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

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Children's Books with Central Female Characters

Sub-FAQ of 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, Bill:Donna 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 
Totoro:Dad 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, Lore:Tell 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, Anne:Dragon 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 ( 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 - - that has a bibliography of 
strong female characters in children's books. Choose Resources by 
Subject, Education and Children's Literature: 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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