Holiday gift guide: 8 books for every gender equality activist

Books make the perfect stocking stuffer! And when you choose a read that amplifies the voices of girls and promotes gender equality, you really can’t go wrong.

Whether you’re holiday shopping for the feminist bookworm in your life, wanting to help a loved one understand more about the injustices that girls face or just looking for a bit of inspiration for yourself — we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top book recommendations for readers young and old that will bring hope and show the power of girls and women in every corner of the world.

1.    The Girl With the Louding Voice

By Abi Daré

Adunni, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl, wants to get an education and escape a life of poverty. But when her father forces her to marry a man she doesn’t know and become his third wife, her dreams — and freedom — are put on pause. None of that silences Adunni or stops her from standing up for herself, and for other girls like her. Her story is the aftermath of hope never lost.

The Girl with the Louding Voice

Want to donate a holiday gift to a girl in need? Shop Plan USA’s Gifts of Hope like School Kits, Menstrual Health Kits or School Fees!  


2.     Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and a Plea for Peace

By Bana Alabed

Bana is a 7-year-old girl from Syria. When the civil war broke out, her childhood ended — she knew nothing but violence and fear, and her family endlessly suffered. After her home was destroyed, her family embarked on a dangerous journey to seek refuge in Turkey. This book tells Bana’s story, mostly in her own words, and unveils the resilience of girls during humanitarian crises.


3. Unbowed: A Memoir

By Wangari Maathai

This is the story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s journey, from her childhood in Kenya to becoming one of the world’s leading environmentalists. Wangari was one of few girls in her village able to go to school, and it led her to a university degree. But when she returned home to work in Kenya, she faced the brutality under the Moi presidency, which compelled her to start the Green Belt Movement — helping restore forests and paying women in rural communities to plant trees. Wangari’s work for women’s empowerment spread across Africa, and her unique story leaves readers optimistic and moved.

Unbowed A Memoir

4.     The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

By Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates has spent the last 20 years helping people with the most urgent needs find solutions to their hardships. Through her work, it has become clear to her that if you want to lift a community up, you need to clear the path for women and girls to lift themselves up. The Moment of Lift tells stories of the women Melinda has met during her travels around the world, presents data backing the gender issues that need our attention and provides a clear message on the power of connection.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

5. Sold

By Patricia McCormick

Lakshmi is a 13-year-old girl in Nepal. She’s living in extreme poverty, but she enjoys her life — she loves playing hopscotch with her best friend and her mother brushing her hair. When the Himalayan monsoons wash away her family’s crops, she has no other option but to give up her childhood to get a job and support her family. But when she takes a job as a maid in India, she learns, too late, that she’s been trafficked. Her story is one of both survival and triumph.


6.     I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

By Malala Yousafzai

The Taliban said girls couldn’t go to school, but Malala went anyway. She was taught to always stand up for what she believes, so she fought for her education — and the education of all girls. Her father always encouraged her to get an education, too, regardless of their community’s stance. But while riding the school bus home one day, she was shot because of her advocacy and nearly lost her life. Her story will show you the true power of a girl’s voice.

The Other Side

7. Watch Us Rise

By Renée Watson

Two best friends, Jasmine and Chelsea, are fed up with the way that girls and women are treated. Even at their progressive high school in New York City, gender inequality is impossible to ignore. So, they turn their frustration into action by forming a Women’s Rights Club. On the club’s website, they share their experiences of being girls, and their stories even go viral. But when critics of their club surface in real life, their principal demands the club be shut down. They risk everything to keep their voices from being silenced.

Watch Us Rise

8.     Dear Ijeaqwele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How do you raise a child to be a feminist? Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a friend who asked her this very question, and this book is her answer. In 15 suggestions, Chimamanda gives her funny and direct guidance on how we can plant seeds of feminism and help girls become women who feel empowered in our world. For readers both with children of their own or without, this is an invaluable read on the women’s issues that stem from childhood.

Dear Ijeaqwele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions