A flatlay of children's books against a red background

How many have you read? Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers by Michelle Obama (2021)

Young readers can now enjoy the former first lady’s amazing story of growing up on Chicago’s South Side before going on to become a celebrated lawyer and role model for women. This adaptation of her bestselling memoir, which includes new photographs and a special introduction, gives an honest account of the ups and downs of Michelle Obama’s life. From her first steps, first school, first kiss, and first love, all the way to the White House and becoming America’s first lady. This is a book about discovering who you are and learning that no one is perfect. This is the perfect book to read and then share with friends and family.

Recommended reading age: 10+ years old

One Hundred Reasons To Hope by Danielle Brown & Adam Larkum (2021)

Captain Sir Tom Moore raised millions of pounds for the NHS when he walked 100 laps of his garden in 2020. This book celebrates his heartwarming story as well as those of 100 other heroes from across the UK. With beautiful illustrations by Adam Larkum and an introduction by Captain Sir Tom’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, this book includes familiar stories such as Joe Wicks’ free family workouts, as well as stories from everyday heroes like our key workers. The pandemic has been tough for so many but you’ll see that hope can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years old

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman & Loren Long (2021)

Amanda Gorman wowed the world when she appeared as the presidential inaugural youth poet in January 2021. And now her young fans can enjoy her wonderful words at home. This lyrical picture book takes readers on a musical journey where they learn that everyone has the power to create positive changes in the world. The rhythmic text and stunning illustrations from New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long will inspire readers to use their unique abilities to make a difference.

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by Burhana Islam (2020)

Do you know who first thought of the theory of evolution? Or who created the oldest university in the world? If you don’t, then you need to read this incredible collection about amazing Muslims who have changed the world. Read the stories of familiar figures such as Malala Yousafzai, Sir Mo Farah, and Muhammad Ali, before delving into the chronicles of more unknown historical figures, including pirate queens, athletes, warriors, and mathematicians. Their stories of heroics and endeavours will not disappoint.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

The Extraordinary Life of Amelia Earhart by Dr Sheila Kanani & Rachel Corcoran (2020)

Any list of inspirational women of the 20th century has to include Amelia Earhart. The aviation pioneer not only broke flying records, but she was also an author who campaigned for more rights for female pilots. Her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 as she attempted to circumnavigate the globe is still one of the greatest mysteries of the last 100 years. This book celebrating Amelia’s brave and adventurous spirit is a wonderful introduction to this incredible woman and her achievements. All of the books in the Extraordinary Lives series shine a light on inspiring modern and historical figures including Nelson Mandela, Alan Turing, and Katherine Johnson.

Recommended reading age: 7-12 years old

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai & Kerascoët (2019)

Growing up in Pakistan there were many things Malala Yousafzai wanted to change. She wished for a magic pencil she could use to make good things happen for her family and her community. As she got older, Malala could see there were bigger things that needed fixing in the world. While she knew her wish for a magic pencil would not come true, Malala soon realised she could do something to make her dreams come true herself. Malala’s story told alongside beautiful illustrations, will inspire young readers to overcome adversity as well as strive to do their best for themselves and the world they live in.

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

How To Change The World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Annabel Tempest (2021)

In How To Change the World, Rashmi Sirdeshpande shows that together we are stronger. And you’ll definitely be inspired by the incredible things humans can achieve when they work together. Whether it’s securing votes for women or working as a team on the international space station, these 15 astonishing stories in this book will show you there are many different ways we can change the world; big or small. Perhaps you and your friends could change the world too?

Recommended reading age: 6-9 years old

Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris & Mechal Renee Roe (2021)

Kamala Harris realised from a young age that you don’t have to look far to find superheroes. We are surrounded by people doing amazing things, all of the time. The US Vice President shares her childhood experiences with readers in this picture book and shows that we can all be superheroes in our own way. Along with Mechal Renee Roe’s engaging illustrations, this guide to being a hero will have young readers creating their own alter egos before you can say KAPOW!

Recommended reading age: 4-8 years old

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014)

This powerful and unforgettable book tells the story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood growing up as an African-American girl in the 1960s and 1970s. Using vivid and emotive poetry, Jacqueline shares the story of how she felt living between New York and South Carolina but never really feeling settled in either. It follows her as she begins the search for her inner voice and her identity which would lead her to become an award-winning writer of over 30 books for children and young people.

Recommended reading age: 10+ years old

Climate Rebels by Ben Lerwill (2020)

Saving our planet cannot be down to one individual or even a group of individuals. It is up to all of us to play a part in ensuring our planet is still here for future generations. And this book will inspire you to join the fight. Featuring 25 stories from well-known climate activists such as Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, and Wangari Maathai, you’ll also learn about other heroes who are working hard to protect our rainforests and endangered animals. Life is too precious to stand still and do nothing. These inspiring stories demonstrate how even the smallest of changes can have a large impact.

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

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