Here's a list of some of our favourite non-fiction books with inspiring heroines for older girls and young teens.
Author: Marley Dias with Siobhan McGowan
Marley Dias describes her campaign to find 1,000 books featuring black girl protagonists, and also provides insight on what it is to be a young social activist in the present day. Inspiring stuff.
Author: Kay Woodward
Publisher: Carlton Books
In this collection of women’s stories from across history and the present day, Kay Woodward introduces the reader to 25 heroines from around the world: featuring awe-inspiring artists, scientists and political activists, among others.
Author: Michaela and Elaine De Prince
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Michaela takes the reader with her from the joys and struggles of her early life in Sierra-Leone to the challenges and delights of her life in America.
Author: Lucy Sutcliffe
A real-life memoir about a young person coming to terms with her sexuality and her 'coming out', as well as her first relationship, this is a positive and upbeat read about being comfortable in your own skin that will inspire any young person.
Author: Michelle Roehm McCann and Amelie Welden
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
This fun and fascinating collection celebrates women who left their mark on history before the age of 20. Featuring a diverse range of women, and written in a chatty style, this book will inspire any girl (or boy) to go out there and rock the world themselves.
Author: Lisbeth Kaiser Illustrator: Marta Antelo
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
The Little People, Big Dreams series does it again: this book about Rosa Parks is yet another astounding and eye-welling read that will make you cheer on a historical icon.
Author: Laurie Wallmark Illustrator: Katy Wu
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
The inspiring story of Grace Hopper: someone who revolutionised computer science and used her sparky sense of humour to make up the term “computer bug”. A great read for children in need of inspiration when it comes to science and maths.
Author: Chelsea Clinton Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: Puffin/Philomel Books
Featuring simply-told stories and glorious illustrations, this book about incredible, determined women from around the world is sure to inspire a generation of young readers.
Author: Katherine Halligan Illustrator: Sarah Walsh
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Celebrated in this lavish hardback, the stories of 50 great women redefine their “herstory”, from disability activist Helen Keller to Indian poet, singer and saint Mira Bai and Aboriginal Australian Olympic athlete Cathy Freeman.
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
This is the real life story of one of the most incredible and inspirational young people in the world. Reading this book might just change the way you think and feel.
Author: Vashti Harrison
This beautiful and profound book chronicles the struggles and achievements of historic and contemporary black women. Not just for girls, this is an inspiring book for any child as it shows how determination, ambition and hard work can bring important change.
Author: Adam & Lisa Murphy
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Adam Murphy interviews 18 amazing women from history. With a casual, chatty style and colourful comic-strip illustrations, this unique, accessible and slightly macabre series is packed full of humour and fascinating facts.
Author: Dorling Kindersley
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
Featuring a thoroughly diverse selection of women from varied points in history and across many cultures and disciplines, this is an excellent (and empowering) guide for children about the women who helped shape the world we experience today.
Author: Josephine Poole Illustrator: Angela Barrett
Publisher: Random House
This account of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and Anne Frank's family's hiding in a secret annexe to escape them, is sensitively told.
Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
Publisher: Abrams and Chronicle
Danza! explores the life of one of the most celebrated dancers and choreographers in the 20th Century, Amalia Hernandez, and the formation of the world-famous dance company Folkloric Ballet.
Author: Karen Lynn Williams Photographer Wendy Stone
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
This is a photographic commentary on the harsh reality of life for some of the world's poorest people and how education is seen as the main escape route from a lifetime of struggle.
Author: Linda Bailey & Julia Sarda
Publisher: Andersen Press
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is credited with having invented the science fiction genre. But many adults and very few children will know the fascinating story of her life. A great introduction to Mary, a teen girl writing in a man’s world.
Author: Marjane Satrapi Translator: Blake Ferris
Persepolis is Satrapi's history of Iran and her life in Iran and France as she tries to retain her Iranian culture but also grow up and become independent.
Author: Patricia Valdez Illustrator: Felicita Sala
Publisher: Andersen Press
This amazing and deeply inspiring story of a largely unknown scientist – and pioneer of the care of Komodo dragons – is a fascinating read, beautifully illustrated.
Author: Verna Wilkins
A clear and concise biography of the Children's Laureate which will inspire children to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. This biography may also inspire children to read more of Blackman's work.
Author: Rachel Ignotofsky
Publisher: Wren & Rook
The 50 women profiled in this book are leaders in their fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Thoroughly inspiring and informative, in a fun and stylish illustrated format: a must for every child.