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Empowering books for girls

Genre: Gender, Identity
Age group: 9-11, 12-14
child sitting on a bed surrounded by books

Celebrating some serious girl power! This range of fiction and non-fiction titles is set to inspire, delight and empower any young woman.

Elle McNicoll A Kind of Spark

This book's narrator Addie, an 11-year-old autistic girl, is determined that her local town should build a memorial to the women killed during the Scottish witch trials. Addie is a wonderful example of using empathy to fight for what you believe in and challenging historical biases.

Emma Read Milton the Mighty

Zoe is an amazing character – we loved seeing her conduct her research about spiders, spread the word about what she finds and even help her dad overcome his fear!

Elizabeth Lim Six Crimson Cranes

Blending Grimms' fairytales with South East Asian mythology, this magical fantasy book follows Shiori, a young princess banished from her kingdom when her magic is revealed. Now pennyless, and voiceless, Shiori must use her intelligence and wit to save her brothers and set the kingdom to rights.

Cherie Zamazing Simon Mockler Beatrix the Bold and the Curse of the Wobblers

It's wonderful to see Beatrix start to discover her own identity and explore the world outside the palace walls in this funny fairy-tale.

A.M. Dassu Fight Back

For older children, Aaliyah is an incredible role model of protest and empathy. After a terrorist attack causes a spike of Islamophobia, Aaliyah decides to wear the hijab. Soon she unites with the other children around her who are marginalised to fight back against the prejudice and stereotypes in her community.

Charlotte Lo We Won an Island

Luna doesn't wait around for things to get better for her family, she tries to sort things out herself and it's hilarious and heart-warming to watch what happens next.

Katherine Rundell The Good Thieves

Vita's tenacity, creativity and wit make her a force to be reckoned with in this exciting story!

Catherine Bruton No Ballet Shoes in Syria

Aya's been through some very difficult things on her journey to Britain, but she works so hard to keep her family together it is truly inspiring to read about.

Benjamin Read Laura Trinder The Midnight Hour

We loved meeting Emily, who is the feisty and fearless protagonist of this fantastical tale, and following her on this epic adventure to rescue her parents!

Matilda Woods The Girl, the Cat and the Navigator

We loved following the brave and bold Oona's exploits stowed away on her father's ship and witnessing her discover the world beyond the village she has always known.

Charli Howard Splash

Standing up for yourself can be really difficult, particularly with someone who you want to be friends with, so we loved meeting Molly in Splash and seeing her gain the confidence to stand up for herself and pursue what she loves to do.

Jess Butterworth When the Mountains Roared

Everyone's scared of something, so it's fantastic to read about a character like Ruby who has a lot of fears but doesn't let them stop her, especially when it comes to protecting a cause she really cares about.

Gwen Lowe Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs

This is a hilarious book which will definitely have you rooting for the infected Alice in her battle against germaphobes and the Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect.

Maria Parr Astrid the Unstoppable

Being the only child in her village doesn't stop Astrid, known as "the little thunderbolt", from enjoying herself, and we loved seeing how she copes with change in the beautiful Norwegian setting of this story.

Sarah Carroll The Words that Fly Between Us

We really like this because it is a sensitive story about the powerlessness felt by Lucy as she experiences the bullying behaviour of her father. She uses words to address the situation and stands up for what she knows to be right.

Malala Yousafzai I Am Malala

The fascinating, real-life account of the girl who fought for her right to an education and who, despite having been shot by the Taliban, continues to speak out for the rights of all girls to be educated. An inspiring read.

Aimee Lucido In the Key of Code

Cleverly told mixing Java script, song and poetry, this narrative verse novel casts a spell on its reader. We learn computer script and Java with Emmy, as she grapples with starting a new school, new friends and a new life. An intriguing and enjoyable read.