A Feminist Colouring Book To Help Little Girls Dream Big

The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls is welcome addition to the raft of kids’ activity books. The premise of the book is simple – 20 b&w pictures for colouring, of girls & women doing a range of activities and roles not traditionally associated with girls.

Is there a place for a feminist colouring book for girls? I would answer a big yes – the marketplace unfortunately remains saturated with “girls’ colouring books” dominated by lazy stereotypes of princesses, flowers and pretty dresses.

colouring for girls
A feminist colouring book for girls? Just 3 of the inspirational illustrations to colour in – a girl being a pirate, astronaut, and sculptor.

The simple line drawings make this just right for younger children – a great way to introduce young minds to images of women in roles ranging from knight to palaeontologist.

My daughter couldn’t wait to get stuck into ‘The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls’

The book is a great conversation starter – my 4-year-old daughter was asking me about all the different things the women were doing. Some, such as Astronaut and pirate were obvious to her, but the likes of sculptor or chemist less so and gave us a chance to talk about them. The image of a female artist – splashing paint on her canvas – even lead to a discussion about Jackson Pollack (just to reiterate, my daughter is 4).

Another nice detail is that each picture is on a separate page, so no need to worry about colours bleeding through to an image on the other side.

Some may object to it being called The Amazing Colouring Book FOR Awesome Girls, phrasing which excludes boys. I get that point, and have some sympathy with it.

However, I also think that while more people are becoming aligned with the gender neutral ideal when it comes to shopping for kids, there are still those who will only buy things for girls that are labelled as such. These are the people that still need to be reached, and a book like this can do that. I feel any misgivings about the wording of the title are completely overshadowed by the empowering nature of this project.

The book is by Rachel Garlick, a London based illustrator who’s also worked as a storyboard artist on high-profile films & tv shows such as Peaky Blinders, Call the Midwife, Broadchurch, 24, and Galavant. Hopefully, she’ll continue to create content for children too – perhaps we’ll see a similarly subversive colouring book for boys from her next?

In the meantime, I’m glad my daughter gets to use The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls.


The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls has an RRP of £4.99 ($7.49 in US). We were sent a copy free of charge for the purposes of this review.

Zog and the Flying Doctors – by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Zog and the Flying Doctors is not only another delightful children’s book from writer Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler – it’s a great story to counter traditional princess stereotypes.

Since Donaldson and Scheffler’s first collaboration with A Squash and A Squeeze in 1993 their books – including the commercial juggernaut that is The Gruffalo (1999) and the follow up The Gruffalo’s Child (2005) – have delighted children (and parents) with their engaging stories, delightful rhyming prose, and irresistible illustrations.

The pair’s latest collaboration is another sequel, and to a particular favourite of mine. 2010’s Zog told the tale of the eponymous dragon in training who struggles to keep up with his lessons. Over the years a girl named Pearl is a recurring figure in Zog’s life, helping him in his times of need.

Pearl is revealed to be a princess, and in a key plot point she enthusiastically relinquishes her royal role to become the doctor she always yearned to be. She even inspires the dashing knight who came to ‘save’ her from Zog, Gadabout the Great, to do the same.

Zog and the Flying Doctors

The sequel Zog and the Flying Doctors picks up where Zog ended. Pearl and Gadabout are the flying doctors of the title (they’re the doctors, Zog does the flying part), and the three of them roam the land helping various creatures in need of medical assistance – there’s the sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with an extra horn, the Lion with the flu.

To my delight, despite the title, this book really focuses on Pearl, and her struggle to leave her princess past behind her.

While out on their rounds, Pearl urges them to stop by a palace to see her uncle, a King. Turns out that he’s unhappy with Pearl’s decision to become a doctor –  “Princesses can’t be doctors, silly girl!”, he tells her.

In classic fairy tale fashion, the king locks up the princess – seeking to control her and impose his idea of what she should be – a life of “Sewing pretty cushions, and arranging pretty flowers.”

Zog and Gadabout set about to free Pearl. Thankfully, Donaldson subverts the simple trope of the dashing knight rescuing the damsel in distress – Pearl is a world away from the cliched helpless princess, and she engineers her own liberation.

This is yet another great addition to the Donaldson & Scheffler partnership, with each author playing up to their creative strengths. Donaldson’s trademark rhymes make repeat readings aloud fun, and Scheffler’s distinctive illustrations bring these characters to life. Our daughter has insisted on multiple readings already, and we’ve had it less than a day.

But the icing on the cake of this delightful book is the way Donaldson once again subverts the princess stereotype. Pearl was already a key character I referred to when discussing princesses with my daughter, and I’m so glad that Donaldson & Scheffler have revisited her (this is only their second sequel).

This is a worthy addition to your families collection of Donaldson & Scheffler books – and if you don’t have any, Zog and this sequel are as good a place as any to start.

Zog and the Flying Doctors, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, is available in hardback now and has an RRP of £12.99. We were provided with a copy free of charge for the purposes of this review.

Tara Binns – Books That Empower Little Girls to Dream Big

One of my issues with princesses has always been this. The role is not a career aspiration. I live in an actual monarchy, where there really are princesses, and there is even a possibility of our daughters becoming one. But I think we can all agree it’s a fairly narrow life path to target.

I suppose it’s a more realistic aspiration than being a superhero, but at least most of them have real jobs as journalists, lawyers, wealthy industrialists, Amazon princesses… er, where was I…?

Anyway, of the many characters aimed at children, male ones tend to be the only ones tied to a profession. Think Postman Pat, or Fireman Sam. Female characters are far more likely to be more fantastical.

In a clever twist, tying the two together, is the Tara Binns series. Created by Lisa Rajan and illustrated by Eerika Omiyale, these books have the tagline of “Giving Little Girls Big Ideas”. The format of each tale involves our eponymous girl hero playing dress ups in her attic, and being magically transported into a fantasy (or is it?) involving the profession one of her outfits.

Books that empower little girls, Tara Binns, female pilot, girl pilot
From ‘Tara Binns – Eagle-Eyed Pilot’ written by Lisa Rajan and illustrated by Eerika Omiyale

In Tara Binns – Eagle-Eyed Pilot, she suddenly becomes a jumbo jet pilot – in mid-flight – and quickly has to learn not only how the cockpit works, but also has to navigate a storm and wrestle with a moral dilemma involving old pirate treasure.

The next book is Tara Binns – Crash Test Genius, where she becomes an engineer who quickly learns how the application of science benefits us all, and is inspired to invent a new concept of her own.

Coming soon is Tara Binns – Double Choc Doc, where she has to deal with everyone’s winter nemesis – the common cold!

My 3-year-old daughter loves being read these books, and requests we revisit them regularly. She is full of questions about the professions themselves as well as the way Tara deals with the dilemmas and opportunities presented to her. She’ll often ask questions about them out of the blue, when we’re not even reading one. They have clearly made an impression, and an immensely positive one at that.

The prose is bright and snappy, and the illustrations whimsically delightful. Tara, as both herself and when she’s exploring her various professions, is a great role model. One that is thankfully a world away from fairy princesses.

These books would be terrific for any child – but parents of girls in particular may find these to be essential bookshelf additions.


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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive these books free of charge.


What profession would you like to see Tara Binns explore next? Please comment below.