Okay, I lied. There are actually 6 books on this list because I couldn’t narrow it down! Travel from your favourite summer reading spot to Africa and South Asia with these stories of girls struggling to realize their rights.

Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton
When her mother starts showing signs of AIDS, Chanda looks for help to take care of her. She finds a community that wants to pretend that HIV and AIDS don’t exist. Chanda decides to bring the disease that’s killing her mother out into the open.

No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis
Valli, an orphan from Jharia, India, decides to run away after being mistreated by the family who has raised her. She stows away on a truck bound for the big city – Kolkata – where she learns how to live on the streets.

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis
11-year-old Parvana lives with her family in a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan. After her father is arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to become the family’s breadwinner.

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
12-year-old Shabanu grew up in the Cholistan Desert in Pakistan, moving with her family as they tend their camels. When her marriage is planned Shabanu must choose between running away and obeying the wishes of her family.

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
When Najmah’s family is torn apart by the war in Afghanistan, she uses the stars to guide her through the mountains to cross the border into Pakistan.

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You by Hanna Jansen
Jeanne’s family fled the violence of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but Jeanne was the only survivor. Written by Jeanne’s adoptive mother, this novel is based on Jeanne’s stories of terror, survival and courage.

Need some more suggestions? Check out last year’s Because I am a Girl Summer Reading List, read Plan CEO Rosemary McCarney’s top three picks for adults, or visit the Top 10 books by women that will change the way you see the world.

(Photo Credit:  Garrett Gill)

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