Books to feel Empowered to this International Women's Day

Veronica Yoo
10 March, 2021

It’s International Women’s Day! What better way to celebrate womanhood than reading and hearing stories about some extraordinary women who have helped shaped us today. From classic novels to children’s book to autobiographies of some of the world’s most incredible women, we list six books from our library that we would love to share with you. So get yourself a cup of coffee and buckle down with these amazing stories that have just yet to be told.

Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverly Naidoo

Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverly Naidoo is a great book to share with your children this International Women’s Day. Journey to Jo’Burg is a story of two siblings finding their way to their Mma when they find their baby sister suddenly sick. Together, they walk across Johannesburg to search for their mother. It isn’t until they finally reach Jo’burg that they see up close what life is like for black citizens across South Africa—and begin to really question the unfair and dangerous laws of apartheid. Despite being a children’s book, it contains heavy themes which are great to converse with your children about and we’re sure you’ll also have some takeaways from this book.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

If you’re familiar with our book recommendations, then you’d probably know by now we can’t miss out on a classic novel. To celebrate International Women’s Day we can think of any other classic character than the classic literature heroine, Jane Eyre. There’s a lot to like about her (and some tiny bits we don’t), she’s seeming plain and socially awkward but she’s also smart, independent and passionate. Bronte aimed to reject the convention of beautifying the heroine and wanted to portray her as a relatable female protagonist, and that she did. The way Bronte brings Jane Eyre is unlike any other through her writing style of confiding to the readers her innermost thoughts and passions.

 I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban is an autobiographical book by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Christina Lamb. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. This extraordinary autobiography runs us through the chapter of Malala’s strive for the right to education which took her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

Columnist and writer Vanessa Hua debut novel, A River of Stars, tells the story of motherhood, immigration and identity as a pregnant woman makes her way to California from China to claim her American dream. A River of Stars is an entertaining, wildly unpredictable adventure, told with empathy and wit. It’s a vivid examination of home and belonging, and a moving portrayal of a woman determined to build her own future.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us. In her autobiography, Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were “thunder.” In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety–perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks.

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