In world history, there have been countless amazing women whose work and accomplishments have altered the way we live. From the activism of Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst to the artistry of Coco Chanel and Maya Angelou to the pioneering spirits of Amelia Earhart and Ada Lovelace, there is an incredible amount of women whose stories will get you feeling really empowered to be female or really appreciate the women around you. In the following books, you can read stories of inspiring and empowering women of the past and present from around the world and find great reads for children and adults alike.
1. Little People, Big Dreams Series
5 years +
This series of books follows the achievements of various influential women from history that all started out as a child with a dream. Written as short biographies for children aged 5 and up to understand, each book shines a light on an amazing role model for your young readers. The series includes Maya Angelou, Emmeline Pankhurst, Frida Kahlo and more.
7 years +
This terrific book brings together some of the stories of the women whose contributions to the world have really made a difference. Bursting with facts and entertaining illustrations, this is a hugely empowering read for all children. Kate Pankhurst includes the achievements of Emmeline Pankhurst (a relative of Kate's!), Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Jane Austen and Mary Seacole.
Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
7 years +
Are you in need of some feisty new bedtime stories? Then, look no further than this book of 100 tales of rebel girls. Each story is a short biography about an influential woman in history, told in the style of a traditional bedtime story - minus the prince charmings and knights in shining armour. With illustrations by female artists from every corner of the world, and the stories of women such as Elizabeth I, Serena Williams, Malala and more, your young readers can discover the work of loads of incredible women past and present.
Malala's story is a powerful and inspiring read. After her home came under the control of the Taliban, Malala took to writing a blog about life in the Swat Valley where girls were banned from school. As her blog gained more and more readers she started appearing in the worldwide media to discuss the issues surrounding girls not getting an education. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by a gunman and miraculously managed to survive. Since then, she has been boldly campaigning for education for all and sharing her eye-opening story.
The World War Two photographer, Joan Leigh Fermor has often been outshined by the work and attention placed on her husband, the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. In this startling biography, Simon Fenwick has turned the spotlight onto Joan, a socialite who, in a time where women were expected to rely completely on their husbands and families, made her own living through her skills as a photographer. Her remarkable life saw her move through the wild bohemian social circles of the 1930s and into the chaos and trauma of war in the 1940s.Compelling and empowering, this book is a must for anyone who wants to uncover the role women played in the Second World War.
With 903 blue plaques dedicated to the individuals whose work has been invaluable in the arts, science, technology, sport, politics and more, Allison Vale was saddened to see that only 111 of these were commemorating the work of women. In her brilliantly empowering book, she introduces you to the women whose achievements have been overlooked in history. If you're after a quick, empowering read then be sure to add this excellent book to your list.
When it comes to the Bronte sisters, Emily and Charlotte are often given the most attention and praise by literary critics and history scholars alike, while Anne is pushed to the wayside. Samantha Ellis decided to research into the life of the most underappreciated Bronte sibling and what she found was a brave and talented writer who deserves as much admiration as her sisters. Uncover the life of one of the most overlooked authors in English literature in this unique biography.
This book is much more than a companion to the hit Netflix series about the early days of the reign of Elizabeth II, it is a fascinating biography about possibly the most famous woman of the 20th and 21st centuries. Queen Elizabeth II took to the throne at a young age after the sudden death of her father but has since become the longest reigning monarch of Britain. Robert Lacey traces the details of her life through both personal traumas and public events; get a glimpse of this amazing monarch as you've seen her before.
At the age of 40, Jo Pavey won a gold medal for the 10,000 metre run at the European Championships. She achieved this amazing feat just 8 months after giving birth, earning her the well-deserved title "Supermum". In her autobiography, she shows how her determination and drive managed to make her into a mum with a medal. This book is a joyful read that shows you if you put your mind to it, you really can achieve anything.
A century ago some women were officially given the right to vote in the UK but how did they get to this point? Lucinda Dickens Hawksley's brilliant history book seeks to find out just that. Starting with Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication on the Rights of Women in 1792 and tracking the progress of women's rights to the Suffragette movement in the 1900s, this book is as empowering as they come.
If you need some unique bedtime reading or want to know more about the women who are often overlooked in history, we've given you plenty of options. So, discover the most amazing women in history and how they've impacted the world in these empowering books that will have you your kids feeling inspired!