7 Canadian books to read on the International Day of the Girl

Oct. 11, 2017 is the International Day of the Girl. So celebrate by reading one — or all seven — of these great books about strong young women.

Oct. 11, 2017 is the International Day of the Girl, a day organized by the UN to promote the fulfilment of girls' basic human rights. So celebrate by reading one — or all seven — of these great books about strong young women.

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

S.K. Ali is the author of the YA novel Saints and Misfits. (Andrea Stenson/Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: Janna Yusuf is a sophomore in high school. She sees herself as a misfit who doesn't fit in at home or at school. She also has a crush on a boy who isn't Muslim, which is creating difficulties with her family. When a member of her Muslim community assaults her, she begins to realize that not everyone is who you believe them to be.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

A still from the trailer of the film adaptation of The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. ( Books)

What it's about: The Breadwinner is a young adult novel by Deborah Ellis about an 11-year-old girl named Parvana who lives in Kabul. Unable to earn money as a girl, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to support her family when her father is taken away by the Taliban.

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

Faith Erin Hicks is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel series The Nameless City. (Nathan Boone/First Second Press)

What it's about: Rat is a young girl who lives in the Nameless City, a place that is constantly being invaded by other nations and having its name, government and identity change. When Rat meets Kaidu, she immediately dislikes him. But that needs to change because the future of the Nameless City is in their hands.

#NotYourPrincess edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale

#NotYourPrincess is an anthology of art, essays, interviews and poetry edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale. ( Press/

What it's about: #NotYourPrincess highlights the voices of Indigenous women across North America, using poetry, essay writing, interviews and art to explore their experiences.

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

M-E Girard is the author of the YA novel Girl Mans Up. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: Girl Mans Up follows Penelope "Pen" Oliveira, a heroine and outsider, who loves girls, video games and — to her parents' dismay — wearing her brother's clothes.

Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

Margaret Pokiak-Fenton is the co-author of Fatty Legs. (Annick Press)

What it's about: Margaret Pokiak is eight years old and willing to do whatever it takes to learn to read — even if it means leaving behind her friends and family in her Arctic village. Margaret believes she is ready for whatever she may face at her residential school, but the challenges are more than she ever imagined. 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. (NATARK-Canadian Press/Pan Macmillan)

What it's about: Could we have a list about strong young women and not include Canadian icon Anne Shirley? We think not.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.