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1001 Stories Collection

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

1001 Things A Bright Girl Can Do
Added on 14th August 2020

Author Sally Nicholls
First published 2017
Publisher Andersen Press

Three very different young women become involved with the Suffragettes and the fight for votes for women.


Evelyn – clever, rich, but forced to marry rather than be educated like her brother. May – already part of the cause but refusing to resort to violence. Nell – a young girl who has grown up surrounded by hardship and sorrow. Each of these brave teenagers have their own reasons for joining the fight for the right to vote, but these three very different young women find themselves drawn together in this clever and exciting book set during the suffragette movement in an Edwardian Britain on the brink of war.

Why we chose it

A coming of age novel which, through the stories of three very different young women, highlights the struggle of the Suffragettes and the reality of life for women of every social class in the years before the first World War.

Where it came from

Sally Nicholls (1983 – present) always wanted to be a writer, and for this novel she wanted to write a book that felt like an Edwardian children’s book, that was also about the suffragette movement. The suffragettes were an organisation founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst, who protested for women to have the basic right to vote. Their motto was ‘deeds not words,’ and they were sometimes put in prison for their actions, but their brave approach eventually won all women the vote through two laws in 1918 and 1928.

Where it went next

Things a Bright Girl Can Do sold well when it was first published, and was shortlisted for several awards, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal (2019) and the YA Book Prize (2018).

Associated stories

Other books by Sally Nicholls include Ways to Live Forever (2008), which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Season of Secrets (2009), All Fall Down (2012), Close Your Pretty Eyes (2013), and An Island of Our Own (2015). She has also written a picture book, Who Makes A Forest (2020), and several chapter books for younger readers.

In recent years, many books about suffragettes, both fiction and non fiction have been published for children. Suffragette: The Battle for Equality by David Roberts is a beautifully illustrated history of women’s suffrage. Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the Little People, Big Dreams series, tells the story of one of the leaders of the suffrage movement. Novels include Opal Plumstead, by Jacqueline Wilson, Hazel by Julie Hearn and Polly’s March by Linda Newberry.

Added on 14th August 2020

Author Sally Nicholls
First published 2017
Publisher Andersen Press