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Suffragettes and Women’s Suffrage

best childrens books about suffragettes and womens suffrage

Recommended Children’s Books About Suffragettes and Women’s Suffrage  

Explore the history of women’s right to vote with this list of children’s books about suffragettes and women’s suffrage. Featuring everything from time-travelling historical fiction to real-life accounts of the key figures in women’s fight for the vote, this women’s suffrage children’s booklist offers young readers an exciting introduction to the KS2 topic.

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Chapter book stories about women's rights to vote

Various
Short story collection

You have to make more noise than anyone else,” declared Emmeline Pankhurst, who led the British suffragette movement.

 ‘Make More Noise!’ is a collection of short stories written by well-known female authors, including Emma Carroll (author of Letters From the Lighthouse), M.G. Leonard (author of the Beetle Boy books) and Kiran Millwood Hargrave (author of The Girl of Ink and Stars), among other celebrated writers. The stories each feature the strong voice of a female character, some fictitious and others based on real people.

Sofia from M.G. Leonard’s story ‘The Bug Hunters’, for example, is a girl whose interest in bugs and studying nature makes her an easy target for bullies as she learns to combat prejudice and stand up for who she wants to be. Katherine Woodfine then transports us to another era in her story ‘Tea and Jam’ to meet Eveline, a suffragette’s maid who feels the sting of her unequal treatment in contrast to the messages of the suffrage campaigns. In a complete shift of genre, Kiran Millwood Hargrave then introduces us to Alba in the fantasy story ‘The Green-Hearted Girl’. Alba demonstrates how one girl’s bravery can bring about positive societal change.
 Each of the authors has put their own enjoyable stamp and style on the unified theme. What is remarkable is not just the strength of the female voices singing out from each story, but how the voices of the collection come together to create a chorus of girls, from across time and space, singing beautifully in a bid to ‘make more noise’ and celebrate the equality that the #VotesForWomen campaign represents.
This is suitable for boys and girls in upper kS2 and a worthy addition to every school library.
Sufiya Ahmed
 & Alessia Trunfio
Chapter book

For diverse historical fiction, look no further then Sufiya Ahmed. In this first book of the new ‘Time Travellers’ series, she introduces us to Suhana and her two friends Mia and Ahmed. On a school trip to the Houses of Parliament, they find themselves magically transported back in time to 1911. They find themselves in the middle of a women’s suffrage demonstration, where, as well as meeting more familiar characters like Emily Davison, Suhana is thrilled to encounter Lolita Roy and other women of Indian heritage protesting for the right to vote too.

As the story of their day thunders along at pace, and the reader is caught up in the drama of whether or not they will manage to return to present-day London in their race against the clock, Ahmed peppers the narrative with historical facts and thought-provoking insights into the role of women from India in the protest movement – both for the vote in Britain and for the right to independence in India.

A great choice for reluctant readers due to its snappy story, and a brilliant fiction addition to a class topic on the women’s suffrage movement. ‘Time Travellers’ is a triumph.

Iszi Lawrence
Chapter book

The year 2018 marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the right to vote for the first time, after a long struggle. This anniversary was marked by the publication of a number of books, both fact and fiction, for children and titles continue to appear. This is of course, an important subject and the issue of rights, activism and standing up for your beliefs is one which is still as valid today.

At nearly twelve, Letty Pegg is more concerned with fitting in at school and trying to persuade her parents to let her have roller skates than any problems which might be caused by the fact that her mother is a suffragette and her father a policeman. Apart from her grandmother’s disdain at both her mother’s support of the cause and at Mr Pegg for being lower class, this has not caused conflict before in the family. However, when Mr Pegg tries to prevent his wife from taking part in a demonstration which he knows will turn violent (to become known as Black Friday), she attends secretly and Letty too becomes caught up in it. Rescued by a suffragette using jiu-jitsu skills, Letty finds herself further drawn into the movement, as her mother slowly recovers from injuries sustained on the march. Training at the dojo becomes the highlight of her week, as Letty also fights to keep her family together.

Letty is a likeable, spirited heroine, whose attempts to negotiate friendships will strike a chord with readers, with the book also providing insights into Edwardian schooling and class divisions alongside the struggle for the vote. It is a rich mixture and ambitious in content for the intended audience, so for most young readers it will benefit from some additional explanations of or discussions around the historical background. Hopefully, readers will be interested in carrying out their own research to find out more.

Jacqueline Wilson
 & Nick Sharratt
Chapter book
Fiction meets political history in this gripping and moving story from popular author Jacqueline Wilson. When Opal's father is sent to prison, Opal must start work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory instead of following her dreams of going to university. But when Opal meets the legendary Mrs Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes, she gains a growing awareness of just how far these women will go to pursue their democratic rights. Set during a significant turning point of British history when the Votes for Women movement was gaining traction and WW1 was about to begin, Opal Plumstead is an important book that offers an insight into how the suffrage movement helped to shape British democracy and one that carries a powerful message about fighting for what you believe in.
Gill Lewis
Chapter book

Gill Lewis is a skilled and engaging storyteller who weaves through her stories some of the biggest issues of the day. This book is no exception, exploring themes of the origins of the RSPB and with it, the plight of exotic birds, the role and rights of women in society both now and in Victorian England, the life and struggles of refugees in modern Britain, friendship and bullying and how the kindness of a few can make a difference to many. If this wasn’t enough, if you are interested in cycling then this book is also likely to be a winner!

The story focuses on two girls with an unlikely and unusual ‘friendship’ forged across a hundred years through a diary that Semira finds in an old hat box containing a strange hat with a beautiful green bird on it which she is mysteriously drawn to. The green bird awakens something in Semira’s memory about her past. Semira is a refugee from Eritrea who lives with her mother but they are controlled by a man because he promises to sort out their immigration status.

Henrietta lived in the Victorian era and was the child of a wealthy family who owned a feather-importing company, buying the feathers of exotic birds to make hats. Henrietta’s aunt, unbeknown to Henrietta’s parents, introduces her to a group of women who are campaigning for the prevention of cruelty to birds and through this, Henrietta hears of the debate about the rights of women to vote and to determine their own lives – including even things as simple as riding a bike. Semira reads all of this in Henrietta’s diary and many of the issues that touch Henrietta are mirrored in Semira’s life. The diary gives Semira the courage to face up to the bullies in her and her mother’s life and in so doing, reconnects with her own past through friendship, cycling and a lot of courage.


Children's books about suffragettes and change-makers

Haydn Kaye
 & Michael Cotton-Russell
Non-fiction
First Names is a series of fun, lively and highly illustrated biographies that introduces some truly amazing individuals who lived incredible lives, to an audience of young readers.EMMELINE fought a tough battle to win the vote for many British women and inspired others around the world to do the same.Find out: - Why she hated school, - How she had to take lessons in stone throwing, - What she thought when her daughter spat at a policeman . . . And an awful lot more besides.Get to know EMMELINE on First Name terms!
Bali Rai
 & Rachael Dean
Chapter book Non-fiction
Rebel, Princess, Suffragette: this is the incredible true story of the life of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a forgotten heroine of the early twentieth century.Rebel, Princess, Suffragette: this is the incredible true story of the life of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a forgotten heroine of the early twentieth century.Born in 1876, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was the daughter of the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, and goddaughter of Queen Victoria. After her father lost control of his empire and was exiled to England, Sophia had a privileged but troubled upbringing that left her unsure about where she belonged – in India or England. Sensitive to injustice, she became an suffragette and fought hard to win the vote for women. This is the extraordinary story of her life.
Megan Rix
Chapter book
Meet the leader of the Suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst, and a particularly plucky pup, during a momentous time in history!Alfie can't believe his luck when he is allowed to keep a tiny puppy he finds abandoned on the street. Rascal is cute as a button and has lots of attitude, and Emmeline Pankhurst is thrilled that her ward Alfie has a new friend. Alfie and Rascal deliver messages between the Suffragettes as they organise their 'Votes for Women' campaign. But it's sometimes dangerous work, and it's not long before Alfie and Rascal find out the true cost of the fight.Full of adventure, fascinating history and lovely animals, this is the perfect read for young fans of Dick King-Smith and Michael Morpurgo.
Sufiya Ahmed
Chapter book
My Story: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh – the thrilling story of the princess and suffragette.Born in Britain to Indian and Egyptian parents, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was a prominent suffragette and campaigned for the women’s right to vote.Explore Sophia's incredible life with My Story.Perfect for any child wanting to learn more about history’s untold storiesGreat background reading for Key Stage 2 & 3My Story: exciting stories with reliable and accurate historical detailExperience history first-hand with My Story.

Picturebooks about women's suffrage

Lisbeth Kaiser
 & Ana Sanfelippo
Non-fiction
In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, meet Emmeline Pankhurst, an inspiring women's rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women.As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was inspired by books about heroes who fought for others. She dedicated her life to fighting for women's voting rights and, with hard work and great bravery, led a remarkable movement that changed the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist's life. 
David Roberts
Graphic Novel
An exquisitely illustrated history of the women's suffrage movement, created by the New York Times-bestselling David Roberts and introduced by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne.It is over a century since the first women won the vote in the United Kingdom, and Suffragette tells the story of their fight. This is a tale of astounding bravery, ingenuity and strength.David's writing is accessible and his artwork full of rich detail, bringing to life the many vivid characters of the women's suffrage movement – from the militant activist and wheelchair user Rosa May Billinghurst to the world-famous Emmeline Pankhurst, Millicent Fawcett and Emily Wilding Davison.Covering the whole range of female and male suffragist experiences – from aristocrats to the middle and working class as well as a look at the global struggle for universal suffrage, Suffragette: The Battle for Equality makes a fantastic introduction to a fascinating topic. David Roberts' exquisite artwork and clear, exceptionally well-researched text make this the perfect gift.This 128 page book is fully colour illustrated on every page, and has been completed with advice from June Purvis, Emeritus Professor of Women's and Gender History at the University of Portsmouth.

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