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misc.kids FAQ on Children's Books/Central Female Characters

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Old February 28th 05, 05:27 AM
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Default misc.kids FAQ on Children's Books/Central Female Characters

Archive-name: misc-kids/books/female-chars
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: May 27, 1995
Version: 1.0

================================================== ================

Children's Books with Central Female Characters

Sub-FAQ of Misc.kids Recommended Children's Books:
Last updated, July 11 1995

To contribute to this collection, send email to Hilary Morrison,
. Unless otherwise requested, the first
name/last initial of recommenders will be left in the list. For
longer (essay-type) contributions, the full name and email address
of the contributer will be included.

Format: This list is divided into sections--Picture Books for
young children, Chapter and Series Books for older (pre-teen)
children, Biographies, Books for Teens/Young Adults, books for
which no age recommendation was known, and
Resources/Miscellaneous. The decision to recommend a particular
book for pre-teens vs. teenagers is especially arbitrary, so check
both sections. There will be some overlap. Please send
corrections and/or suggestions as well. Many of the books are
listed by "Unknown" author; it would be particularly helpful to
change this when possible!

*Picture books*:

Adler, David A.:My Dog and the Knock-knock Mystery (We picked this
out at the library because of the title (my kids love knock-knock
jokes). It turned out to be a fun first mystery book for kids,
and the sleuths are a girl and her dog. It is now my 3 year old's
favorite library book. [Rec. unknown])

Alexander, Martha:Sabrina [June Cummins L.]

Bang, Molly:The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher [Laura

Barber, Antonia:The Enchanter's Daughter [Catherine H.]

Barrett, Judi:Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (although the
girl is not really a central character, and the tall tale is told
by Grandpa, the intro and ending are in the girl's "voice", rather
than the boy's. [Beth Vail J.]) [also Marjorie R. P.]

Bate, Lucy:How Georgina Drove the Car VERY CAREFULLY from Boston
to New York [Vicki ?]

Bellows, Cathy:The Grizzly Sisters (Bronnie (2 1/3) loves it. It
is all about two female grizzly bear cubs: "We're big! We're mean!
We're the grizzly sisters!" [Andrew C.])

Bemelmens, Ludwig:The "Madeline" series [Jane Cummins L.;Laura

Brett, Jan:Annie and the Wild Animals [June Cummins L.; Linda

Brett, Jan:Trouble with Trolls (It is a story about a girl who
outwits five trolls who want to steal her dog as she climbs Mt.
Baldy on her way to visit a cousin on the other side. [Ellen B.]);
Christmas Trolls [Linda A.]

Browne, Anthony:Piggybook (The story of a family of two
ungrateful boys and their slug of a dad who expect mom to wait on
them hand and foot. She takes off, leaving them to become pigs
(literally...the drawings are great and have pigs all over the
place in unexpected sightings like switchplates) and when she
returns they all pitch in to help cook and clean while she fixes
the car! [Majorie R.P.])

Browne, Eileen:Tick Tock; No Problem (Funny stories about wacky
machinery. She deliberately makes all her characters female,
because so many books with anthropomorphic animals are all male.)
[Wendy E.B.]

Burton, Virginia Lee:Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Mike's
steam shovel is named Mary Ann; Mike and Mary Ann can dig as much
in a day as a hundred men can in a week (or so Mike thinks; he's
not really sure) [Beth Vail J.]) [also Marjorie R. P.]

Byars, Betsy:The Golly Sisters Go West [Beth Vail J.; Vicki]

Champion, Joyce:Emily and Alice (Wonderful book about two girls
who are best friends. Terrific Sucie Stevenson illustrations.
[Wendy E. B.])

Cole, Babette:Princess Smartpants; Prince Cinders (Two authors
that I keep posting about whenever people ask for book
recommendations are Babette Cole and Anthony Browne. Both have a
vast repetoire of great titles, with strong females. Recommended
are Princess SmartyPants by Cole, which is the story of a young
princess that is sure she doesn't want to get married, and how she
defeats all her most ardent suitors. Do other people read/like
these authors, or am I just quirky? I think they are the two of
the most talented kids authors working now. [Marjorie R. P.])

Cooney, Barbara :Miss Rumphius (HIGHLY recommended for kids at
least 2 years old. Miss R is about a woman who sets out to see
the world, do good things for others, and make the world a bit
more beautiful. The drawings are gorgeous, the tale is great, and
she is the best woman I have ever seen in a children's book.
[Marjorie R.P.]) [also Laura D.; Margaret B.B.; Catherine H.]

Cooney, Barbara:Hattie and the Wild Waves [Catherine H.]

Day, Alexandra:The "Carl" books (Carl is a male dog, but the
baby who has adventures with him is a girl [June Cummins L.])

de Brunhoff:Babar's Little Girl (This is a later one which
features Isabelle, the youngest child of Babar, who has a neat
adventure on her own. [Jane Cummins L.])

DiFiori, Lawrence:Good Morning Muffin Mouse; Muffin Mouse on
the Go (These two Muffin Mouse books are first-rate, beautifully
illustrated, and big favorites at age 2. [Beth Vail J.])

Duke, Kate:Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One [Catherine H.]

Fair, Sylvia:The Bedspread [Laura D.]

Glassman, Peter:My Working Mom (A litle girl describes what's
it's like to have a working mom. The funny part is that the mom is
a witch. Definitely a positive role model [Wendy E. B.])

Goble, Paul:The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (a Native American
tale [Beth Vail J.])

Goodman, Jean Elizabeth:The Bears' New Baby (Amanda is a big
sister to a new baby brother bear [Beth Vail J.])

Grimes, Nikki:Meet Danitra Brown (Wonderful poems about a girl
and her best friend. Very strong characters, terrific
illustrations. I'd give this one the Caldecott, personally. [Wendy
E. B.])

Grossman, Billonna O'Neeshuck Was Chased by Some Cows [Laura

Hammond, Lucille:Glow in the Dark Trip to the Planets (Katie
takes an imaginary (and challenging) trip around the solar system
[Beth Vail J.])

Henkes, Kevin:Chrysanthemum (I love this book! [Catherine H.])

Henkes, Kevin:Julius the Baby of the World (which I believe is
a must for anyone with or about to get a sibling); Crystanthemum
(Both books show wonderful little girls (okay, they are mice, but
they are girls too) that are full of humor and individuality.
Emily just loves Lilly and Crysanthemum. These books are
appropriate for preschools and up. They are message books, but
good ones, I think. Any book by Mr. Henkes gets a high
recommendation from me! :-)...Owen, although not about a girl, is
a good lesson for anyone with a lovey or blanket [Tracy B.])

Henkes, Kevin:Sheila Rae, the Brave [Catherine H.]

Heyward, Du Bose:The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
(It was written in 1939, but was way ahead of its time. It's about
the first female Easter Bunny, which was (in the story anyway)
until then a male-dominated role. [Ken A.])

Hill, Susan:Beware, Beware (A little girl wants to leave the
safety of her kitchen to explore the dark unknown outside. [Wendy
E. B.])

Hoban, Russell:The Frances books [Susan B.;Margaret B.B.]

Hoffman, Mary:Amazing Grace (It's about an African-American girl who
loves to pretend to be different characters, and ends up playing
the part of Peter Pan in the school play. [Beth Vail J.; Vicki ?])

Houston, Gloria:My Great-Aunt Arizona [Catherine H.]

Huck, Charlotte:Princess Furball (a Russian "Cinderella" [Catherine

James, Simon:The Wild Woods (A little girl and her grandfather
share a happy walk in the woods. [Wendy E. B.])

Lewis, Kim:Emma's Lamb [Laura D.]

Loh, Morag:Tucking Mommy In [June Cummins L.]

Lurie, Alison: Clever Gretchen [Pam P.]

Mahy, Margaret:Jam: a true story (This is a pretty silly book
about a stay-at-home Dad and a scientist Mom and family. The
Dad's spring pastime is making jam from the plums on the plum
tree. There is a healthy respect for reversed gender roles in
this book. [Rec. unknown])

Martin, Rafe:The Rough-Face Girl (a Native American "Cinderella"
[Catherine H.])

Mayer, Mercer:Liza Lou and the Yellow-Belly Swamp [Naomi K.];
East of the Sun, West of the Moon [Ruth K.]

Mayhew, ?:Katie and the Dinosaurs (there's another delightful
book about Katie at an art museum, but I don't remember the title
[Rec. unknown])

McCloskey, Robert:Blueberries for Sal [Susan B.; tomgally;
Margaret B.B.] ; One Morning in Maine [tomgally]; Time of Wonder
(Some of my favorites for reading to my two pre-school
daughters...I had a pleasant jolt when I first got these books for
my children a couple of years ago. Looking through them, I
realized that I must have spent a lot of time looking at the
pictures in them before I could read. Several illustrations in
"Time of Wonder" in particular brought back strong memories after
nearly thirty years. [tomgally])

McCully, Emily Arnold:Mirette on the High Wire [Catherine H.]

McKissack, Patricia: Flossie and the Fox (a little African-American
girl outwits the sly fox [Pam P.])

Milstein, Linda:Amanda's Perfect Hair (Very funny book about a
girl who gets tired of being admired for her incredible hair, and
cuts it all off. [Wendy E. B.])

Miyazaki, Hayao:My Neighbor Totoro; Kiki's Delivery Service;
Laputa-The Castle in the Sky [Robert P.(books); Karen B.(films)]
(Tokuma Publishing came out with a set of picture books based on
the work of the world's best animator, Hayao Miyazaki:Kiki's
Delivery Service:A thirteen-year-old witch, Kiki, leaves home to
spend a year on her own, as dictated by witchly tradition. She
arrives in a big city (modeled on Stockholm, apparently), and
starts an airborne delivery service to support herself. It's hard
to describe what makes this movie so charming and wonderful, but
the story book manages to capture the movie's magic. My Neighbor
Totoroad and his two young daughters, Satsuki and Mei, move into
an old farmhouse in rural Japan, so that Mom will have fresh
country air to breathe when she's released from the hospital (TB,
presumably). Little do the girls know that the house is haunted
by Soot Sprites, and the enormous camphor tree next door houses a
giant furry Totoro! (My favorite bit is the boy down the street,
Kanta, who loses his ability to speak in the presence of girls.)
Great film, great book. My three-year-old gives it a thousand
stars. Laputa: The Castle In The Sky:A rollicking adventure story
featuring a floating treasure city, vile secret agents, a pirate
clan led by a woman who reminds me of a fifty-year-old Pippi
Longstocking, Pazu, a boy who wants to invent flying machines, and
Sheeta, who turns out to be the rightful ruler of the flying city.
This movie has everything. The book's good, too. Nausicaa Of The
Valley Of The Wind:A complex story with a strong ecological theme
(all Miyazaki movies have SOME ecological theme; Totoro, which was
an enormous success in Japan, galvanized Japanese children into
action), too complex to describe at all, really. The central
character is Nausicaa, a princess of a small community in a world
that has been largely destroyed by a massive war.

Munsch, Robert:Angela's Airplane [Rec. unknown]

Munsch, Robert:The Paper Bag Princess (A good book for younger
children. Don't bother with the video!) [Susan B.; Diane L.;
Lynne F.; Catherine H. et al.]

Nash, Ogden:The Adventures of Isabel (The Adventures of Isabel
are also great, and Isabel is very self reliant! [Marjorie R.P.])

Oram, Hiawyn:Reckless Ruby (A romp of a picture book. All three
kids_loved_ the story about how Ruby, determined not to be the
precious doll her parents want her to be so she can grow up to
marry a prince who will wrap her in cotton and take her out only
for fancy balls, turns to a life of reckless abandon, finally
deciding she can stop being reckless and just live her life as
herself. Very funny, and a good message. [Valerie B.])

Paterson, Katherine:The King's Equal (The book starts out with an
old king and a spoiled prince. When the king is dying he tells the
prince that he cannot wear the crown until he marries a woman who is
his equal. Needless to say,the prince believes he has no equal.
Thankfully, he is proven well and truly wrong. [Michelle M.])

Pfister, Marcus:The Rainbow Fish (the title character is male,
but the wise octopus is female [Diane L.])

Pinkwater, Daniel:Aunt Lulu

Piper, Watty:The Little Engine that Could (the engine that
breaks down and the engine that saves the train are female, but
all the mean engines that won't help are male--the unabridged
version [Beth Vail J.])

Polocco, Patricia:Thundercake [Laura D.]

Pomerantz, Charlotte:The Piggy in the Puddle [Laura D.]

Ringgold, Faith: Tar Beach (a New York City African-American girl
dreams of flying, beautifully illustrated -- now in a boxed set
with a doll [Pam P.])

Rylant, Cynthia:Birthday Presents [Vicki ?]

San Souci, Robert and Brian Pinkney: Cut from the Same Cloth
(a book of woman-centered folk tales [Pam P.])

Segal, LoTell me a Trudy [Beth Vail J.]

Sherman, Josepha:Vassilissa the Wise (Russian tale; Cinderella type [Ruth

Silverstein, Shel:Where the Sidewalk Ends; A Light in the Attic
(selected poems) [Rec. unknown]

Simmonds, Posy:Lulu and the Flying Babies [Vicki ?]

Small, David:Ruby Mae Has Something to Say [Beth Vail J.];
Imogene's Antlers [Susan B.]

Steig, William:The Amazing Bone; Brave Irene [Diane L.]

Stein, Mini:We Help Daddy [Beth Vail J.]

Thompson, Kay:The "Eloise" books [June Cummins L.; Catherine

Tompert, Ann:Little Fox Goes to the End of the World (My favorite to
read to my girls (from age 3 on or so)...Little Fox explains to
her Mom about her adventures in finding the end of the world--
crossing jungles, deserts, mountains, etc. Sort of like an older,
female Runaway Bunny [U32495])

Unknown:Maisie Goes to Morningside [Rec. unknown]

Various:Fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast; Snow White
and Rose Red; The Snow Maiden [Rec. unknown]

Vernon, Tannis:Adriana and the Magic Clockwork Train [Vicki ?]

Whittington, Mary:The Patchwork Lady [Laura D.]

Williams, Jay:Petronella (Princess goes off to rescue prince, etc.,
but done with real wit [Ruth K.])

Williams, Linda: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything [Pam

Wollf, Ashely:Only the Cat Saw [June Cummins L.]

Yolen, Jane: The Girl Who Loved the Wind; The Moon Ribbon; Owl Moon
(While the protagonist is a mufflered-up child and the sex is never
mentioned, from the bookjacket copy, it's a girl. A beautiful story of a
child and her Pa who go owling on a winter's night.[Pam P.])

Yolen, Jane:The Emperor and the Kite (A Chinese emperor is
imprisoned in a tower. His youngest daughter flies her kite up to
him, with a basket of food and eventually rescues him (I think he
slides down the kite string. [Rec. unknown])

*Chapter and Series Books*

Alcott, Louisa May:The Little Women series [Diane M.Olivia W.]

Alexander, Lloyd:the series about Vesper Holly [Ruth K.]

Babbit, Natalie:The Eyes of the Amaryllis [Jim S.]

Baum, L.Frank:Any of the OZ books (you don't get much more
brave and independent than Dorothy- the movie makes her pretty
dependent on her friends for help, the books are much better
[Laura J.M.]);[Catherine H.]

Berger, Barbara Helen:Gwinna [Laura D.]

Blume, Judy:Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great [Catherine H.]

Brink, Carolyn Ryrie:Caddie Woodlawn (Historical semi-fiction
(based on the reminiscinces of the author's grandmother). Takes
place on the American frontier. Entertaining and funny. [Naomi
K.]) [Laura D.; Karen P.]

Burnett, Frances Hodgson:The Secret Garden [Laura J.M.; Naomi
K.]; The Little Princess (I _really_ liked "The Little Princess
[Naomi K.])

Campbell, Julie:Trixie Belden mystery series (Series continued by Kathryn
Kenny) [Diane M.]

Chew, Ruth:Any of the "Witch" books (they all have something
about a witch in the title. Good for late gradeschool. [Naomi

Cleary, Beverly:The Ramona series (Ramona the Pest, the Brave,
etc. These are pretty well known. Good, funny stories [Naomi
K.])(The great old standard [Becky ?]) [also Ruth K.]

Cole, Joanna:the Magic School Bus books (Ms. Frizzle, a science
teacher, takes her class on amazing field trips in the magic
school bus. She's always calm, authoritative, and educational,
even as the school bus is being ejected from a volcano or pursued
by a white blood cell. [Rec. unknown])

Cristaldi, Kathryn:Baseball Ballerina [Catherine H.]

Estes, Eleanor:The Witch Family (has a wonderful girl heroine.
[Rec. unknown])

Fisher, Dorothy Canfield:Understood Betsy (The only person who
truly understands sensitive, nine-year-old Elizabeth Anne is her
guardian, Aunt Florence. (Elizabeth Anne knows that she is
sensitive and that Aunt Florence understands her because Aunt
Florence has so often told her so.) When Great-Aunt Harriet
becomes ill and Aunt Florence must go away with her, and
Elizabeth is left to the care of her horrid Putney, Vermont
cousins. (She knows they are horrid because Aunt Florence has
told her so. [Jim S.])

Fitzhugh, Louise Fitzhugh: Harriet the Spy (I don't know that
Harriet is exactly what one would call a role model, but she
definitely was not a passive person. She was rather private, and
the book illustrates how she dealt with being a private person.
[Charlotte DeM.])

Furlong, Monica:Wise Child [Laura D.]

Haywood, Carolyn:the Betsy series [Ruth K.]

Jones, Diana Wynne:Charmed Life; The Magicians of Caprona
(Age rec. varies by the book. [Wendy E.B.]) (Most books by
Diana Wynne Jones have good female characters, and most of *those*
have female heroines. All of her books are worth reading. [jds])

Keene, Carolyn:Nancy Drew (if you can find the _old_ versions (try
garage sales). The new, up-to-date Nancy Drew is much sappier,
and the boyfriend always_ drives. [Naomi K.]) [also Diane M.]

Konigsburg, E.L.:From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil
E.Frankweiler (It is a Newberry Medal Winner, and was one of my
favorite books as a girl. I highly recommend it. [Olivia W.])

Konigsburg, E.L.:Jennifer, MacBeth, Hecate, William McKinley
and Me, Elizabeth (Another very good book with a strong black female
character [Wendy E.B.]

L'Engle, Madeline:A Wrinkle in Time;A Wind in the Door;The
Swiftly Tilting Planet (Fantasy. Really, really, really good. I
loved these books. [Naomi K.]) [also Catherine H.,Andy P.]

Lenski, Lois:Strawberry Girl (Newberry award winning kid's book
[Karen P.])

Lenski, Lois:Cotton In My Sack; Judy's Journey; Indian Captive
(...stories about children in different regional settings, like
migrant worker's children and cotton picker's children. They often
featured girls who were very strong and determined [Wendy E.B.])

Lewis, C.S.:The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
(Fantasy/Christian allegory...Some of the others are from a boy's
point of view, although all have at least one boy and at least one
girl as main characters. [Naomi K.])

Lindgren, Astrid:Pippi Longstocking (You'll probably get this
suggestion more than once. Pippi is wild and independent,
generous and brave, doesn't need help from anyone, lots of fun.
[Maggie DeRo.]) [also Susan B.]

Lovelace, Maud Hart:the "Betsy-Tacy" books [Catherine H.]

Lowry, Lois:Anastasis books (they're the first "recent"
children books I've gotten addicted to. [Becky L.])

Lowry, Lois:Number the Stars (Tells the story of the Danish
rescue of the Jews from the perspective of a Danish gentile girl.
Historic and exciting. [Naomi K.])

MacLachlan, Patricia:Sarah, Plain and Tall [Victoria N.]

McCully, Emily Arnold:Grandmas at Bat; Grandmas at the Lake [Vicki ?]

McKilip, Patricia:The Riddle-Master of Hed; Heir of Sea and
Fire; Harpist in the Wind; The Forgotten Beasts of Eld [Rec.

McKinley Robin:The Blue Sword; The Hero and the Crown [Naomi
K.]; Beauty [Rec. unknown]

Montgomery, L.M.:The Anne of Green Gables [Diane M.; Olivia W.],
Emily of New Moon series, etc. (I would highly recommend almost
anything by L.M. Montgomery. The "Anne of Green Gables" books are
the best, but her other ones, such as "Emily of New Moon," and
"Pat of Silver Bush" are also excellent. Very strong females,
with a great sense of life! [Kelly Jane T.] Wonderworks did a
*really* good movie version of "Anne of Green Gables"--check for
it at your local video store [Naomi K.]).

Moon, Grace:Nadita (She has a whole series of books featuring
little Indian, Mexican, etc. girls and possibly sometimes boys. I
just adored these as a kid [Rec. unknown])

O'Connor, Jane:Molly the Brave and Me [Catherine H.]

O'Dell, Scott:Island of the Blue Dolphins (It's about a girl
who's a member of an indian tribe which lives on an island that is
populated by seals (as well as other animals). When white men
come to hunt the seals, the two cultures clash, and the native
tribe decides that they must leave the island. The girl misses
the departing boats and lives by herself for several years on the
island, until she is finally rescued. This is probably the best
book I ever read as a young girl [Charlotte DeM.] (Warning:girl's
younger brother is killed by wild dogs) [also Diane M.;Patti Tw.;
Eric B.]

Parish, P:Amelia Bedelia (has my kids ROTFL every time [Susan

Paterson, Katherine:The Great Gilly Hopkins (This is about a
girl in foster care. Read to my fourth-grade class by our
teacher. I still remember it. Slightly sad. [Naomi K.]) [also
Catherine H.]

Phelps, Ethel Johnston:Maid of the North: Feminist Fairy Tales
(If you're interested in fairy tales...A collection of 21 stories
from all over the world. It's not a picture book, it's for a kid
who enjoys being read to w/o pictures. My 6 y.o. is reading it to
herself and said to me "When I'm grown up I'm going to read my
kids the stories from this book and never stuff like Rapunzel!"
What I like about the book is that the stories are all traditional
ones from the different cultures--not ones that have been
rewritten to make a point. I'm not so fond of books like The
Paper-Bag Princess and the Tough Princess because they seem to me
awfully heavy-handed. [Ruth K.])

Phelps, Ethel Johnston, Ed.:Tatterhood Stories (A collection of
folk tales from around the world, all with heroines. There are
men in the stories but they are not the characters who take charge
and solve the problem. I've read about 6 of the stories to
my 8 year old son, and he enjoys them. I feel it's a nice change
of pace from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
[Rec. unknown])

Pierce, Tamara:Lioness Rampant; Woman who Rides Like a Man
[Rec. unknown]

Porter, Gene Stratton:Girl of the Limberlost (about a young girl
who is upset to learn she must quit school to help earn money
for her family to survive...and how she manages to turn her knowledge
of the butterflies of the Limberlost into a cash business which
allows her to complete school and save her family. [Gail ?])

Ransome, Arthur:Swallows and Amazons (Swallowdale, Coot Club)
(some sexism, but strong, independent, knowledgeable girls [Vicki

Sawyer, Ruth:Roller Skates (Another book featuring a strong-
willed girl...It won a children's book prize quite a few years
ago. It features Lucinda, who lives in New York (last century)
and who, although belonging to one of the best families, will
never be on the social register. She has a glorious year when her
parents go abroad leaving her with lots of freedom to roam NY,
make unsuitable friends and learn lots about life. [Anita G.])
[also Dena R.]

Seredy, Kate:The Good Master; The Singing Tree (Although you
could make an argument that Jansci is the main character, I think
Kate and, later, Lilly do a lot of good kid-and-teenager things.
And the relationship with their parents are interesting to study.
There is a lot of group action in these books. [Sara])

Sharp, Margery:The Rescuers (The central character is a wise
and resourceful female mouse, she resues a little girl with the
assistance of a male mouse. [Maggie DeRo.]) [also Wendy E.B.]

Sleator, William:Once, Said Darlene [Vicki ?]

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley:The Egypt Game (Nice story which
touch[es] on some of the issues of being a kid, and [has] strong
female protagonists. [Olivia W.])

Streatfield, Noel:Shoes series (Another series that features
lots of three-dimensional girls...Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes,
Family Shoes, New Shoes, Circus Shoes, Movie Shoes, etc.(these are
are published under different titles in England, where they
originated) - I absolutely adored these books from about age 7 to
12 or so (still reread themonce in a while, at 39) - start with
Ballet Shoes- it's the best (and don't be put off by the
titles).[Dena R])

Taylor, Sydney:All of a Kind Family series (...while they may
have some old-fashioned ideas, they were about a family full of
girls [Karen P.]) (Also interesting for their descriptions of the
celebration of Jewish holidays, incidently [Wendy E.B.])

Travers, Pamela L.:Mary Poppins;sequels (The original character
is not so unvaryingly sugary as the Disney version. [Jim S.])
(Mary Poppins blows in and saves the day [Karen P.])

Unknown:January 29, 1999 (This one is a far-out tale that
starts with a girl's school science project. [Margaret B.B.])

Unknown:Kim Aldrich series (Kim's a great female role model.
Although there is usually one male paired with Kim in each book,
unlike Nancy Drew who called on Ned a lot, Kim is intelligent,
resourceful, gets herself out of trouble, and even karate
chops/throws the males once or twice. Enjoyed it as a teenager.
[Rachel A.D.])

Unknown:The Children of Finn (A girl and her brother get taken
through time to spend their summer in ancient Ireland. [Naomi K.])

Various:ALL of the American Girls books (they are TREMENDOUS!
[Catherine H.]) (Excellent - they are about girls in different
historic periods, and each book deals with an event in her life.
For instance, there are books set in pioneer days, around WW II
times, around the turn of the century, etc. My daughter has
learned some interesting facts about history from them - but
beware, they are related to the Pleasant Company and their
expensive line of dolls - each book series has a corresponding
doll you can purchase. [Patti Tw.]) (I second this recommendation.
Be warned, too, that these books have some confronting items in
them - like deaths and dangers. We've been reading them as chapter
books - one or two chapters a night for the past months. I read
everything to Katherine - no editing here. It gives us the
opportunity to discuss upsetting and happy parts...Each book has
5-6 short chapters in them. As for the line of dolls, well,
Katherine got Samantha (looks just like her!) from grandma for her
birthday a couple weeks ago. She loves the doll, sleeps with her,
dresses her, etc. The doll is really nice, and the hair brushes
out to looking nice easily. I already sew for the kids and myself,
and am now sewing for the doll, too :-) Katherine loves it when
they can have matching outfits. [Tigger (Grace S.)])

White, E.B.:Charlotte's Web (She's a spider, but she is still a
female! [Patti Tw.])

Wilder, Laura Ingalls:The Little House on the Prairie books
[Diane M.; Olivia W; Ruth K.] (sexist and racist and includes
corporal punishment, so read carefully if you want to cut these
things out! -- but the writing is so beautiful, and the stories so
good that it's worth it [Vicki ?]) (Everyone knows about these.
_Really_ good for a sense of history. [Naomi K.])

Wilson, Gilbert L:Waheenee: An Indian Girl's Story (This book
is great, although a little advanced listening for my 4-year-old.
It's similar in spirit and time-setting, and has lots of pencil-
drawings, like the Little House books, but is told from a Native
American view. Just what I was looking for!!! [Beth Vail J.])

Wrede, Patricia C.:Searching for Dragons;Talking with
Dragons;Dealing with Dragons (Off-beat heroines...Princesses who
are skipping out on their Princessing lessons, and the like.
Especially good for former Fairy Tale addicts like me, because
they make fun of all the Fairy Tale expectations). Good for any
age group, I think. [Naomi K.]) (Cimorene is a wonderful role
model, without being in the least preachy. [Alayne McG.])

*Biographies of noted women*:

Clara Barton [Karen P.]
Elizabeth Blackwell [Hilary M.]
Nellie Bly [Karen P.]
Joan of Arc [Wen-Lin W.]
Helen Keller [Karen P.]
Florence Nightingale [Wen-Lin W.]
Sacajawea [Diane M.]

Unknown:Childhoods of Famous Americans series. (Collection of
books. All sorts of people - mostly presidents and other
politicians like Ben Franklin, but also women like Clara Barton,
Martha Washington, Jane Addams, Harriet Beecher Stowe. They were
fairly accurate stories of what it was like growing up a
particular era, and gave a good feeling for why those people grew
up to do whatever it was they were famous for. [Olivia W.])

*Older children/teens*:

Aiken, Joan:The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and all the
sequels...Slightly dark, maybe a little scary. I buy them in used
book stores because they're fun to read now, too. [Naomi K.])

Alcott, Louisa May:Little Women [Catherine H.]

Austen, Jane:Pride and Prejudice [Wen-Lin W.]

Avi:The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle [Eric B.]

Barrie, Barbara:Lone Star [Eric B.]

Beatty, Patricia:Bonanza Girl; Eight Mules from Monterey;
Lupita Manana; Turn Homeward, Hannalee [Eric B.]

Blos, Joan:A Gathering of Days [Eric B.]

Blume, Judy:Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great [Catherine
H.];Deenie;Tiger Eye [Rec. unknown]

Brent-Dyer, E.M.:Chalet School series (written between 1925 and
1970, and reflect the values of the times, obviously, but there
are a lot of well-portrayed strong minded girls in them. Many are
shown going on to further ed/careers, including the sciences,
doctoring, running a business etc., as well as writing, teaching
and other more traditional choices. There is also at least 1
positive gay character. [Rec. unknown])

Brittain, Vera:Testament of Youth (The book that changed my
self-perception as a teen-girl/very young woman...It's the
autobiog. of a young woman who served as a nurse in WWI. It
really opened my eyes to the fact I could be and do anything I
chose, without the help of men. I think I was about 16 when I
read it [Alison])

Bronte, Charlotte:Jane Eyre [Wen-Lin W.]

Bronte, Emily:Wuthering Heights [Wen-Lin W.]

Buss, Fran Leeper:Journey of the Sparrows [Eric B.]

Calvert, Patricia:Hadder MacColl [Eric B.]

Cameron, Eleanor: A Room Made of Windows; To The Green Mountains [Pam P.]

Cole, Brock:Celine [Eric B.]

Cooper, Susan:Greenwitch; The Green King [Eric B.]

Dahl,Roald:Matilda [Catherine H.]

Dalgleish, Alice,: The Courage of Sarah Noble [Pam P.];
The Silver Pencil [Eric B.]

Dickinson, Peter:Eva [Eric B.]

Field, Rachel:Calico Bush (Female bonding is a tough one. I
think a lot of books aimed at teenage girls discuss it in some
way. But a lot of the heroines that I like are quite introspective
and introverted. Not likely to bond with anyone, at least to begin
with. And I tend to find books about modern teenagers boring,
maybe because there are not very many stimulating activities for
people to write about modern teens participating in. [Sara L.])

Fitzhugh, Louise:Nobody's Family is Going to Change; Sport;
Harriet the Spy; The Long Secret [Eric B.]

Garden, Nancy:Annie on my Mind [Eric B.]

Gates, Doris:Blue Willow [Eric B.]

George, Jean Craighead:Julie of the Wolves; My Side of the
Mountain; On the Far Side of the Mountain; The Cry of the Crow;
The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo; The Summer of the Falcon; The
Talking Earth; Water Sky; Who Really Killed Cock Robin [Eric B.]

Giff, Patricia Reilly:The Gift of the Pirate Queen [Eric B.]

Guy, Rosa:The Friends (...books about friendship between young
urban females [Larry G.])

Harrah, Madge:Honey Girl [Eric B.]

Heinlein, Robert:Podkayne of Mars (One of my all time
favorites...It's about a young preteen who grows up on Mars and
takes a trip with her stinkin' little brother to Venus. On the way
she speculates about becoming a starship captain when she grows
up, then sees one of the officers and decides maybe she'll be a
starship captain's wife instead! Typical teenage
thinking...Anyway, Heinlein captured a teenage girl's thinking
beautifully, and especially her feelings toward her irritating
sibling. She keeps a diary, and he writes in it in invisible ink
unbeknownst to her! [Karen ?])

Henderson, Zenna:The People series--The People:No Different
Flesh (This is science fiction, based on the idea of this race of
humans who were forced to come to Earth in the 19th century when
their world --exploded? I don't remember. The tone of these
stories is so wonderful and magical, so soft and caring and
knowing about human nature. These People were scattered among
humanity, and have had to hide their special abilities because of
the very negative reactions of humans. There are a number of
characters, mostly female, a lot of teachers as I recall. I read
these in adolescence, and so much wished they were true, and that
I could be one of the People! [Anne H.W.])

Hendry, Frances Mary:Quest for a Maid [Eric B.]

Hentoff, Nat:The Day They Came to Arrest the Book [Eric B.]

Herlihy, Dirlie:Ludie's Song [Eric B.]

Highwater, Jamake:Anpao;I Wear the Morning Star; Legend Days ;
The Ceremony of Innocence [Eric B.]

Hildick, E.W.:The Active-Enzyme, Lemon-Freshened, Junior High School
Witch [Arielle ?]

Hurmence, Belinda:A Girl Called Boy [Eric B.]

Hurwitz, Johanna:The Hot and Cold Summer;The Rabbi's Girls
[Eric B.]

Jones, Diana Wynne:Charmed Life; The Magicians of Caprona
(Age rec. varies by the book. [Wendy E.B.]) (Most books by
Diana Wynne Jones have good female characters, and most of *those*
have female heroines. All of her books are worth reading. [jds])

Keehn, Sally:I am Regina [Eric B.]

Kerr, Judith:When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit [Eric B.]

Knudsen, R. R.:Zan Hagen series (Zanbanger, Zanboomer,
Zanballer--They're all about a (junior?) high-school aged girl who
loves sports and fights to get to play on her school's boys'
sports teams. My favorite is _Zanbanger_, where she plays on the
boy's basketball team. She's definitely tough and athletic, as
well as fighting for her rights. She has a good friend, a
somewhat nerdy boy, who helps her by giving lots of good advice.
They're geared for teenagers. [Rec. unknown])

Konigsberg, E.L.:The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E.
Frankweiler (A boy and a girl run away and live in an art museum.
Weird and maybe a little confusing for younger kids. [Naomi K.])

L'Engle, Madeleine:various titles (feature strong female
characters [Karen P.])

Lee, Harper:To Kill a Mockingbird [Catherine H.]

LeGuin, Ursula:The Red Stallion (On the same depth as an old-
time fairy tale.[Rec. unknown])

LeGuin, Ursula:Tombs of Atuan (2nd book of Earthsea Trilogy.
From the point of view of a great female character.[Andy P.]/
It's the only one of the series I reread. I never used to
understand why it was considered the weakest and most boring of
the Earthsea books until I realized it is one of the few fantasy
books about a *girl's* coming of age. Or at least it used to be,
there are many more now - _Sister Light, Sister Dark_ by Jane
Yolen and the Lioness series come to mind. [Wendy E.B.])

Levitim, Sonia:Silver Days; Journey to America [Eric B.]

Linderman, Frank:Prety-Shield [Eric B.]

MacLachlan, Patricia:Cassie Beregar; The Facts and Fictions of
Minna Pratt [Eric B.]

Mahy, Margaret:The Catalogue of the Universe; The Tricksters
(...there are several main female characters, and some boys'
viewpoints as well so by no means one-sided. [Tony B.])

McCaffrey, Anneragon series [Rec. unknown]

McKinley, Robin:The Hero and the Crown;The Blue Sword (These
are fantasy novels. Both have heroines I had no trouble at all
identifying with--slightly clumsy misfit girls with big feet
[Naomi K.])

Miles, Betty: The Real Me [Pam P.]

Mitchell, Margaret:Gone With the Wind [Diane M.]

Newth, Mette:The Abduction [Eric B.]

O'Brien, Robert:The Silver Crown [Rec. unknown];Mrs. Frisby and
the Rats of N.I.M.H. (Recommended by my officemate. I don't
remember this book that well. Naomi K.]) [also Catherine H.]

O'Dell, Scott:My Name is Not Angelica; Send Down the Moon;
Sarah Bishop; The Serpent Never Sleeps; Zia [Eric B.]; Julie of
the Wolves [Catherine H.]

O'Dell, Scott:Island of the Blue Dolphin (A girl stranded on a
desert island. It's sort of a girl Robinson Crusoe. Slightly
depressing, as I remember. I don't think I'd read it to very
young kids. [Naomi K.]) [also Eric B.]

Paterson, Katherine:Bridge to Terabithia; Lyddie; Of
Nightingales That Weep; Park's Quest; The Great Gilly Hopkins; The
Master Puppeteer [Eric B.]

Paterson, Katherine:Jacob Have I Loved [Eric B., Sara L.]

Pelta, Kathy:The Blue Empress; The Parrot Man Mystery [Eric B.]

Pierce, Tamara:Lioness Rampant quartain (This is a sword and
sorcery series. The protagonist is the girl half of a set of
twins. She was being sent off to a monastary to become a magician,
her brother to the king to become a knight. They swap places. Very
exciting. The second of the books is Woman who Rides Like a Man.
I forget the other titles. [Rec. unknown])

Poples, Maureen:The Other Side of the Family [Eric B.]

Ransome, Arthur:Swallows and Amazons (...a series by a British
writer that is less well-known, but is just starting to appear in
paperbacks (expensive paperbacks!) over here ...wonderful girls
and boys. [Becky])

Roberts, Willo Davis:Megan's Island [Eric B.]

Rodowsky, Colby:What About Me? [Eric B.]

Sachs, Marilyn: The Truth about Mary Rose [Pam P.]

Shreve, Susan:Luch Forever & Miss Rosetree, Shrinks [Eric B.]

Smith, Doris Buchanan:Laura Upside-Down [Eric B.]

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley:Janie's Private Eyes; The Famous Stanley
Kidnapping Case; The Headless Cupid; The Velvet Room; The Witches
of Worm [Eric B.];The Changeling [Rec. unknown]

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley:The Egypt Game (...kids pretending that the
vacant lot behind their house is Ancient Egypt. [Naomi K.])

Sook Nyul Choi:Year of Impossible Goodbyes (It is about a young
Korean girl. Very strong maternal figures without a lot of the
baggage of western society.) [jf]

Speare, Elizabeth George:Calico Captive [Eric B.]

Speare, Elizabeth George:The Witch of Blackbird Pond
(Historical fiction--set in colonial Massachusetts. About a young
woman, born in Barbados, who goes to live with her relatives in
the American colonies. There's a witch trial in it (SPOILER:
everything works out okay). Inspired an interest for me in
American colonial history. I'd recommend for age 9 and up. [Naomi
K.]) [also Catherine H., Eric B.]

Sutcliff, Rosemary:Flame-Colored Taffeta [Eric B.]

Taylor, Mildred:Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry [Catherine H.]

Taylor, Mildred:Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry [Eric B.]

Uchida, Yoshiko:A Jar of Dreams; Journey Home; Journey to
Topaz; The Best Bad Thing [Eric B.]

Vander Els, Betty:The Bomber's Moon [Eric B.]

Voigt, Cynthia:Homecoming; Dicey's Song (Wonderful family
connections and a very strong female protagonist.); A Solitary
Blue (Probably my favorite, but the central character is male.
These books are elegantly quiet. [Laura W.])

Watson, Sally:Jade; Lark; Highland Rebel; etc. (Historical
fiction; different eras; strong/strongwilled young girls and women
as primary characters [Hilary M.])

Willard, Barbara:Mantlemass series (The Lark and the Laurel,
The Sprig of Broom [Rec. unknown])

Woodson, Jacqueline:Last Summer with Maizon; Maizon at Blue
Hill (...books about friendship between young urban females [Larry

Woodward, Grace Steele:Pocahontas [Eric B.]

*Resources and Suggestions*:

Chinaberry catalog (1 800 776 2242) [Paula B.]

Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. 1150 Skyline Tower 10900 NE 4th
Bellvue WA 98004 (for H. Miyazaki picture books)

Internet newsgroup "rec.arts.books.childrens"

"The WEB" newsletter. Focuses on older, classic books.
P.O. Box 401, Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola:Women Who Run With the Wolves
(has some really great strong female folktales/fairy tales.
The analysis of these stories of course is too much for a
small child (and many adults) But it might be a good resource
book for other possible sources of strong female characters
[Katherine R.])

"There's a gopher - lib.nmsu.edu - that has a bibliography of
strong female characters in children's books. Choose Resources by
Subject, Education and Children's Literatu Electronic
Resources." Wendy E. Betts, Editor "The WEB: Celebrating
Children's Literature" *for more information about The WEB,

The local gay pride bookstore has books for children which,
besides having a variety of roles for both boys and girls, also
feature different types of families besides the standard "nuclear"
one. There may be a women's bookstore around too, which might
also be a source of either books or suggestions. When your
daughter gets (quite a bit) older, there is a wonderful magazine
called "New Moon" which is written by and for girls, and which
emphasizes strong role models. I wish I had a daughter so I could
buy it for her! [Sue W.]

When reading aloud and the gender of a character is either not
stated or irrelevant, one could use feminine pronouns.


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