This week, the school celebrated International Women’s Day. The English Department wanted to put together some recommended reads that are either by, or that feature, interesting and inspirational women. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction books that celebrate the power of girls. Some of the books are linked to what the students have been studying in their English lessons, but they would be suited for other years too! Take a look!
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
In Year 8, we have been studying ‘Out of this World’ texts and this non-fiction book is a perfect way to learn more about the women who made it possible for man to walk on the moon!
This true story looks at the bright, talented African-American women who worked for NASA as ‘Human Computers’, using pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
One of these mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, is also the focus of ‘Counting on Katherine’ which is suited to younger readers. Some students may even have chosen to focus on her for the STEM bunting in their form rooms!
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
and a retelling by Tanya Landman
In Year 9’s ‘Iridescent Adolescent’ unit of work, they read an extract from the classic novel Jane Eyre.
This dark and brooding tale follows young Jane along her journey to independence.
There is also a brilliant retelling of this story by Tanya Landman, which takes the tale and makes it more accessible for younger readers. If your interest was piqued by the extracts we looked at in class, try the rest of the story! The boarding school is only the beginning…
I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
Students may recognise Malala Yousafzai from the 20’s corridor in school, where she is featured as someone who embodies our school values!
Year 7 have also been reading extracts from Malala’s book in their English Lessons this term. This truly inspirational young woman fought for girls’ rights to have an education and is a wonderful reminder of how brave and strong girls can be.
Here are some more recommended reads for ages 13+, collected by the National Literacy Trust:
Things a Bright Girl Can Do, Sally Nicholls (Andersen Press)
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Noughts & Crosses, Malorie Blackman (Penguin)
Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question. Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other. But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come.
Becoming, Michelle Obama (Penguin)
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.
Break The Fall, Jennifer Lacopelli (Penguin)
A fiercely told survivorship novel about one girl’s determination to push her body to win gold at the Olympics, and the power of uniting as women to speak out.
The publishers, Penguin Random House, have also put together a list of 45 books about ‘Women Who Changed the World’ which can be found online. It’s amazing to hear about the diverse range of women who have impacted the world!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Miss Starkie, English Department