To celebrate Women's History Month we have compiled a list of nine books that explore incredible and inspiring women in history across different disciplines and eras, from writing, to photography, filmmaking, archaeology, science, technology, mathematics, social activism and sport.

 

These are all inspiring real life stories with lots of scope for follow-up activities and we have included teaching resources for two of these books, which were included in our Hooks into Books packs for schools.


To order single copies of these books please visit our virtual bookshop and if you are a school wishing to purchase a full set please email learning@sevenstories.org.uk

 


Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff & Simona Ciraolo, Chronicle Books (5+)
 

KS2 teaching resources for Lights! Camera! Alice!

Meet Alice Guy-Blaché. She made movies—some of the very first movies, and some of the most exciting! Blow up a pirate ship? Why not? Crawl into a tiger's cage? Of course! Leap off a bridge onto a real speeding train? It will be easy! Driven by her passion for storytelling, Alice saw a potential for film that others had not seen before, allowing her to develop new narratives, new camera angles, new techniques, and to surprise her audiences again and again. With daring and vision, Alice Guy-Blaché introduced the world to a thrilling frontier of imagination and adventure, and became one of filmmaking's first and greatest innovators. Mara Rockliff tells the story of a girl who grew up loving stories and became an acclaimed storyteller and an inspiration in her own right.

My Story: Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan by Sufiya Ahmed, Scholastic (9+)
 

KS2 teaching resources for Noor Inayat Khan

My Story: Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan is the thrilling story of British-Indian World War Two heroine, Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan. It’s 1940 and hundreds of families are being forced to flee Nazi-occupied France. Noor refuses to stand by while Nazi forces invade her home and terrorise her people, so she travels to England and signs up to join the war efforts, despite her mother’s wishes. It isn’t long before her talents are noticed and she is chosen by Winston Churchill to sneak back into France as an undercover agent. Noor returns home – but this time, as a secret agent… Can Noor keep her true identity hidden, report her findings back to London and help the Allies win the war?

 

Mary and Frankenstein: The True Story of Mary Shelley by Linda Bailey & Júlia Sardà, Andersen Press (7+) 
 

It began with a girl named Mary. She liked to daydream and imagine. And she grew up to write Frankenstein.

The inspirational true story of the great writer Mary Shelley, brought to life for children in this stunning picture book by multi-award winning author Linda Bailey and with beautiful illustrations from Julia Sarda. Mary loves stories, but the stories in her daydreams are far more thrilling than those in any book. One dark and stormy night Mary huddles around the fire with friends, telling ghost stories.

But Mary knows she can write much better than those! After learning about electricity that can make dead frogs twitch, she has a nightmare that triggers the birth of one of the greatest scary stories of all time: Frankenstein

 

Harriet Tubman by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Pili Aguado, Frances Lincoln (5+)
 

Part of the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad conductor who 'never lost a single passenger.' Little Harriet was born into slavery on a plantation in Maryland. Though life was hard, Harriet persisted. She used all of her strength and bravery to escape slavery and journey north on the Underground Railroad.

Harriet made the dangerous mission back to the South many times, fighting her whole life to bring others with her to freedom. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the abolitionist's life.

 

Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons, Andersen Press (9+)
 

Ordinary is what most people are and I am not. I am not ordinary at all. I am a scientist.

One stormy night, a group of villagers are struck by lightning. The only survivor is a baby - Mary Anning. From that moment on, a spark is lit within her.

Growing up poor but proud on the windswept Dorset coast, Mary follows after her father, hunting for fossils uncovered by waves and landslips: ancient creatures, turned to stone. Ignoring other people's taunts, Mary faces danger to bring back valuable treasures to help feed her family. But tragedy and despair is never far away.

Mary must depend upon her unique courage and knowledge to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist in a time when girls have no opportunities for such ambitions. What will happen when she makes her greatest discovery of all...?

 

The Bluest of Blues by Fiona Robinson, Abrams (7+)
 

After losing her mother very early in life, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was raised by her loving father. He gave her a scientific education, which was highly unusual for women and girls in the early 19th century. Fascinated with the plant life around her, Anna became a botanist.

She recorded all her findings in detailed illustrations and engravings, until the invention of cyanotype photography in 1842. Anna used this new technology in order to catalogue plant specimens-a true marriage of science and art. In 1843, Anna published the book Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions with handwritten text and cyanotype photographs.

It is considered the first book of photographs ever published. Weaving together histories of women, science, and art, The Bluest of Blues will inspire young readers to embark on their own journeys of discovery and creativity.

 

Yusra Swims by Julie Abery and Sally Deng, Creative Company (7+)
 

Yusra Mardini loves to swim. Growing up in Damascus, she is just a girl with a dream: to swim for her country in the Olympic Games. But when war erupts in her country, she is forced to flee.

In spare, rhyming verse, Yursa Swims tells the true story of one girl's journey from her beloved home in Syria to Germany. We follow her to the Turkish coast, where she boards a small, crowded boat across the Aegean Sea to Greece. When the boat begins to sink, Yusra swims, helping to push the boat and all of her fellow refugees safely to shore.

Her journey continues from Greece, through Europe, on foot, by car, bus and train, all the way to Germany. Here Yusra swims again, and is able to realise her dreams.
 

I, Ada by Julia Gray, Andersen Press (12+)
 

Ada Byron is rich and clever, but she longs to be free. Free to explore all the amazing ideas that come to her imagination, like flying mechanical horses and stories inspired by her travels. Free to find love and passion beyond the watchful gaze of her mother and governesses.

And free to learn the full truth about her father, the notorious Lord Byron. Then Ada meets a man whose invention might just change the world - and he needs her visionary brilliance to bring it to life . . . A wonderfully witty and poignant portrayal of the young life of Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century mathematician who is hailed as the world's first computer programmer.

 

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk, Macmillan Children’s Books (5+)
 

Katherine Johnson is the mathematical genius who helped make the historic Apollo 11 moon landings possible and made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely when the mission was in critical danger. As a child, Katherine loved to count.

She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about maths, about the universe . . .

Helaine Becker interviewed Katherine and her family for this authorized biography. From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the true story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who went above and beyond what was expected of her in the 1960s, saving lives and making enormous contributions to history.