Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Suffragette Centenary 2018


100 years ago marked an incredible change in British history. Groups of women were finally given the right to vote after years of campaigning and protesting. As the great-granddaughter of a prominent suffragette, equality is something close to my heart. Books featuring strong and fearless heroines are becoming more and more popular. But did you know that there was a time when women would publish under a male name for fear they wouldn’t be taken seriously? Thankfully, today some of our best loved authors are women and they write about bold and courageous heroines in a way that encourages girls to be proud of who they are. This month’s blog will showcase the best female writers of today that have written about strong girls                                                                

1.      Jacqueline Wilson- Opal Plumstead
Undoubtedly one of the most popular author’s today, Jacqueline Wilson is renowned for her female protagonists. Opal Plumstead tells the story of a clever, determined girl in the early 1900s who dreams of going to university. However, her father is sent to prison and she must work instead to support her family. It is whilst at work that she is introduced to Mrs Roberts, who shows her the world of the Suffragettes and the rights they fight for.
2.       Louisa May Alcott- Little Women
Little Women is a classic. Meg, Beth, Jo and Amy live with their mother and father, but when their father is sent away to war, the women are forced to gain independence and take care of themselves. The girls journey from childhood, to adulthood experiencing their fair share of troubles and fun along the way. 

3.       Malorie Blackman- The Noughts and Crosses Trilogy
Sephy is a Cross. Callum is a Nought. Crosses are the superior race and rule over the lowly Noughts who act as their servants. Sephy and Callum have been friends since birth, but in a world full of prejudice, violence and racism, their friendship struggles and the pair must overcome the rigid views of the adults to stay friends.

4.       Frances Hodgson Burnett- A Little Princess
Another classic, A Little Princess tells the story of Sara Crewe, who moves from India to London as a rich princess, laden in velvet and expensive clothes. But when her father dies, she is thrown into poverty. She becomes a beggar and has to do hard work just to survive. Only her imagination and the kindness from others gets her through.

5.       Cressida Cowell- The Emily Brown Stories
Aimed at young readers, these books follow Emily Brown, a gutsy and headstrong young girl who overcomes challenges and struggles thrown at her. My personal favourite is That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, where The Queen decides to take her favourite rabbit and replace him with a beautiful brown bear. Emily is livid. She marches straight to the Queen and demands to see her rabbit. Little does she know that her rabbit isn’t quite the same as it was… 

6.       Beatrix Potter- The Tale of Kitty in Boots
Most famous for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Kitty in Boots was only discovered a couple of years ago, over 100 years after it was written. Potter was a self-confessed feminist, and this story shows the strong nature of girls even though it was written at a time when women weren’t seen this way.  It tells the story of Miss Kitty who leads a daring double life defeating villains.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Suffragettes or reading books with strong female leads, here are some suggestions of books you might find interesting: 

The following collection of books are also perfect for younger readers. The little people, big dreams series tell the stories of famous women through history who have made a difference. You’ll even find one on Emmeline Pankhurst:

This post was written by Lucy Taylor, one of our IGCSE English tutors at Blackhen Education.