9 Books You Will Love If You Believe In Girls’ Right to Education

Whether you are a believer in a girl’s right to education or helping a dear one understand more about the injustices faced by girls in terms of accessing basic rights, we have got you covered. Here are 9 popular books for girls’ right to education, which will give the readers insightful knowledge about this grave issue. 

1. Beatrice’s Goat, by Page McBrier

Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching picture book shows how a gift changes the fate of a poor Ugandan family, especially the young girl who was desperate to go to school. 

More than anything, 9-year-old Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But her small African village was poverty-stricken and only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice was too mature and understood that with a family of six children, her family is too poor. But then her life-changing miracle happens and she receives a wonderful gift from some people far away – a goat!

Fat and healthy as a ripe mango, the goat gives milk that Beatrice can sell and make enough money. With Mugisa’s help, Beatrice’s dream may come true. The author, Page McBrier beautifully recounts this story about how a young girl, given the right tools, can lift her family out of poverty. Beatrice Goat was one of the award-winning New York Times bestselling books. Apart from it, she is the author of 44 more books for young readers including abracadabra tut. This lovely story of Beatrice is a great reminder that not everybody has equal access to education and girls’ right to education is still a goal to achieve in many places. 

2. Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil is a novel about girls’ right to education for young minds who wish to explore the Darfur genocide.

The story is of a 12-year-old young girl Amira who lives with Dando, Muma, and her little sister on a vegetable farm.  They grow crops on their farm and have sheep to take care of. Amira has a desperate will to go to school but her mother feels that school is of no use to her as she is expected to be married off soon. Her mother is no different but like most in the village – bounded by tradition. So she thinks marriage and farm work are more important but Amira is resilient with an argument that her mother is locked in a hut of tradition with no windows for letting in fresh ideas.

So the Red Pencil depicts the conflicts of the Darfur story through the eyes of a girl. The whys of the conflict are not deeply explored; instead, it focuses on the trauma faced by Amira, her mother, and other survivors. The author captures the character’s distress in a straightforward manner. It is a sensitive and well-crafted novel conveying the beauty of tribal life in western Sudan as well as the brutality of a conflict that has affected millions. 

3. Virgie Goes To School With US Boys, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

It is a story of a girl who dates back to the post-civil war era of the South. The main character Virgie is the youngest in the family of four brothers vows that she will also accompany her brothers one day when they walk seven miles to their school every Monday morning. She is insistent but her siblings keep saying that she is too little for the long seven-mile walk and that girls don’t need school. This story takes us past the mill, the stream, the woods, and finally to the school where she wishes to read every single book. 

The illustrations with light and dark colors are beautiful, allowing the greens of the forest and meadow and the rich brown skin tones of the characters to make a sparkling series of images. Virgie’s strong ambitions will not be thwarted by any means as learning is her dream and she’s not gonna let anything stand in her way. A realistic fantasy, this story talks about a time that not a lot of students learn about in the civil war times.

4. Separate Is Never Equal, by Duncan Tonatiuh

Separate is never equal tells the story of a girl named Sylvia Mendez and her family living in California in the 1940s. At that time the schools in California and Mexican American and Latino children were not allowed to go to school with white children. It depicts the difficulties faced by the Mendez and Latinx family who fought to desegregate schools. When her aunt tried to enroll Sylvia, her brothers, and two cousins in a school, she was only handed two enrollment forms for her brothers who appeared white. She was told that it was against the rules and regulations for them to attend the local public school. 

The Mendez family took a stand to fight for equal education opportunities for their children and everyone who faced discrimination in their town. It is a powerful boom with a true representation of segregation between schools. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be.  

5. With The Might Of Angels, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Pinkney paints a vivid picture of a 12-year-old girl who is athletic, fun-loving, and full of dreams. She looks up to Jackie Robinson and is very much protective of her autistic younger brother. Her life turns upside down when the supreme court ruled in favor of desegregation in the landmark case Brown vs Board of Education. Her parents decided that she will go to a previously all-white school – Prettyman Coburn. The problem was that she will be the only one among all her friends to enroll in this new school. 

Not everyone in the town of Virginia supports integration and is outraged by the decision. The moment Dawnie starts school, she encounters the harsh realities of racism. The backlog against her arrival at Prettyman is more than what she is prepared for and this made her wonder if the hardship is worth it. Though the author holds back from using the most hurtful language, she manages to capture the fear, humiliation, frustration, and pain of Dawnie and her family, also capturing their victories, humor, and personality. 

6. Don’t Say Ain’t, by Irene Smalls

This picture book by Irene Smalls has a very interesting story about an African-American child who can go to a private school with Caucasian students. The writing of the book highlights a very obvious cultural difference in the mannerisms and the way of speaking of the characters. In the beginning, Dana plays “jumping rope” with her friends while reciting rhymes in which the word “ain’t” is being warned against as Dana’s godmother yells at them for using such improper words. She thinks others will judge them on the manner of their speech. 

Godmother announced that Dana is going to an advanced school to become a doctor and this caused her friends to have a fallout until they realized that going to an advanced school does not mean that they cannot stay good friends. This book could be valuable in allowing people to see that they may not be the only ones with misunderstandings due to different lifestyles. 

7. Ruby’s Wish, by Shirin Yim Bridges

Ruby is a girl living in China in the early nineteenth century. She was unlike most little girls in Old China and instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up. Her grandfather made his fortune on the Gold Fields and as per the customs of that time, he had many wives and many sons that lived together in a magnificent home. Being a generous man, her grandfather provided lessons to all his children. 

Despite this thinking, things are always not equal for boys and girls. Ruby observes that girls are expected to learn cooking, keeping house, and embroidery while the house is free to play after class. Based on the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother along with detailed illustrations, Ruby’s wish is a portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage with their support. 

8. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter

Nasreen watches her father being taken away by the Taliban and then loses her mother while she goes in search of her disappeared husband. Left alone with her grandmother, young Nasreen has not spoken a word to anyone since her parents disappeared. In this helpless situation, her grandmother risks everything to enroll Nasreen in a secret school for girls. This step taken by her leaves everyone with a question – will a dedicated teacher, new friends, and the whole world she discovers in books be enough to draw Nasreen out of her shell of sadness?

This book bears witness to the true experiences of real people in Afghanistan, barely surviving despite the devastating and dangerous restrictions of the Taliban. This book touches readers deeply as it affirms both – the life-changing power of education and the magical healing power of love! It is a true representation of the denial of a basic right to education for girls. 

9. Malala, A Brave Girl from Pakistan, by Jeanette Winter

This illustrated picture book is a biography of two young Pakistani heroes – Malala Yousafzai and Iqbal Masih from acclaimed non-fiction author Jeanette Winter. 

Two stories of bravery, combined in one single book. The two young heroes from Pakistan stood up for the right to freedom and education and both were unafraid to speak out. Iqbal stood against the inhumane child slavery in the carpet trade and Malala raised her voice for the right of young girls to attend school. Both were shot by those who disagreed with their thoughts and opposition. Iqbal lost his life instantly while Malala miraculously survived and continued to speak around the world for the same cause.   

The stories of these two audacious children whose bravery transcended their youth are an inspiration to all and hence this book should be read by all. 

Listing these 9 popular books for girls’ right to education together for the people interested in reading about the status women get in foreign nations, Educate Girls NGO focuses on advocating on a local level for the same cause. The agenda of educating everyone about the basic rights of females and ensuring that they must start practicing them in real life requires a lot of effort and support from the audience. Join our hands for this informative revolution and stand together so that even a little effort starts making a change.

Donate to Educate Girls and let’s create more Malalas!

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