Friday, 7 March 2014

International Women's Day Picture Books

International Women's Day is here, so we thought we would share some of our favourite children's books that feature strong female characters and challenge traditional female stereotypes. More than ever, we see bookshelves full of books that are marketed towards one sex or the other, with an abundance of pink princess books for girls and blue pirate books for boys. Even putting aside, the pink and blue divide, male characters in books far outweigh those of girls, who are generally seen as superfluous characters who can compete with male leads. Of course, girls and indeed boys can be princesses if they want to be but they can be also firefighters, superheroes, rescuers, activists, pirates and much much more. More importantly, they can be whatever they want to be without the constraints that literature places upon them. There are so many great authors and publishers challenging the ' norms ' but here are a few of our favourites

In Rickshaw Girl we meet Naima, a young girl living in Bangladesh who longs to earn money for her family, in a world where males dominate and females are expected to concentrate on domestic duties. Disguising herself as a boy, Naima takes herself on a journey of discovery and empowerment as the world around her begins to change.

Super Daisy is a fun and adventurous book, that sees the lead character Daisy use her super powers to travel around the world on a rescue mission to save planet earth. With pop out pages and flaps, children can enjoy interacting with the strong willed and free spirited girl who does not need a boy to help her save the world.

In Paper Bag Princess, we see a twist on a traditional princess tales, with princess Elizabeth bring the one that slays dragons, fights fire and comes to the rescue of her potential suitor Ronald. With fantastic illustrations and quirky humour, this is a fun book for everybody, perhaps even those boys who supposedly will not engaged with female leads!

Often it can be other females that can make some girls feel inferior and we need to find the strength to be happy in our own skin, without the need to push put others. Lola's Fandango is a beautiful exploration of a young girl, having a passion for something that can only be explored when she finds her confidence and her true spirit.

For added feminist fun, this humorous Girls are not Chicks colouring book will make you laugh whilst exploring strong messages with your children. The book is a playful exploration of gender stereotypes . Girls are not chicks, they are thinkers, creators, fighters and healers.

If you have small activists on your hand, then A is for Activist is he book for you and your family to explore together Taking on all manner of issues, not just tied to feminism, you can open up your child's eyes to the differences they can make in life, by fighting stereotypes.

Finally, here is one Princess Book that really does make me smile. Yes the cover is pink, yes the main character wears pretty dresses and is happiest when holding a sparkly bag but the book does certainly not impose gender stereotypes. My Princess Boy is a wonderful exploration of acceptance and unconditional friendship as we learn that glitter and glamour is not just for girls. A great book to read to boys, girls, men and women, after all books should be for everybody.

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