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A colourful cut out image of three young girls with text that reads Protest.

Inspiring books for young people with female protagonists

Like even Hermione is not the main character-is she? – Alice in ‘Protest’

Northern Stage, Fuel, Imaginate and National Theatre Scotland’s upcoming production ‘Protest’ (written by Hannah Lavery) tells the story of three young girls standing up for what they believe in. It’s a new play exploring what it to takes to make a difference, the power of friendship, and the importance of believing in your own voice.

Inspired by the three young female protagonists, we asked our friends Seven Stories (The National Centre for Children’s Books) to share their recommendations of inspiring books for younger readers that have female protagonists. Below are their recommendations, which you can find in the Seven Stories book shop.

Protest is on at Northern Stage from the 27 April – 6 May, before touring. Come and witness this powerful new play that demonstrates how young women can change the world.

 

Image of The Book of Dust Volume Two The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pulman.

The Book of Dust Volume Two – Philip Pulman

From the author of the phenomenal His Dark Materials comes the next chapter in the story of Lyra Silvertongue…

Lyra is now studying at St Sophia’s College, Oxford, with her daemon Pantalaimon. But, for the first time there are serious divisions between the two. When an act of terrible violence breaks the peace of the Oxford night, Lyra and Pan are drawn far from home into the dangerous factions of a world they had no idea existed.

A powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself and to grow up and make sense of the world around you.

 

Image of The Little Match Girl Strikes Back by Emma Carroll and Lauren Child.

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back – By Emma Carroll and Lauren Child

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back is a powerful feminist reworking of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, from bestselling and award-winning creators Emma Carroll and Lauren Child.

Bridie works hard to feed her family, selling matches on the streets of Victorian London. After an incident leaves her with only three matches left, the magical strike of each one sees her tumble into visions of a brighter future. Realizing she has the power to change her own fortune, Bridie leads the match factory works out on strike, achieving the remarkable through their unity and courage.

The story introduces a bold new heroine for future generations to treasure.

 

Image of The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman

The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman

Weaving together hints of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty with a shimmering thread of dark magic, this twist on classic fairytales will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and ventures into the tunnels under the mountatin towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems.

 

Image of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

A story of family, growing up and female strength, Little Women has been loved by readers for generations.

It recounts the adventures of the four March sisters – Meg, the eldest, on the brink of love; Jo, who longs to be a writer above all else; Beth, who always puts others first; and Amy, the youngest and most precocious – who experience adversity, hardship, joy and tragedy on their path to womanhood, and have become some of American fiction’s most beloved characters.

 

Image of Like a Curse by Elle McNicoll

Like a Curse – Elle McNicoll

Stuck in Loch Ness while Edinburgh falls under the control of a terrifyingly powerful Siren, Ramya Knox is frustrated. She’s supposed to be learning magic from her Aunt Opal, but that isn’t going as smoothly as she’d hoped. As she pushes to rescue her Hidden Folk friends in the city, long-buried secrets come to light and legends come to life.

Ramya knows she’s different; she knows she’s a witch. But now she must learn the true meaning of her powers… before all she loves is lost.

Image of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, growing up during the Iranian Revolution.

Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life.

Book You Don't know what war is by Yeva Skalietska

You Don’t Know What War Is – Yeva Skalietska

The gripping and moving diary of a young Ukrainian refugee. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva’s life forever. Whilst she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement Yeva decided to write down her story. And it’s a story the world needs to hear. In this book, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and trabels from Kharkiv to Dublin.

You Don’t Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.

Book your tickets for Protest now

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Zog & The Flying Doctors

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