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International Women’s Day: 5 Book Recommendations

International Women’s Day takes place on 8th March 2024. From empowering fiction books with strong female leads to non-fiction about real-life inspirational heroines, we take a look at five top books to share with your school community to celebrate International Women’s Day.

childrens books for international women's day

Books for International Women’s Day 2024

International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the globe. This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion and we’ve got the perfect books to top up your collection.

For children, books can provide a powerful springboard to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination and drive action towards gender parity.

From books exploring the under-acknowledged achievements of women in Science and the Arts like Anna Atkins in The Bluest of Blues and Mary Anning in The Fossil Hunter to books celebrating women in sport like Jaz Santos Vs the World and empowering suffragette-inspired anthologies like Make More Noise, there are plenty of books that will challenge and inspire this International Women’s Day and in the weeks that follow.

This blog highlights five top book recommendations to use with children for this year’s International Women’s Day and around the rest of the year, too. The selected books also feature on our Fantastic Females booklist, and schools can purchase full packs of these lists via Peters.


  1. Make More Noise! 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 collection created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first women in the UK gaining the right to vote, with £1 from each sale being donated to the charity Camfed to support women’s education in places where girls have been marginalised. The stories are each 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 own 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 author 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 great book from our Fantastic Females booklist is suitable for boys and girls in Upper KS2 and a worthy addition to every school library – perfect for dipping into on International Women’s Day and all year round.

    Purchase Make More Noise from Amazon or BookShop.

  2. The Fossil Hunter by Kate Winter

    the fossil hunter how mary anning unearthed the truth about the dinosaurs

    The Fossil Hunter by Kate Winter is a gem of a book about pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning. It is a splendid addition for any child learning about Mary Anning, fossils, dinosaurs and what life was like for a working-class woman 200 years ago. The book is hardback, large and begins with a timeline of Mary Anning’s life with page numbers corresponding to different eras.

    This eye-catching book is full of facts and perfect to dip into or read altogether. Topics are highlighted such as the challenges of being a woman in Victorian times, when fair recognition for scientific discovery did not materialise and the unfairness of such lack of recognition. The book shows young readers today why Mary’s story is important in scientific history as well as the history of women’s rights.

    Text is broken up into sections; there are very few large sections of text and is therefore inclusive for all types of readers. The glossary at the end of the book is accessible and interesting. Every page has watercolour illustrations which can spread across whole pages and there are beautiful panoramic fold-out pages where you find out more facts about fossils and dinosaurs or look into Mary’s cabinet.

    This is a highly recommendable book from our Famous Scientists booklist and a great choice to share with children (or any age!) about the inspirational Mary Anning.

    Purchase The Fossil Hunter from Amazon or BookShop.

  3. Women Who Led The Way by Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom

    women who led the way great explorers and adventurersIn ‘Women Who Led the Way’, you are invited into the world of some of the world’s most influential female adventurers. From Iceland to the South Pole, and from the depths of history to outer space, the women of this book have helped to shape the understanding of the universe we have today.

    Each double-page spread invites the reader to engage with a chosen female explorer through a first-person narrative and, whilst written in a way which is accessible for younger readers, each is captivating and inspirational. The illustrations give the reader a sense of the intense focus within each of the women depicted, along with contextual clues about the time and place in which the women lived.

    On each page is a short paragraph which challenges the reader to learn more about another woman who also led the way in their field or some additional insight into the challenges faced by these phenomenal women.

    The anthology format makes this book from our Explorers booklist an excellent choice for independent browsing, focussed research, reading aloud in classrooms during spare 5-minute slots or for use in school assemblies. It is a superb book that could also be used as part of a topic on famous explorers or famous women in history.

    Purchase Women Who Led the Way from Amazon or BookShop.

  4. Jaz Santos vs The World by Priscilla Mante

    A chapter book fiction choice for older readers, this is a fantastic story from our Girls’ Football booklist to capture the rising interest in female football and to celebrate the incredible achievements of women in sports in recent years.

    Jaz Santos vs the World is the first in a series about a girl who gathers an unlikely group of friends together to make their own girls’ football team. This is an inclusive and empowering tale with a real-life feel that will appeal to fans of Cath Howe and Jacqueline Wilson.

    Circumstances in Jaz’s life are starting to feel out of control. She has been in trouble at school, kicked out of dance club and is dealing with the growing cracks in her parents’ relationship, culminating in a house fire and her mum eventually moving out. There’s more on her mind too – Jaz loves football and often plays with the boys at lunchtime, but is excluded from the school team because girls are not allowed to play.

    When Jaz finds a leaflet advertising a girls’ football tournament, she seizes the opportunity to take back some control. Thinking carefully about how to sell the idea to her classmates, Jaz pours heart and soul into rallying a team of girls to prepare for the tournament. From fundraising to training, Jaz leaves no stone unturned – with her passionate hopes of proving that girls can be taken seriously in football matched only by her desire to get mum back.

    With girls’ football growing more popular than ever and the recent successes of the England Lionesses to celebrate, this is an empowering book with a dynamic and entertaining main character who shows what can happen when somebody leads the way in a new sporting initiative. The discrimination against Jaz as a girl wanting to be taken seriously in football feels frustrating and unfair, but Jaz is passionate and triumphant to show what can be achieved with a little determination. Some of the other girls have no interest in the sport before Jaz recruits them to the team, but the story shows how beneficial the opportunity to join in is for them each in different ways. The author Priscilla Mante says of the book, “Girls’ football and women’s football don’t get the attention they should do and it was really important for me, through Jaz, to challenge the status quo.”

    This timely and heart-warming story about teamwork, self-belief and following your passions in the face of life’s ups and downs is likely to score big with readers aged 8-11.

    Purchase Jaz Santos Vs the World from Amazon or BookShop.

  5. The Bluest of Blues by Fiona Robinson

    This is such a beautifully presented picturebook with striking print images and drawings. Although the book features on our Victorians booklist and Art & Artists booklist, at first glance readers can be forgiven for not being sure what the book is going to be about, thinking perhaps this may be a story with a message about moods or feelings. But, unless you are familiar with the name Anna Atkins, and her historical importance, the contents of this pretty book are a pleasant surprise.  

    Anna Atkins is acknowledged to be one of the first women in the world to take a photograph, and one of the first people to publish a book of photographic images. After being given a camera in 1841, Anna was excited by this new process, but it was her introduction to Herschel’s discovery of cyanotype printing that sparked a passion for cyantography; the process of using chemicals that react to sunlight to dye paper and print images. In the book, the author’s own drawings and cyanotypes are combined with reproductions of Anna Atkins’ original work.

    Fiona Robinson chooses to tell Anna’s unique story through a timeline, which is an effective format, highlighting the key moments in her life starting with the loss of her mother as a child through to her successful career as a botanist. Her father, a scientist himself, is represented throughout the book as a passionate role model who continually inspires Anna, as well as encourages her interest in nature and science, which for the time, was unusual for women. This in itself is what makes this such an inspiring book, reminding us of the important role that so many pioneering women in history have contributed to science and art over the years. It also encourages the reader to explore the connections between science and art.

    bluest of blues
    The Bluest of Blues feels very topical and relevant for this generation. The empowerment of women illustrated through Anna’s true story is inspiring and just as important and relevant in education. The rising profile of ‘STEAM’, over ‘STEM’ (where the arts are regarded as equally important amongst science, technology, engineering and maths) makes this story a perfect illustration of the importance of such subjects and also of the role that women have played in the development of science and art, which is nothing but inspirational.

Purchase The Bluest of Blues from Amazon or BookShop


For more ideas of books to support International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled a Fantastic Females booklist.


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