I recently created a list of children’s books with a lead, or equal lead, female character. I was, in part, inspired to do this by the BBC TV show, No more Boys and Girls. I asked parents for their book suggestions and they had so many wonderful books to recommend. Read the full list here.
In No More Boys And Girls, I was hugely impressed by the positive impact that relatively simple changes (including swapping books) had made to both the girls and the boys in the school. The children featured were seven years old but, as you will see, the books they read would appeal to a range of ages from 3-10 years old.
I looked everywhere for an official list of the books used in the classroom on the BBC show but couldn’t find one.
So I decided to create my own.
Interestingly only two of these books also made it into my parent-recommended list of books. I’m not sure why that might be?
Did you watch the show? If not, it is still available on the BBC iPlayer (for a very limited time), and Episode 1 is also available here. Please let me know if I missed any books or if you would like to share your thoughts on any of these books. Which of these books do you and your children enjoy?
Many thanks to those parents (Catherine, Sarah, Emma) for sending me the No More Boys and Girls book titles, and to my mum who watched and rewatched the first episode too!
I hope you and your children – girls and boys – enjoy these books. Happy reading!
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Dogs Don’t Do Ballet
‘Biff is not like ordinary dogs. He doesn’t do dog stuff like peeing on lampposts, scratching his fleas or drinking out of toilets. If you throw him a stick, he’ll just look at you like you’re crazy. No, Biff is no ordinary dog. Biff likes moonlight and music and walking on his tiptoes. You see, Biff doesn’t think he’s a dog, Biff thinks he’s a ballerina, which is all very well . . . But dogs don’t do ballet – do they?’
Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly
‘This very simple text is about two friends, Sue and Nick, who like different colours but are still good friends. The artwork is stunning with each artist contributing alternate pages in their own inimitable style. The deceptively simple text is perfect for children learning to read.’
‘Pat the bat decides to be special… a SUPERBAT! But he soon realises this is harder than it looks. All his bat friends have amazing hearing. All of them can fly. And all bats can find their way in the dark. Pat is starting to think that he will never stand out – until a family of mice see him for what he really is… A HERO!’.
The Great Googly Moogly
‘Nobody has ever been able to catch The Great Googly Moogly – a giant and terrifying fish of legend. But Stella aims to do just that. Armed with fishing gear and differing baits, she sets out every day to realise her dream, whatever the weather. But what will she do if she succeeds?’ This book ‘features a strong and spirited character determined to achieve her goal, but it also reflects our responsibilities to other creatures, and our place in the natural world.’
‘Pearl Power is a feisty five-year-old who believes very strongly in girl and boy equality. Her first adventure sees her moving house and changing school whilst remaining clever, strong and kind. Upon meeting one boy who seems to think that boys are better than girls, she teaches him a lesson in girl power, as well as in kindness.’
“She’s a princess and she wears pink, but she turns into a superhero and saves the day! This is one of the very few princesses that I’m happy for my daughter to have in her life.”
Both of these books were used in the show, and this pink covered version includes both books. If you have a pink-phobic boy (yes I know they exist!) then you can get The Princess in Black as a standalone book with a blue cover. #pickyourbattles
‘In her dreams, Bailey is a young girl. Every night she dreams about magical dresses. Unfortunately, when Bailey wakes up, nobody wants to hear about her beautiful dreams. This is because Bailey is a boy and shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. Then Bailey meets an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s dreams and courage. Eventually they start making dresses together that represent Bailey’s dreams coming to life.’
‘It’s not easy being the daughter of Captain Hook. Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of following in his footsteps – but her grandfather sends her to finishing school instead. When her father meets his unfortunate end, Jocelyn sails to Neverland to avenge his death. But she hadn’t bargained on ticking crocodiles, lazy pirates and a troublemaking boy called Peter Pan.’
Really Horrible History Facts
‘History is a treasure trove of bizarre facts from the downright gruesome to the simply hilarious. This volume explores multiple eras for some revolting and awesome trivia. Gross-out humor and silly illustrations will keep any young reader engaged from cover to cover.’