The days when fairytale heroines waiting to be rescued by prince charming have begun falling out of fashion among parents and children alike.
From strong, independent Disney princesses to gentler, in touch with their emotions leading Pixar men, children’s media has seen a shift towards portraying a more balanced mixture of role-models for the next generation.
To celebrate this growing trend in literature, we’ve been taking a look at some inspirational, empowering books for young readers.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2
Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
A modern classic, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls introduces kids to 100 remarkable women from across history. From pioneering women in science, aviation, and politics, to authors, sporting stars, and pirates, each volume in the series introduces readers to a new collection of world-changing women.
Each book contains beautiful illustrations created by sixty female artists from around the world. Presented in fairytale-style, each individual story can make an interesting bedtime story for both children being read to, and parents alike.
Little People, Big Dreams Series
With a simple, quirky artstyle, the Little People, Big Dreams series introduces children to empowering, important women from around the world. From designers to missionaries, artists to scientists, each book highlights the incredible things that person went on to do whilst reminding us that they began life as a child with a big dream.
Simple and straightforward with their storytelling, these books are great to read to younger kids. Older children may enjoy the more factual biography included at the end of each book which provides a great starting point for kids who want to learn more about each inspirational figure.
Set just before the First World War, Opal Plumstead follows Opal, a bookish, smart girl who must give up her scholarship at a prestigious girls school when her father is sent to prison. Faced with a bleak future working in a sweet factory, Opal meets suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who helps show her new opportunities for women on the horizon.
Featuring an outspoken heroine and Jacqueline Wilson’s distinct, captivating style and Nick Sharratt’s small, quirky illustrations, children will enjoy the unique blend of fiction and history.
A beloved classic from the mind behind Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, Roald Dahl’s Matilda shows children the unbelievable strength and impact they can make if they just believe in themselves.
Smart, fair, and loyal to her friends, Matilda blends together intellect, confidence, and a hint of mischief to create an inspirational character loved by generations.
Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different
Hailed as the boy’s counterpart to Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, Brooks Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different is another highly beneficial title for children of all genders to read. Just as Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls highlights that girls can be their own heroes, Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different lets children know that being prince charming, a brave knight, or a fearsome protector aren’t their only options.
Brooks highlights that it’s ok for boys to be in touch with their emotional side, dispelling the outdated notion that ‘boys don’t cry’, challenging the idea that boys must conform to stereotypical ideas of masculinity, and encouraging them to embrace their own likes and passions.
Featuring 100 stories of rule-breaking, innovative men from around the world, Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different encourages children to reject peer pressure and go against the grain to accept themselves, and their peers, for who they are - stereotypes be damned.