10 inspiring reads for International Women's Day

March 2023
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Today is International Women's Day! 

To mark the day, Book Gifting Officer Ruth has compiled a list of ten brilliant and diverse books that celebrate women's stories, for ages 0–18.

Muireann agus an Teach Solas

Muireann agus an Teach Solais

Le Malachy Doyle agus Andrew Whitson

An tSnatháid Mhór 2020 (CRUA) 34PP, ISBN 9781912929061

Seo an tríú leabhar i sraith Mhuireann atá cruthaithe ag Malachy Doyle i gcomhpháirt leis an mhaisitheoir Andrew Whitson. Tugann an tsraith trí chéile léargas iontach ar shaol an oileáin agus tá cuntas an-deas sa leabhar seo ar thábhacht an tí solais don phobal cois cósta.Tá blas den tseandéanamh ar scéal Doyle ach measaim go bhfuil buaine ag baint leis chomh maith. Cruthaíonn na gathanna solais ó na tóirsí agus ón teach solais teannas drámatúil atá an-éifeachtach, agus tá uigeacht agus doimhneacht sna pictiúir uilig. Bainfidh páistí sult as an scéal seo faoi Mhuireann agus Dónall cróga, agus cuireann na léaráidí áille beocht agus anam sa scéal.

The Proudest Blue

The Proudest Blue

Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. ALI, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Andersen Press 2020 (PBK) 40PP £7.99 ISBN 9781783449729

Written from the perspective of Faizah about her big sister Asiya’s first day of wearing a hijab into school, this is a touching and empowering story that centres two sisters’ emergent sense of self. There are challenges for Asiya on this momentous day, but thanks to her mama, she knows just what to do. Asiya’s grace and dignity in the schoolyard embodies her mama’s wisdom: ‘if you understand who you are, one day they will too’. A powerful and important message for young readers of all backgrounds.

READ ALSO: A Strong Heart by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership.

Reading Beauty

Reading Beauty

Deborah Underwood, illustrated By Meg Hunt

Chronicle Books 2021 (PBK) 24PP £6.99 ISBN 9781797211435

Princess Lex is a young Black girl who loves to read. In this fun reinvention of Sleeping Beauty, she saves herself from her own curse, which is to never read again. She uses her booksmarts to learn all she needs to know to help herself and a fairy to break the curse. This is a great read about self-empowerment and the power of education. The strength and self-assuredness Lex shows throughout the story will inspire young readers.

READ ALSO: You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke

Claire Justice Ninja

Claire: Justice Ninja

Joe Brady and Kate Ashwin

David Fickling Books 2019 (PBK) 64PP £8.99 ISBN 9781788451000

Claire is on a mission to make the world a better place. Unapologetically disguised as herself and aided by her apprentice, Nigel, she tackles everyday local injustices like litter and late library returns. Claire and Nigel’s acts of justice are imaginative, mischievous, meticulously planned and funny. This comic book has twelve stories of four pages each so is ideal for reluctant readers and perfect for fans of Bunny vs Monkey.

READ ALSO: Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Mathieu Sapin and Marguerite Abouet



The Deepest Breath

Meg Grehan

Little Island Books 2019 (PBK) 180PP €9.00 ISBN 9781912417186

Stevie is eleven and loves reading and sea creatures. There’s a girl at school that she likes. Actually, she’s a bit confused about how much she likes her. It makes her fizz inside. That’s a new feeling, one she doesn’t understand. Stevie needs to find out if girls can like girls – love them, even – but it’s hard to get any information. Maybe she can find an answer in a book. With the help of a librarian, Stevie finds stories of girls loving girls and builds up her courage to share the truth with her mum. Winner of the Judges’ Special Award at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2020.

Women in Sport

Women In Sport: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played To Win

Rachel Ignotofsky

Wren And Rook 2018 (HBK) 128pp £12.99 ISBN 9781526360922

This follow-up to Ignotofsky’s extraordinary book about women in science introduces young readers to over a century of women in sport. From women who competed in male events to record-breaking swimmers, from referees to coaches, and from famous names to lesser-known sporting heroines, Ignotofsky does not shirk from the difficulties these women faced to become the best. A fascinating book that reminds girls how powerful and capable women can be in the face of adversity, across all sporting genres. Packed with Ignotofsky’s notable portraits, remarkable facts and inspiring quotes, this is a must-have for any bold girl.

Roller Girl cover

Roller Girl

Victoria Jamieson

Puffin Books 2017 (PBK) 240PP £7.99 ISBN 9780141378992

Although Astrid initially bemoans her mother’s ‘Evenings of Cultural Enlightenment’, the evening on which this story begins is a real game changer for our feisty protagonist. Roller Girl not only features some tough fictional sportswomen, but also depicts the trials and tribulations of friendship. Brought to life by Jamieson’s vivid and engaging illustrations, interwoven with insights into Astrid’s imagination, this graphic novel is something unique. It is undoubtedly a great testament to the bonds forged (and fixed) by taking one for the team.

READ ALSO: Donut the Destroyer by Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins

Frankie's World

Frankie’s World

Aoife Dooley

Scholastic 2022 (PBK) 272PP £8.99 ISBN 9780702307355

Frankie is an oddball who says the wrong things and is sensitive to all sorts of ordinary stuff. In a funny and engaging story, told with minimalist cartoons, she deals with bullying, feeling overwhelmed and curiosity about a father who left when she was a baby. Frankie faces her problems with a couple of close friends, a lively imagination and a growing confidence in accepting who she is. This is a warm and valuable insight into autism through the eyes of an entertaining character.

READ ALSO: Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke and Natalie Byrne

The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars

Adiba Jaigirdar

Hodder Children’s Books 2021 (PBK) 400PP £7.99 ISBN 9781444962208

Nishat, a Muslim girl who just came out to her parents, has to figure out how to not crumble under the weight of their rejection and disapproval of her sexual identity. In the Catholic girls’ secondary school in Dublin she attends, she also has to deal with racism and homophobia and a business competition in which her culture is appropriated. On top of all of that she is falling in love with her rival. This contemporary novel is set against a backdrop of love–hate rivalry, with a good dose of unfailing sisterly support. Winner of both the Judges’ Special and the Junior Juries’ Awards at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2022. 

A Story About Cancer

A Story About Cancer (With A Happy Ending)

India Desjardins translated by Solange Ouellet illustrated By Marianne Ferrer

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books 2019 (HBK) 96PP £9.99 ISBN 9781786032188

This graphic novel, aimed at young adult readers, deals with the difficult topic of the serious illness of a young person. The first-person narrator is a fifteen-year-old girl diagnosed with leukaemia five years earlier and now approaching a clinical review. Though she has been through so much, the narrator is a typical teenager – dramatic, critical, embarrassed by her parents and falling in love for the first time. This beautifully produced book informs, educates and entertains.

READ ALSO: Can You See Me? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott