IWD 2021: Our pick of the best books and activities to promote girl power

Laura House

Laura House, Education Lead

08 March 2021

In honour of International Women's Day, our Education Lead Laura has compiled a few recommendations of the best books for children of all genders and some fun educational activities you can do alongside them...

Violet the Pilot, by Steve Breen

The book: The story of Violet - an engineer who makes flying machines - is a fantastic read and provides a lovely example of girls excelling in STEM. It presents great opportunities to chat to your children about how things work and come up with some creative inventions.

The activity: Create a flying machine or parachutes for dolls using balloons, string and paper wings. Drop them from a height to see which falls the slowest. There are also some great engineering challenge cards that can be downloaded from the Dyson website for kids who are keen for more science-based activities.

Zog and the Flying Doctors, Julia Donaldson

The book: A cracking read that features the forthright Princess Pearl. She doesn't want to “flounce about in a silly, frilly dress” and would rather be a doctor. Cue Zog the dragon transporting Princess Pearl to all manner of magical medical emergencies.

The activity: This book creates a great opportunity to introduce children to famous female doctors and scientists such as Marie Curie or Florence Nightingale. Talk about their contribution to society and then draw a picture of them at work and chat through what they might have done in their day.

Little People Big Dreams series, Sanchez Vegara

The books: A wonderful series of books to choose from. These books introduce little ones to inspiring figures, past and present. Some of the outstanding female characters you can learn about include Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks.

The activity: Instead of talking about what you want to do when you grow up, ask your children who they want to be when they grow up. This creates an opportunity to talk about character as well as careers they might like the sound of.

Lubna and Pebble, Wendy Meddour

The book: A child-appropriate story about the refugee crisis, the power of friendship and the importance of kindness. Lubna’s best friend is a pebble and the story charts their friendship and her feelings about parting with the pebble in order to help a new friend.

The activity: Go for a walk and hunt for the perfect pebble. Then decorate or paint the pebble and give it to a friend as a gift.

Greta and the Giants, Zoe Tucker

The book: Inspired by Greta Thunberg, this story of a little girl who’s forest home is threatened by giants is a brilliant, age-appropriate introduction to the issue of climate change and conservation.

The activity: Design signs for your bins - rubbish, recycling and compost, including visual depictions of what needs to go in which bin. Whilst they’re crafting, you can discuss why it’s important to reduce waste and recycle.

Photo by Amina Filkins from Pexels

Laura House profile img

Laura House

Education Lead

Laura taught at a primary school in London before joining Teach First, where she trained and coached new teachers and worked on curriculum design. She then worked for the RSA (a think tank and membership organisation), where she led the team that supported a community of 30,000 members around the world. As a mum, she's passionate about messy play and just noodling about exploring stuff. She's also (slowly) working on an illustrated book for children.