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.
Maya Angelou's eye-opening autobiography is a truly empowering read. Despite suffering from trauma and abandonment young in life and growing up in a deeply racist community, Maya saw hope in the world and power in herself. This is a book that is studied in schools around the world and with good reason, Maya is not only an inspirational individual but a very talented writer as well.
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.
Michelle Obama was thrown into the public eye after her husband became president of the United States but rather than shy away from the position of power she was given, she used her role as First Lady to drive positive change. This autobiography begins by describing her childhood on the South Side of Chicago before moving onto her journey to become an attorney and her first meeting with Barack Obama. The book details her successes and failures and the reader gets a fascinating insight into how she became an international symbol of female empowerment.
The Suffragettes fought for the right for women to have the vote in a time when women's voices were usually unheard in society. This book was written by Diane Atkinson in association with the Museum of London and includes plenty of facts and details about these incredible women. The stories of some of key figure in the Suffragette Movement, Emmeline Pankhurst, Annie Kenney and Emily Wilding Davison are told. If you'd like an overview of the whole Suffragette Movement, from the early days of the Women's Social and Political Union to the acts that saw many women imprisoned, this is the read for you.
Lucy Worsley considers the 24 most significant days in the life of the one of the world's best-known rulers. Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch of Britain before Queen Elizabeth II overtook her in 2015. This book was published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth and that is where the book begins. The next 23 days showcase the colourful youth and mighty rule of this amazing woman.
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!