While environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion flies the flag for change across the world, for the world, activists across the globe continue to inspire more and more to stand up and speak out.

What’s even more inspiring is the number of young people joining, or even starting, their own rebellions. Young activists like Greta Thunberg fight for their future and Malala Yousafzai campaigns for all children to have access to education. They have made their marks by refusing to be ignored and demanded action.

Now it’s your turn. The books on this list demonstrate the strength and power of young people; they also echo the sentiment that every voice – young or old – counts.

How To Be Extraordinary by Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Not a bad book to pick up if you’d like to follow in the footsteps of the Gretas and Malalas of this world – and we mean that; the title of this book says it all. Prepare to be inspired by the real-life stories of some of those who have gone down in history. This book features 15 astonishing people like David Attenborough, Mo Farah, Keiko Fukuda, Frida Kahlo, Abdul Kalam, Judith Kerr, and Michelle Obama. Whoever you are, whoever you want to be, this book will show you how to start your own extraordinary story today. 

Extraordinary Lives

Dig deeper into the lives of extraordinary figures throughout history. This series focuses the stories of game-changers like Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama, and Mary Seacole. Take Rosa Parks for example in The Extraordinary Life of Rosa Parks. A black woman – who faced unimaginable odds – took on the whole world the day she chose to refuse her seat to a white person on a bus in 1955. Her strength in that single moment triggered the modern civil rights movement and changed the world forever. 

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, Malala tells her own tremendous story and paints a picture with her words and metaphors, describing the magic pencil she once dreamed of as a child; the pencil that could make anything and everything happen for the better. Malala’s fight for equality and the right to an education has inspired a generation, and this book is a beautiful reminder that we all deserve to be heard in this world. 

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

They're brave. They're bold. They changed the world. These 40 trailblazing black women have made huge impacts on world history, setting in motion enormous changes individually. All of them broke down boundaries and had their voices heard, and this book echoes the impacts they’ve made. Little Leaders tells real-life stories of both iconic black females and lesser-known ones, including nurse Mary Seacole, politician Diane Abbott, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and singer Shirley Bassey. 

Florence and the Mischievous Kitten by Megan Rix

Get ready for a uniquely inspirational re-imagining of the life of a woman whose kindness, determination and selflessness have gone down in history – Florence Nightingale. Her story is told through the eyes of her young ward in Florence and the Mischievous Kitten. Set in the summer of 1888, runaway kitten Scamp is discovered by young protestor Beth, who soon learns that Scamp belongs to none other than Florence Nightingale. Once Beth and Florence meet, the three of them (Scamp too!) quickly embark on a turbulent tale of friendship. An enchanting, fictional read to get you acquainted with one of history’s gentle heroes. 

And for older readers...

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

A more advanced read for those looking for a step up into YA. That being said – ‘inspiring’ isn’t an impactful enough word for Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses. There is much to be learnt in this classic tale of star-crossed lovers. Sephy - a cross - and Callum - a nought - are trapped in a world where noughts and crosses are segregated and fated to be bitter enemies. Despite love being out of the question, neither can help but fight for equality and the right to love one another.

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