own selves – and a big part of that is arming them with the vocabulary and the facts about how their bodies work. Everything from sex ed to consent stems from there. We’ve a stack of books and can heartily recommend: any Body Encyclopedia, Amazing You and Let’s Talk as well as any ‘where babies come from’ books you and yours can handle.
So there you have our choices. Whether overt in their positivity praising women who have blazed a trail – or simply by letting a girl hero take centre stage, these books come highly recommended from my young feminists to yours! Any recommendations welcome!
Disclaimer: as above, some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. The article content and opinions are my own.