Looking for an easy way to learn about the struggles and realities facing women around the world? Pick up a book! Here are some favorites of our Healthy Women, Healthy World members.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare 

The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same. Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.

Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa by Sarah Thebarge
Sarah Thebarge, a Yale-trained physician assistant, nearly died of breast cancer at age twenty-seven, but that did not end her deeply felt spiritual calling to medical missions in Africa. Risking her own health, she moved to Togo, West Africa-ranked by the United Nations as the least happy country in the world-to care for sick and suffering patients. Serving without pay in a mission hospital, she pondered the intersection of faith and medicine in her quest to help make the world “well.”

The Invisible Girls by Sarah Thebarge
After nearly dying of breast cancer in her twenties, Sarah Thebarge fled her successful career, her Ivy League education, and a failed relationship, and moved nearly 3,000 miles from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, hoping to quietly pick up the pieces of her broken life. Instead, a chance encounter on the train with a family of Somali refugees swept her into an adventure that changed all of their lives.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down. In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book―to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.”

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof’s book Half the Sky is an absorbing narrative of stories that are rarely heard: a New Jersey teenager is raising awareness about the status of girls in poor countries, an Afghan schoolteacher is leading a learning insurgency, and a former first lady of Somalia’s hospital is saving the lives of mothers in Somaliland. These and other vignettes bring to life the struggles and courage of unforgettable women who are, as the book’s subtitle suggests, turning oppression into opportunity.

When You Can’t Go Home: Portraits of Refugees in the Pacific Northwest by Karisa Keasey
When You Can’t Go Home tells the story of 10 refugees and their families alongside 30 breath-taking portraits by artist, Karisa Keasey. For every book sold, Karisa will donate 50% of the profits to World Relief to help in their efforts with refugees. In addition to raising funds, awareness and compassion for refugees, Karisa hopes that this book will inspire readers to use their own unique gifts to make a positive impact for others in their own communities.

Books we are reading to educate ourselves on the racial struggles within our own country

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
New York Times Bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club pick, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today. Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson, looks at the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy tells the story of Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice. 

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by LaTasha Morrison
A leading advocate for racial reconciliation offers a clarion call for Christians to move toward relationship and deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture. With racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation. This power-packed guide helps readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in the ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.