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Top Children's Books Celebrating Irish Mighty Girls

A Mighty Girl's top picks of books and films starring heroic Irish girls and women.

When people talk about St. Patrick's Day with kids, they tend to focus on leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and wearing green — but there's much more to the Emerald Isle. In fact, clever and courageous Mighty Girls often take center stage in Ireland's culture and history! So rather than focus on pots of gold this St. Patrick's Day, try sharing a few books with kids showcasing the intelligence, courage, and strength of its girls and women. The books and films featured in this blog post will give your children a girl-empowering introduction to the vibrant, deep culture that Ireland has to offer — and the place of Mighty women and girls within it.

Books And Toys Celebrating Irish Mighty Girls

Fiona's Luck

Fiona's Luck

Written by: Teresa Bateman
Illustrated by: Kelly Murphy
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Set during the Irish potato famine — the terrible crisis that resulted in so many Irish immigrants in other nations of the world — this story adds a hint of magic and a clever Mighty Girl! Fiona discovers that the famine is the fault of the Leprechaun King, who has stolen all of Ireland’s luck. So she decides that she will win it back — because, while she may not have magic, she has wit and cleverness enough to outsmart any foe! Young readers will love reading how Fiona thinks her way past the Leprechaun King and ensures that he gets his just desserts.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$8.86 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£6.75 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$14.99 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£7.21 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$17.10 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$7.19 (USD)

Fiona's Lace

Fiona's Lace

Written by: Patricia Polacco
Illustrated by: Patricia Polacco
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

For kids who prefer a true tale of Irish courage and ingenuity, check out this lovely story based on author Patricia Polacco's family history. Fiona and her family are seeking new opportunities in America since times are so hard in Ireland. To pay back the cost of passage, they work in domestic service during the day, but at night, Fiona practices the fine lacemaking that is her particular specialty, as well as her connection to traditions back home. But when the family is separated, the lace Fiona makes becomes more than a memory of a home she left behind: it also becomes a way to bring the people she loves back together.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$20.94 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£15.34 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$41.09 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£15.34 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$39.99 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.29 (USD)

Celtic Tin Whistle

Celtic Tin Whistle

Manufacturer: Clarke
Recommended Age: 5 and up

If your Mighty Girl is musical, she can learn to play simple Irish tunes, perfect for dancing to, on a tin whistle — it is easy to play and perfect for carrying with her to catch moments of practice here and there. Clarke is one of the leading tin whistle makers; this one comes in a gift box that includes a fingering chart and five Celtic tunes, including two from Ireland. It’s small enough for children as young as 3 to play, making it a terrific first musical instrument as well.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$21.03 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£12.04 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$26.08 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$15.80 (USD)

Maisie McGillicuddy's Sheep Got Muddy

Maisie McGillicuddy's Sheep Got Muddy

Written by: Kelly Grettler
Illustrated by: Darya Beklemesheva
Recommended Age: 5 - 8

When Maisie's beloved sheep Shamrock — her very best friend — goes missing, there's nothing that will keep the determined girl from finding him! With her other sheep by her side, Maisie heads north on an epic quest that takes her all over Ireland... not realizing that Shamrock has been going south. The pair will see cliffs, castles, cities, and the seaside, and all the other landmarks that draw people back to this beautiful country over and over again. This charming story about courage, perseverance, and friendship is also a celebration of the beautiful of the Emerald Isle.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$23.62 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£17.96 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$26.40 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£17.17 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$39.47 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$15.59 (USD)

The Fog Catcher's Daughter
New!

The Fog Catcher's Daughter
New!

Written by: Marianne McShane
Illustrated by: Alan Marks
Recommended Age: 5 - 8

Eily and her father live near the coast of Ireland, not far from the island of Lisnashee, where the fairy folk live. For 364 days of the year, no one dares to trespass there for fear of the fairies' wrath, but on Midsummer, Eily's father — the Fog Catcher — braves going close to the island to collect magic from the fog. He assures Eily he's perfectly safe, and shows her the charm tucked in his pocket that keeps the fairies away. But when Eily finds the charm in a hedgerow after her father leaves, she knows her father needs help. Courageously, she rows out to bring it to her father — and meet her destiny. This original tale, told by a traditional Irish storyteller and illustrated with evocative watercolors, captures the beauty of Ireland, the importance of honoring the past, and the power of courage and love.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$19.32 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£17.49 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$43.20 (AUD)
The Book Depository
(Unavailable)
The Book Depository
A$46.21 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$17.99 (USD)

O'Sullivan Stew

O'Sullivan Stew

Written by: Hudson Talbott
Illustrated by: Hudson Talbott
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

Kate O'Sullivan is bold and brave, so when village is threatened by an angry witch whose horse was stolen by tax collectors, she prods her father and brothers into action. But when they steal the horse back, they’re caught by the king who threatens to hang them all! Kate’s going to have to use all her inventiveness and courage to convince the king to let them go. Fortunately, Kate knows how to spin a good story... Colorful illustrations capture Kate’s confident spirit, and parents will love her response when the now-besotted king arrives at her doorstep to declare his love.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$9.41 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£6.06 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$15.29 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£6.30 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$15.17 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$6.99 (USD)

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure

Written by: Robert D. San Souci
Illustrated by: Sally Wern Comport
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

Margaret has always dreamed of adventure, so when a ship appears in the harbor, about to begin a perilous journey to the Kingdoms of Cold, she refuses to be left behind. But when a witch captures the crew and demands they slay a giant if they want to win their freedom, Margaret will have to take up an enchanted sword and fight the battle alone if she hopes to save the life of the man she’s come to love. This exciting tale is based on a story from a Gaelic source published in 1893, but its daring heroine could have stepped from the pages of any modern author.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$10.66 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$149.00 (AUD)
The Book Depository
(Unavailable)
The Book Depository
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com
$19.99 (USD)

Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story

Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story

Written by: Bryce Milligan
Illustrated by: Helen Cann
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

Saint Patrick is not the only Catholic tale to come from Ireland. This book introduces children to the story of Saint Brigid, born the slave daughter of a defeated warrior prince and declared by a Druid “mother to the new Ireland that is to come.” At ten, Brigid is magically transported to a stable where she meets a mother, father, and new baby boy. After lending her cloak to keep the baby warm, and offering the family her blessing, she returns — only to discover that her blue cloak is covered with a field of stars. This fascinating tale of the fifth-century saint combines the appeal of a folk tale with a sense of spiritual wonder. An author’s note at the end explains more about Brigid and other tales of her, her cloak, and her generous spirit.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$11.60 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£3.76 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$12.72 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£8.38 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$18.68 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$10.00 (USD)

Celtic Masterpieces Coloring Book

Celtic Masterpieces Coloring Book

Manufacturer: Mind Ware
Recommended Age: 6 and up

Gather your favorite tools — markers, crayons, pencils, pastels — and color your own details in these exquisite Celtic mosaics from Mindware! This high-quality coloring book features 23 unique designs, all inspired by traditional Celtic motifs and imagery. Smooth, high-grade paper allows you to color as you please without worrying about bleeding through, and the crisply printed designs are sharp and clear. It's the perfect way to soothe your mind and enjoy Celtic art styles.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$9.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$28.87 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.50 (USD)

Under the Hawthorn Tree

Under the Hawthorn Tree

Written by: Marita Conlon-McKenna
Recommended Age: 8 - 11

Siblings Eily, Michael, and Peggy are struggling to survive in the midst of Ireland's Great Hunger. The blight has killed most of their crops, and their father has had to leave their cottage in Duneen in hopes of finding work. It seems like tragedy comes after tragedy: their mother has to sell all their belongings — everything but the clothes on their backs — and their 10-month-old sister, Bridget, dies of "famine fever." Desperate to keep her other children alive, their mother leaves to find their father, but after three long days pass without her return, the siblings have no choice but to go to one of the cruel workhouses — unless the stories their mother used to tell them, about two great aunts who live at Castletaggart, were true... This stunning historical fiction novel, first of the Children of the Famine series, brings the reality of The Great Famine to life through the eyes of these three courageous children.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$14.15 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£6.58 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$19.64 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£7.43 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$22.40 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$7.99 (USD)

Hunger: A Tale of Courage

Hunger: A Tale of Courage

Written by: Donna Jo Napoli
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

12-year-old Lorraine and her Irish family live in poverty on a farm leased from an English landowner. But in the fall of 1846, their carefully planted potato crop is ruined by a second season of the blight. While foraging for food, she meets the landowner's daughter, Miss Susannah, who tells Lorraine that it's the fault of the irresponsible Irish families that they're going hungry. But with her friends and family starving and sick, Lorraine may find convincing Miss Susannah to help is her best chance. This powerful, personal story highlights how a history of oppression leaves people with few choices to escape — and the author's endnote encourages kids to draw comparisons to questions about today's refugees.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$11.10 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£9.39 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$30.09 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£8.19 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$18.89 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$7.99 (USD)

WolfWalkers: The Graphic Novel

WolfWalkers: The Graphic Novel

Written by: Samuel Sattin
Recommended Age: 8 - 13

Robyn Goodfellowe and her father have been sent to Ireland by Oliver Cromwell, on a mission to hunt the wolves that are preventing workers from cutting down ancestral forests. But when Robyn sneaks out of the city, she meets Mebh, a free-spirited girl... and one of the mysterious WolfWalkers, who legend says can transform into wolves at night. As Robyn and Mebh work together to protect Mebh's pack from the hunters, Robyn begins to realize that the destruction of the forests has bigger implications than she knew. Based on the gorgeous animated adventure WolfWalkers, this stunning graphic novel, with artwork by the film's creators, celebrates friendship and the power of compassion.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$19.79 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£10.54 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$18.16 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£10.54 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$28.46 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.69 (USD)

The Secret of Roan Inish

The Secret of Roan Inish

Recommended Age: 8 and up

In this beloved film, ten-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a selkie — a seal who can turn into a human. Her baby brother washed out to sea in a cradle years ago, and some think that he is being raised by the seals. Then Fiona catches sight of a naked little boy on the abandoned island of Roan Inish. Could the legends be true? With the help of her cousin, Eamon, she plans to convince her grandparents to move back to the island in hopes that the seals will return Jamie and their family can be reunited. Now remastered from the original negative, this is a magical tale of mystery, family, and the power of love.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$28.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$26.59 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$11.99 (USD)

Breda's Island
New!

Breda's Island
New!

Written by: Jessie Ann Foley
Recommended Age: 10 - 13

12-year-old Breda feels isolated from her glamorous, beauty salon-owner mother, and acts out with petty thievery... until her mother sends her to Ireland to spend a summer with the grandfather she's never met. Granda is grumpy by day and has screaming night terrors in the dark, but he's also generous in surprising ways, and as a seanchaí — a traditional Gaelic storyteller — he makes Breda fall in love with her mother's country. But there's one story that will take more time to untangle: why did her mother leave Ireland as a pregnant 17-year-old to become an undocumented immigrant in the US? And what happened to her absent father? For fans of When You Trap a Tiger and Shouting at the Rain, this is a poignant story about family secrets and one girl's journey to find her own identity.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$17.12 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$33.09 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£14.15 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$34.18 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$5.95 (USD)

Rocking the System: Fearless and Amazing Irish Women Who Made History

Rocking the System: Fearless and Amazing Irish Women Who Made History

Written by: Siobhán Parkinson
Illustrated by: Bren Luke
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Within the pages of this book are twenty bold Irish women who refused to sit still and accept the status quo! These illustrated essays feature historical and contemporary women, including politicians, artists, activists, and more — but all of them rebelled in their own way. Written to celebrate a century of women's suffrage in Ireland, and featuring women like Queen Medhbh, Eileen Gray, Constance Markievicz, and Sonia O'Sullivan, this book recognizes Irish women's accomplishments throughout the centuries and encourages a new generation to rock the system.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$33.64 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£8.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$22.42 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£16.95 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$46.23 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$15.99 (USD)

A Slip Of A Girl

A Slip Of A Girl

Written by: Patricia Reilly Giff
Recommended Age: 10 and up

It's 1881, and Anna's Irish family is in dire straights: English aristocrats have been raising rents and seizing Irish properties, turning families out when the crops are poor. Her older siblings have emigrated, so when Anna's mother dies, she uses her last breath to beg her to care for her developmentally delayed sister Nuala — and to urge Anna to learn to read. And when an encounter with English bailiffs turns violent, Anna finds herself on the run with Nuala, desperate to save her family. This poignant novel in verse will introduce young readers to the aftermath of the Great Famine through the eyes of one determined girl.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$16.30 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£16.12 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$43.76 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£14.89 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$35.91 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$8.36 (USD)

The Radiant Road

The Radiant Road

Written by: Katherine Catmull
Recommended Age: 12 and up

After Clare's mother died, she and her father traveled the world, their grief preventing them from putting down roots for long. Now, they're returning to the home where Clare was born, a house carved into an ancient yew tree that Clare never forgot, even though she hasn't been back since she was a child. But there's mystery and magic in Clare's family, and when she meets Finn, a strange and familiar boy, Clare discovers that she may be the key to a struggle between good and evil that has the potential to rip the world of the mortals and the world of the fairies apart. This haunting and fantastical novel is sure to keep readers engrossed until the very end.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$23.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£19.70 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$29.99 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£32.32 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$30.53 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$11.99 (USD)

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Recommended Age: 14 and up

Eilis Lacey comes to 1950s Brooklyn chasing the American dream: the chance for independence and freedom. Homesickness and loneliness threaten to overwhelm her at first, but soon, she's not only enjoying all the vivacity and excitement of her new country; she's also fallen in love with Tony, an Italian-American plumber. When a death in the family calls her home to support her mother, though, Eilis finds herself feeling trapped between two homes and two families, knowing that she can only live one life. This is an emotional story of immigration, independence, and finding home featuring a daring and dedicated Irish woman.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$9.40 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£9.09 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$29.25 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$4.99 (USD)

Slainte, Eire!

Hopefully this selection of items will help you and your children gain a new appreciation for the beauties and wonders of Ireland’s vibrant culture and its Mighty girls and women. We’ll end with a traditional Irish blessing — our wish for all A Mighty Girl’s supporters:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Finally, for more Mighty Girl stories from cultures around the world, please visit our Multicultural Fiction book section.

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