These are the most feminist children's and YA books out now
We’re in the midst of awards season, and it’s true that some lists get a little more recognition than others. Film, TV, and music can hog the spotlight and books don’t always get their due. But like the Grammys or the Golden Globes or even the Oscars, books are given awards and accolades in all types of categories – romance, science-fiction, and even comic books. Some award shows are completely dedicated to one genre.
The Amelia Bloomer Project, which has been announced since 2002 by the American Library Association, is one such literary honor. Named after the women’s rights activist who challenged Victorian women’s fashion, the list is compiled annually of recently published books (typically children’s and young adult) which possess “significant feminist content”.
While it may be tough to officially categorize what makes a book a feminist text, the Amelia Bloomer List comes to the consensus that the book must involve a heroine who both strives to better herself and her community. In the face of adversity, she doesn’t allow herself to become defeated, but fights back against the limits society has imposed upon her. She takes a step into the unknown and creates a new path for herself.
There are several books selected for the list each year, but below are the top ten picks for 2015. There’s fiction and non-fiction alike, and we highly recommend adding some of these excellent choices to your to-read shelf.
A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country by Ilene Cooper
This book follows the path of the role women took on in the government, beginning with the suffrage movement and continuing to the present. (Interestingly enough, a woman was elected to Congress even before the 19th Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote – and that’s just one of many facets of history you’ll learn about in this book.)
A Pair of Twins by Kavitha Mandana
This book is about a unique pair of twins, born minutes apart. Lakshmi and Sundari take India by storm when they become the first female elephant trainer and lead elephant. Not everyone appreciates their trailblazing, but that doesn’t matter when they’re needed to come to the rescue.
My Notorious Life: A Novel by Kate Manning
Inspired by the true story of a controversial midwife in the 1860s, this book follows Axie Muldoon as she grows up, starting life as the child of immigrant parents and becoming a successful businesswoman. Her fearlessness and drive to protect women’s reproductive rights puts her in the crosshairs of city officials, and it takes all her efforts to fight for her patients’ choices.
Because I Am A Girl: I Can Change the World by Rosemary McCarney
In spite of struggle and hardship, young girls around the world are telling their stories. Written in tandem with Plan International, Because I am a Girl is “a global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty.”
Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney
Girls all over the world write their own responses to Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner and global activist for change who inspired millions after standing up to the Taliban in her country. Her continuing fight for education for girls and her seemingly endless bravery have proven that it’s possible for one voice to make a difference.
Hidden by Donna Jo Napoli
A former princess is forever transformed when she finds herself lost at sea. After her sister is taken captive, Brigid disguises herself as a boy and promises to find the only family she has left. Based in part on the story of the first Norse female pirate, Hidden is also a story about family, determination, and the lengths we will go to in order to find the ones we love.
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
Liz Prince relives her adolescence in this graphic novel memoir about trying to find yourself when you’re not really sure where you belong. As a teenager, she wasn’t a girly girl – but on the other hand, she didn’t exactly fit in with the guys either. Prince explores the concept of what it really means to be a girl – and how that may look different for each individual person.
Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr
Sally Ride is most associated with her accomplishments as the first American woman in space – but it’s what she did outside the space shuttle as well as on it that led to her being so well-remembered. She was a fearless woman and true pioneer, and without question a strong role model for young women everywhere.
Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Kamala Khan is an unassuming young woman from New Jersey who unexpectedly finds herself stepping into the role of Ms. Marvel. As she struggles with her own identity, she also endeavors to figure out how the heck she’s going to handle her newfound powers. (In other exciting news, Wilson is going to be co-heading up the team responsible for the new all-female Avengers cast. More, please!)
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai
In her own words, Noble Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai tells her story. As a direct result of her desire to make education available to all girls, she nearly lost her life – but came back fighting and more determined than ever before. This version is specifically meant for younger readers, but the truth of her life is a powerful one that will impact anyone who chooses to read.
[Images via Goodreads, featured image via.]