4 Badass Bookish Heroines Before Hermione

If you were a bookish girl growing up, it was always a thrill to find a like-minded character. It was comforting to know that there were other people out there who carried a book in their backpack at all times, who loved visiting the library on weekends (or anytime), read at the dinner table, and didn’t mind sitting in the corner with a book at recess. Even if the characters we were reading about didn’t do all of these things – after all recess wasn’t a thing in 19th Century America – it wasn’t far-fetched that they would. The world now has Hermione Granger to look to as its bookworm role model, but before Hermione came along, there was no shortage of bookish role models. Here are four of my bookish friends; add yours in the comments!

1)  Matilda

Even for kids who didn’t have abusive parents or war criminalesque school principals, Matilda taught the value of reading as escapism. Looking back, I can’t believe that book or movie was marketed to kids. Talk about emotional scarring. But Matilda found comfort and peace in her books, and showed us that, even if our problems weren’t as bad as hers, we could do the same.


Source: Amazon

2) Anastasia Krupnik

Anastasia was a giant nerd-linger who dreamed of owning a bookstore. Her inability to climb the rope in gym class was all of us, but she was fortunate enough to have supportive nerd-linger parents when she got home from school.  She kept a notebook of ideas filled with the beginnings of poems and essays as well as her famous love/hate lists. There was a year where I read nothing but books in the Anastasia series, so much so my teacher had to have a conversation with my parents about my unwillingness to branch out. If Anastasia were a real person, I like to think she’d be a hipster indie bookstore owner in a coastal New England town today.


Source: Amazon

3) Claudia Kishi

Claudia was a bookish rebel. Her awful parents thought Nancy Drew (Nancy Drew!) was inappropriate and not highbrow enough for a thirteen-year-old, but she read the books anyway, devouring them along with her candy bars whenever she wasn’t painting.  Be honest, did Claudia inspire you to hide books in nooks and crannies around your bedroom? I know I had a couple books under my mattress thanks to her.


Source: Amazon

4) Belle

Okay, so she’s not a book character . But what 90’s girl didn’t love seeing her walking around town with her nose stuck in a book? Never mind the sliding bookcase ladder that became part of all of our home-owning fantasies. And that library, oh, that library!


Source: Amazon

So thanks for the support, ladies. You didn’t make middle school a joy, but you sure helped.

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Featured image via Wiki Choices

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