All too often, books that are targeted towards young girls do not give them intelligent or independent women to be inspired by. It is not always easy to find a well told tale of a girl who is a hero, scientist, intellectual, or the like. These books illustrate just how capable girls can be.
1. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Part of The Giver Quartet, Gathering Blue is the story of a young girl who finds her strength in a world that is falling apart. She gains the responsibility and wields the intelligence that will give hope for the future in the darkest of circumstances.
2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Lyra is independent, strong willed, and adventurous. Her epic story begins in The Golden Compass where Lyra navigates a fantastical world through lies and deceit; where she can use her considerable skills to change the world without letting anything hold her back.
3. Gracie For President by Kelly S. DiPucchio
A great first look into the electoral system of the United States, but also an account of history and glass ceilings left unbroken and the drive of one young girl to change all of it. Even through the eyes of a young child, what has been impossible in the past is only a hurdle to leap over. Determination to change the world and do something new in a male dominated space is possible for even the youngest of girls.
4. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
A girl unlike any other, Harriet uses her intellect and analytical skills to act as a spy. Through betrayal, loneliness, and childhood woes, Harriet remains a character to look up to and a quirky inspiration for young girls.
5. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Strange and independent, Pippi encourages young girls to be themselves and embrace all their quirks. Traversing the world without parents, Pippi shows strength, resolve, and responsibility to young girls who, hopefully, have yet to experience what the world is like without the help of adults.
6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Opinionated, imaginative, and top of her class, Anne is an example for girls everywhere to follow their dreams with determination, no matter the obstacles, and that being yourself, however troublesome that may be to others, is the best way to live and love in this world.
7. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
A princess unlike any other, Cimorene runs away with a dragon, seizing her independence for herself and demanding of the world that it let her be who she is.
8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Turning the fairy tale story on its head, Ella is unwilling to submit to the spell that is cast upon her, aiming at making her obedient. She defies magic and does what is required for her to save herself, no prince in shining armor necessary. A perfect tale for any young girl who dreams of being a princess, but without the damsel in distress strings attached.
9. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Stranded on an island alone for eighteen years, a young girl must learn self sufficiency and the coping skills necessary to survive alone. Her adventures and heartache are sure to inspire young readers while demonstrating the strength that resides in all of us.
The adventurous spirit of a child holds no limits. Over and over again, children are told that they can do whatever they set their minds to and be whomever they wish to be, but what are the stories we put in their hands and the examples we set before them actually telling them? Kids are listening, and they deserve books that open doors, not close them.
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