It's been a while since I did a Mighty Girls book selection round-up and I've had a stack of books sitting in a pile by the d...

Mighty Girl Books

Thursday, January 30, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

It's been a while since I did a Mighty Girls book selection round-up and I've had a stack of books sitting in a pile by the desk for so long that I'm feeling guilty that BookBairn hasn't had much a chance to read them as I've been hogging them. So without further ado, here are some new (and old because I want to highlight again how good they are) books starring mighty girls!

Isadora Moon Puts on a Show by Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is one of our favourite characters: she’s half-fairy and half-vampire little girl who has lots of fun adventures with her little pink rabbit sidekick. There are now a whole series of books to choose from about Isadora and her adventures but this one 'Isadora Puts on a Show' is definitely a mighty girl favourite. It tells the story of the time Isadora was asked to participate in the vampire show and she struggles to choose what talent to share. Deep at heart she's a ballerina but vampires don't like ballet and she's scared to be her true self in case they don't like it. When she meets a fellow half-vampire half-human friend, she realises that with a bit of confidence and a friend at your side you can take the stage by storm! These illustrated chapter books are the perfect first read aloud for preschoolers who will love Isadora’s adventurous spirit and quiet playfulness. The illustrations are a mix of black, white and shades of pink and are so engaging they really bring the characters to life. But basically for any little readers ready for a longer adventure these books are just so fun.

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue by Paula Harrison & Jenny Lovlie

Another amazing chapter book series that we love so much is the new Kitty series. Kitty is awesome: she’s a superhero girl with cat-like powers and the ability to speak to animals! She’s a mighty little girl who helps others, solves mysteries and is full of compassion. BookBairn just loves them - and we can't wait for two new releases later this year! The illustrations are fabulous and the colour palette of black and orange is so striking. A brilliant new series for any mighty little girl reader!

Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights by Steven Lenton

This story is a lot more than just an amusing title! It’s one of our all-time favourite books and Princess Daisy is a lot more than your regular princess. She uses the evidence of all the strange and frightening things that are happening in her town to conclude that they have a dragon problem. So her father, the king, sends away for some knights to slay the dragon. But these knights “are twits, it’s plain to see” at least to Daisy it’s plain to see! But Daisy’s father says she must stay safe in her tower. The knights, the nincompoops that they are, fail in various ways but there is a fourth knight, a strange knight - with no armour and riding a cow. But it turns out that the dragon is just a baby - all she wanted was some milk, a cuddle and a book. Daisy, it turns out, is much better at soothing dragons than the nincompoop knights. But of course, Daisy and the Dragon and the knights all live happily ever after. The rhymes are perfect for reading aloud and they roll off the tongue so well. It also has great fun illustrations that bring the story to life with little extras and humour beyond the words of the story - and a little hidden snail on many pages! And from this story comes one of my all time favourite picture book quotes:

Girls are clever, tough and bold 
And brave and strong and true
We’re just as good as boys, you know
We can be heroes too!

Such an empowering message of a princess who is a bit mightier than some of the old-fashioned ones.

Chicks Rule! by Sudipta Bardhan Quallen & Renee Kurilla

Written in the most wonderful rhyme and packed full of humour and fun, l love reading this one aloud! From Maker Chick to Baker Chick to Soccer Chick and Rocker Chick, all the chicks in town are horrified by and standing up to the “No Chicks Allowed” rule! Nerdy Chick isn’t standing for this senseless rule and won’t let it stand in their way to achieving her dreams of launching a rocket into space! She turns to her fellow chicks for help. And together they lift each other and prove once and for all that chicks are truly out of this world! The illustrations aren’t the kind that I’m usually drawn to but we love the bright colours and cartoon/comic style. I am totally won over by them! Showing you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And you shouldn’t judge a Chick by her feathers! I cannot say how much love I have for this book! 

Billy and the Beast / Billy and the Dragon by Nadia Shireen

This is a book we have been raving about since we first read it. When a terrible beast starts roaming the forest in search of tiny creatures to make a big bowl of monster soup, Billy and her Fatcat cannot let him get away with it. He's got boil in a bag bunnies, spicy mice and grated hedgehog all on his list but can Billy outwit this ferocious beast and save the inhabitants of the forest? And in the sequel, Billy and the Dragon, Billy must rescue Fatcat from the clutches of a dragon, but perhaps all isn't quite what it seems! Packed full of humour, fun illustrations and a heroine who stashes doughnuts in her hair for emergencies these are brilliant new fables that will empower as well as make you giggle. And BookBairn loves them!

The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale & LeUyen Pham

This is a book that we borrowed from the library and enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy for BookBairn and I'm sure we will be going back for the sequels in this series too. Stopping monsters is no job for a prim and perfect princess in pink, even if that is how everyone expects a princess to behave. So when trouble calls in her kingdom, Princess Magnolia transforms into her alter ego and confronts the monsters as The Princess in Black. All the time keeping up the pretence of her pretty in pinkness for the subjects of her kingdom. I like the way this turns the princess genre on it's head and gives her a superhero type quality with her secret identity. This is a highly illustrated chapter book to so there is lots in the illustrations to deepen children's understanding of the story as well as keep them focussed whilst you read the slightly longer chapters aloud. It's not too long though - we still usually read it in one or two sittings! A lovely one for a mighty girl princess.

Molly Rogers to the Rescue by Cornelia Funke

You may have come across Molly Rogers Pirate Girl in picture book form so for little readers who already love the character this early chapter book is a little gem of a book to continue the adventure. In this new story, Molly Rogers comes to the rescue of the beautiful Monkey Skull Island which is under attack from Captain Firebeard. Molly way be small, but she's out to show just how smart and fierce she is and to teach old Captain Firebeard a lesson. Packed full of fantastic illustrations that are dripping with detail and humour, this is such a great little chapter book for young readers to dip their toe into slightly longer reading sessions, or for helping them to recall previous events over multiple sessions. Molly is a super character to enjoy too - it's not often you see such a mighty girl pirate and I love that she is leading the way for mighty girls on the high seas! 

Cannonball Coralie and the Lion by Grace Easton

This is such an important message for young readers about standing up for yourself! Coralie longs to join the circus to be with her new friend, Lion, but the Man in the Big Hat says her tricks (which in actual fact are mighty impressive) aren't good enough. The only opportunity he will give her is as the human cannonball! And when she performs that to standing ovation from the crowd, the Man in the Big Hat only has criticism for her and tries to send her packing. However, with Lion and the rest of the circus on her side, Coralie learns that the power of friendship is the biggest prize of all. The illustrations in this book are just fabulous and will have little readers gasping in awe at the feats that Coralie can perform. The characters, with the exception of the Man in the Black Hat, are warm and friendly and welcome young readers into the story. You could say that this is a very early feminist picture book about the fight against the patriarchy, or you could just take it at face value and enjoy the fun story and colourful cast of characters. But either way it's a wonderful read for mighty girls.

The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

Erin is fascinated by the legend of Black Rock; she knows that it is huge and dark and spiky, and is said to destroy any boats that come near it! But are those tales really true? Erin is determined to find out, so sneaks aboard her mother's fishing boat and embarks on an adventure towards the Black Rock.  When she falls overboard, she soon discovers that though huge, dark and spiky, Black Rock also has a gentler side. And much more beneath it's surface. The illustrations in this book are truly spectacular and I love the mature graphic style that is more reminiscent of graphic novels than picture books, lending even more gravitas to the story. With a gentle environmental message, and a mighty girl at the centre (as well as a mother who is a fisherwoman - not a profession you usually see role modelled by women) this is a perfect might girl read that will utterly enchant.

The Dinosaur Department Store by Lily Murray & Richard Merritt

Eilza Jane is like most newly-turned four-year-olds, she wants a pet for her birthday. But no ordinary pet will do for this feisty heroine. She wants a dinosaur! So her parents lovingly take her to the Dinosaur Department Store to search out the perfect prehistoric pet to bring home. Except Eliza Jane sneakily has other ideas. If little ones carefully watch the illustrations as this romping rhyming unfolds, they will notice what Eliza is up to! In fact, there's even a clue on the cover. As I just mentioned the illustrations in this book are absolutely fabulous: vibrant, colourful and full of a whole cast of hilarious dinosaurs too. And the rhymes make it a joy to read aloud. And Eliza Jane isn't a character to mess with! Such a fun book!

The Princess and the Shoe by Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton

The latest in this series (I did not know there was a whole series and am heading straight over to my library catalogue to request them all!), princesses certainly don't need rescuing! Princess Jasmine, isn't really a perfect in pink sort of princess. In fact, she can't wait to prove to her parents and the kingdom that there's more to princesses than pretty dresses and waiting around for a prince! She wants to run in the kingdom Cross Country Race, but it's the same day as her big birthday ball! Can she run fast enough to get back in time to do both?! Maybe with the help of a fairy godmother and some new shoes (you see which fairytale this one is based on) she can do it. Or maybe her fairy godmother has a trick up her sleeves just to make sure that Jasmine really believes in herself and that is magic enough? This rhyming story is joyful to read aloud and such a fun twist on a traditional Cinderella story. BookBairn loves this one and will be delighted to learn that there's a whole series of mighty girl princess books to try!

Fearless Mirabelle by Katie Haworth & Nila Aye

Mighty girl power comes in all shapes in sizes! Mirabelle and Meg are twins, and though they look identical (except for different coloured dresses to prevent readers muddling the two up), they are absolutely not the same! Their mother and father are famous acrobats and while Mirabelle loves being topsy turvy and upside down, continuing the family legacy, Meg quietly forges her own path. Meg is afraid of heights and therefore doomed never to be an acrobat, but is Mirabelle as fearless as she seems? And perhaps it takes more than a bit of topsy turvy antics to put on a true performance? A lovely story about celebrating sisters, differences but also the quieter introverted character: this is a lovely story for BookBairn who is no acrobat but more of a bookish sort. I love the crips primary coloured colour palette and find this story truly enchanting!

Mighty Min by Melissa Castrillon

Ok, so let's start by saying that the illustrations in this book are like no-other. The layering of all the flora and fauna in hues to green, yellow and orange is a visual feast. It's a world your little readers will certainly want to explore. And why not explore it with Min: a very tiny girl embarking on a huge adventure! Inviting your readers to step inside Min's magical and miniature world to find out that to be tiny in a world much bigger than you, you absolutely have to be mighty! And Min is about to embark on a very big adventure. I just love everything about the way this story has been crafted. It's gentle and mighty, beautiful and strong and will leave a lasting impression on young readers.

I hope you found some mighty reading material for your bairns there and if you are looking for more mighty girl reads, check out my Amazon shop and click on the section for Little Feminist Stories / Mighty Girl Reads section.

Mighty Reading!
Kim and the bairns x

Disclaimer: We were sent some of these books free for review purposes by the publishers. Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.


Welcome to a new feature on the blog! Once every month I want to highlight a book which is absolutely spectacular! A short review with...

Spectacular Picture Books Highlight - Starbird

Thursday, January 23, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

Welcome to a new feature on the blog! Once every month I want to highlight a book which is absolutely spectacular! A short review with lots of photos so that you can appreciate it's beauty across the pages. So without further ado...

This is a spectacularly magical and exquisitely beautiful folk tale about love and freedom.

Starbird’s songs weave the richest dreams and delight to all who hear his song, so the Moon King wants to give Starbird as a gift to his newborn daughter. Capturing Starbird and trapping him in a cage, Starbird sings for the little princess but over time the magic and life in his voice begins to fade away. So the princess, much to the dismay and wrath of her father, sets the Starbird free. Starbird flees and tries to hide from the Moon King, gliding through different habitats around the world and hiding amongst some spectacular creatures. But he cannot evade the Moon King forever. 

And what follows is perhaps one of the most profound lessons about captivity and freedom in picture book form. With a feeling of a timeless myth, this original fable is utterly beautiful. The exquisite use of silver foil throughout and intricate illustrations make it a true work of art. This is a beautiful book for adults and children alike. (And it’s going on to my, not the kids, picture book shelf!)

Disclaimer: This book was sent by the publisher for review. Words and opinions are my own. Please read our Review Policy  if you want to know more. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.


Wow!! First Kids Love to Read of 2020! Does anyone else feel like January is flying by super fast? I had all the best intentions of maki...

Kids Love to Read #49 & Giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

Wow!! First Kids Love to Read of 2020! Does anyone else feel like January is flying by super fast? I had all the best intentions of making sure that I got two blog posts up every week but that has already faltered with everyone being really poorly with a virus last week so I didn't manage to post at all. Will try to get back to it though!

If you share or review children's books or are raising a reader whilst writing a blog then our co-hosted monthly linky with  Laura's Lovely Blog and Acorn Books is perfect for you! Kids Love to Read is a link-up to share blog posts written by other bloggers that star wonderful children's books. It's a great way to find new blogs to read and new book recommendations too, as well as invite people to come and read your own blog.

So if you write about your favourite children's books I would love it if you link-up your post! And I'm looking forward to reading them all!

Last Month's Favourites

My favourite post last month came from Mumma Scribbles who shared a bundle of superb stories that her kids were loving at the time (I'm sure they still do!) and it featured one that we had borrowed from the library at the same time - The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler as well as one of my all time favourites - Mixed by Arree Chung.

Laura's favourite came from Rainbows are Too Beautiful who wrote about mindfulness with children, a topic you know that I love, and shared a book that we had been sent for review in the past but didn't really use that much because my kids are quite good at drifting off to sleep themselves so it was nice to read her perspective.

And Acorn Books is back from her maternity leave with a very adorable new baby to boast about and she enjoyed Raisie Bay's post about the Magical Mermaid Underwater Activity book and the Roman Adventure Activity book, which I recently featured too in an Instagram round of of amazing activity books.

Linky Rules:
– Write about reading with children, share your love and your children’s love of books, what do you love to read together, how do you encouraging reading and books with your little or not so little ones? Books you love or book reviews.
– This Linky is open every 3rd Monday of the month for one week.
– Grab the Kids Love to Read badge and pop it in your post. It's linked at the end of the post for you.
– Use the #KLTR hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
– Share the love – try and read & comment the host’s posts and on 2 other blogs listed on the Linky.
We look forward to reading your posts! And don't forget to enter the competition below!
Kim and the #KLTR team x

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


We have a fabulous giveaway this month of Bad Dad by David Walliams and although it's not one I've read it is one that I know lots of kids love!

*Terms and conditions: Entries are open to UK and Ireland residents. The competition closes on the the 16th February 2020. Winners will be announced on social media and contacted via email. If the winner does not respond to the email in two weeks, a new winner will be randomly chosen.
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As you know I am an avid reader and I managed to read 105 books this year. So I wanted to share my absolute favourites. I did re-read...

My Best Reads 2019

Thursday, January 09, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

As you know I am an avid reader and I managed to read 105 books this year. So I wanted to share my absolute favourites. I did re-read The Northern Lights Trilogy and some of the Harry Potter series as well as some of my other favourites but I'm not including those as they were re-reads.

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegel: Having read this book at the beginning of the year, I realised that simply recycling some of the plastic that we bring into the house isn't enough anymore. We need to try to stop it crossing the threshold. And we have made big improvements, which you can read about in my blog post 'Reducing our Family's Plastic Consumption'. This book was a huge influence on how I tackled the plastic in our home and I found the way it blended fact and advice that I could learn from and put into action a really easy (though in some ways troubling) read. If you are interested in this topic this is a great book to read to get you motivated!

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita GillI was so moved by this book I got literal goosebumps whilst read, cried tears and think it is perhaps the most powerful collection of poetry and best thing I have ever read! Putting a feminist twist on fairytale characters as well as empowering poems about life. I am going to re-read this one again and again. I have downloaded the audiobook too so that I can absorb a poem every once in a while when I have five minutes here or there although I think the power of reading this was being able to sit down and read them all in one or two sittings. So perfect for a child-free indulgent morning, afternoon or evening! 

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde: this book is probably not a book that I had particularly high expectations of but I found it fascinating and gripping! It's a Middle Grade (ages 8-12) dystopian story where the vocabulary of the population is limited to fewer and fewer words. Following an ecological disaster, the people who survived and gained entry to the 'Ark' are controlled by a enigmatic leader who sees language as a huge problem and sets out to limit words in order to limit protest, expression, and even free-thinking. And he's planning something even bigger. I loved this and found the way the story unfolded truly masterful. I enjoyed the sequel almost as much making it a worthy read too!

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: Reading this book changed my life. Completely. It totally changed my perspective on how I use screens and technology and how I spend way to much time on my phone and how easily I let myself pick it up and waste my time on it. But only using your time to add value to your life rather than spending so much time on social media, etc. The book describes digital minimalism as "a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else." There are few sections that are a bit 'dry' that I would recommend skimming but the overall message is something that I really needed to hear and found it really helpful.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - one that I probably should have read much sooner than I actually did! After I read it I reviewed on social media saying: "I'm not sure that I'll ever recover from this one. This story has changed me somehow. Irrevocably." I'm glad I read this at the time that I did because it really resonated with me. If you haven't read this one yet it's well worth it.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton - my lovely friend BookLoverJo sent me this for my birthday and I cannot wait to read it! An important book with a powerful message for young readers and a subject area that I find myself extremely concerned about at the moment. I found the weaving of the story, the building of the characters and the community to be masterfully done and I think that's probably the reason that I enjoyed it so much! I really felt like the characters were real and I could relate to them. I particularly enjoyed the way the author wove together the stories of the main character and her family who are Syrian refugees and the story of the ballet teacher who was a world war two refugee. I think drawing this comparison for children is a powerful connection. A similar book that I read this year was The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf but I preferred the subtlety of this story and it was a better connection for me. (This one is not pictured in the bundle as I leant it to a friend!)

Some Kids I Taught and What the Taught Me by Kate Clanchy - as a teacher-on-hiatus I am all to aware that the children I have taught have taught me many things over the years and I really enjoyed this memoir come social observational book written by an English teacher. It was so well-written and the observations so well thought-out and stories woven and connected together. The author's observations of society and how some things have changed over time were truly fascinating. I also loved some of her observations about educational changes, government cut backs and policies as well as the way society treats teachers as professionals to be spot on. A superb read for teachers (and everyone else)!

I've set myself the same overall reading goal as the previous year of 72 books - which works out as six a month but I'm hoping to read over 100 again as it seems like such a huge number to me. I'm delighted that over 60 of the books I read this year were library books (as well as some other library books that I borrowed, started and didn't enjoy so I abandoned them) and intend to do the same this year - in fact the library already have two requests waiting for me. I also cleared 15 off my To Be Read list by actually reading them, though I did get rid of others as I realised I had no intentions of actually reading them. So my plan for this year is to tackle that ever growing pile of unread books before I buy anymore. I figure it's pretty unrealistic for me to read all of them before buying any new ones but I would like to adopt a policy of reading two old books for ever new one I buy.

If you're looking for advice on how to read more books, you might like my post Finding Time to Read as a Busy Mum.

What were your favourite reads last year? And do you have a goal for this year?

Happy Reading,

BookBairn's bookshelf: read

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me
The No Spend Year: How you can spend less and live more
Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty
The Amber Spyglass
The Familiars
The Book Thief
The Library of Unrequited Love
My Life in Lists
The Thirteenth Tale
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k
Owen and the Soldier
Convenience Store Woman
A Pinch of Magic
Practical Magic
Guardians of Magic
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference
Life after Life
No Ballet Shoes in Syria
The Librarian

BookBairn's favorite books »

Disclaimer: these are all my choices and bought with my own money or borrowed from the library. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.