International Women’s Day 2018

By Kerry McGuire, Editorial Assistant

With International Women’s Day coming up this Thursday the 8th of March, we thought it was time to highlight a selection of books with Accelerated Reader quizzes, written by females and (most importantly) about females. You’ll find below a mixture of new publications as well as some older favourites.

You’re probably aware that the theme of this year’s international campaign is #PressforProgress. Each of the strong female characters celebrated in the titles below pressed for progress in their own way, in a variety of eras and places. Perhaps they challenged bias, took action against prejudices they faced, or even joined the Suffragette movement. Some characters in the stories aimed at younger readers could spark interesting discussions about basic gender stereotypes.

Either way, we’re sure your girls and boys will enjoy reading about these passionate and inspiring people.

Happy International Women’s Day, and happy quizzing!


Lower Years

Mermaid by Cerrie Burnell
Scholastic | BL 3.5 | Quiz # 229318

Sylvia is an amazing swimmer, but only Luka knows that she is also a mermaid. This touching story celebrates our differences, and shows how being ‘different’ can be positive. Equality is at the book’s core; although Sylvia is in a wheelchair, it is she who teaches Luka how to swim and helps him achieve his dream.

Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine
Mammoth Books | BL 4.3 | Quiz # 201431

When Bill wakes up one morning and realises he is a girl, he’s sent to school in a dress. Little does he know, he’s about to have one of the worst days ever! Bill learns that girls are treated quite differently, and he grows frustrated by the fact that he is now expected to behave in a certain way. This book is some years old, but is ever relevant and sure to ignite discussion among young readers.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Frances Lincoln | BL 3.5 | Quiz # 200188

This is the first in the series of Mary Hoffman’s Grace books where we meet the little girl who loves stories, has an amazing imagination and positive attitude. The message here is that anyone can be anything they desire, regardless of gender and race. Grace discovers this when she gets the main part in her school play despite being told she can’t play Peter Pan as she is a black girl.

Malala’s Magic Pencil
by Malala Yousafzai
Puffin | BL 3.6 | Quiz # 232856

In this book the young female activist Malala shares her story with younger readers. The young Malala of the story wishes for a magic pencil, and describes how she would redraw reality with it to make the world a better place.


Middle Years

The Making of Mollie and Mollie on the March by Anna Carey
O’ Brien Press | BL 5.5 | Quiz # 231678 (Mollie on the March coming soon)

This duology from O’Brien follows Irish schoolgirl Mollie in 1912, who decides that she wants to make a difference to women’s rights after learning her sister is a secret Suffragette. She starts attending meetings and searching for more information with her friend Nora. In Mollie on the March, the girls hope to take part in a protest. Both books, written as a series of letters, are full of historical facts.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky 
Wren & Rook  | Quiz coming soon

This beautifully illustrated non-fiction book highlights the contributions of 50 inspiring women to professions including science, engineering, maths and technology. Readers will be inspired by the stories of how everyday women became the first cosmonauts, astrophysicists and biologists, and changed the world.

Make More Noise by Various authors
Nosy Crow | BL 4.8 | Quiz # 233344 (coming this week)

This collection of short stories was written in honour of the recent 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. It has a mixture of historical and modern stories, a fantasy tale, and even a ghost story. Each story celebrates a unique and inspirational female. Personally, my favourite story was The Bug Hunters by M.G. Leonard. I loved how one little girl called a bully out on her behaviour and stood up for a like-minded new girl during her naturalist show-and-tell! One quiz writer enjoyed how “non-fiction was interwoven into some of the stories.”

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst 
Bloomsbury | BL 5.7 | Quiz # 232233

Another non-fiction title, this is a wonderful introduction to some amazing women in history. From Mary Seacole to Anne Frank, every woman featured has a fascinating tale behind them. Reluctant readers will be drawn in by the detailed and humorous illustrations. On top of that – the author (and illustrator!) is a descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst!

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Macmillan | BL 6.4 | MY+ | Quiz # 229118

When Faith’s father dies under mysterious circumstances, it’s up to her to discover the truth. This book deals with many important topics, one of which is feminism! Faith has a secret passion for natural sciences, but due to the prejudiced Victorian society she is part of, she can’t study this at a higher level. This is perfect for science loving females, or anyone who has been told they cannot achieve their dream.


Upper Years

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Marion Lloyd Books | BL 4.9 | Quiz # 210271

Sixteen-year-old Amah decides to start wearing a hijab full time, and everyone seems to have something to say about it. She soon learns that this piece of cloth has the power to change her life. Despite the name calling and general taunting, she sticks by her decision to embrace the Muslim faith. The book deals with themes such as culture, prejudice, family and teenage issues, in a light-hearted and funny manor.

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne
Usborne | BL 4.9 | Quiz # 230646

When Lottie is harassed by some men, she realises she’s had enough. She decides to call out every instance of sexism she sees for an entire month and starts a “Vigilante” group at school to combat sexism. Our Assistant Editor, Krista said: “Holly Bourne writes a funny, but touching story of how hard it really can be to be a feminist. But she also shows that it’s worth it to fight for a better world. Lottie’s story had me cheering for her the entire way, even when she didn’t get it quite right. And as always, the Spinster Club friendship is so sweet. I wish I had this book when I was a young girl.”

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls 
Andersen Press | BL 5.8 | Quiz # 233283

Things a Bright Girl Can Do takes an interesting look at three girls from different class systems, all of whom are involved with the Suffragette movement. Evelyn gets arrested on purpose then goes on hunger strike in prison, despite realising that she isn’t too sure what she would do with the vote if she had it. May’s relationship falls apart when her girlfriend Nell, a feisty East End factory worker, announces she has a job in a munitions factory.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Orion | BL 4 | Quiz # 202303

Celie is a young black girl living in Georgia. She endures being separated from her sister, sexual and racial oppression, and poverty. It is a complex and shocking read but an important one, and readers will cry along as they see Celie strengthen, grow and overcome so many horrors in the letters she writes. She’s a woman of great confidence by the end of the story, and an inspiring heroine for women everywhere.

Kerry McGuire
Editorial Assistant

Posted on 5 March 2018 at 10:44 am
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