As I have embarked on my self-appointed mission to find books about “girls doing big things,” I have realized several things:
- Defining “big things” is difficult and not uniform.
- There are many excellent books about strong, brave, adventurous, intelligent girls that share their story with male characters and are being left off my list. It feels unfair.
- There are a lot of very good books about girls doing everyday things that are also being intentionally left off my list (I’m looking at you, Anne of Green Gables). Not including them is much more difficult than I imagined.
- There is a shocking disparity in the number of stories being told about black and brown girls. Additionally, when a story can be found, it is most often either a survival story or historical fiction. Now, don’t get me wrong, these stories are important, very important. But where are the stories about black and brown girls having imaginative adventures, storming the castle, or solving a mystery. We need more.
- I love blogging about books. One of the things I love most is getting so many fantastic suggestions from you. It is fun. And I must say, you are a very well read bunch!
Without further ado, here are the reader recommendations I received:
It should also be noted that non-fiction biographies provide excellent stories of girls and women doing big things. Women such as Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Corrie ten Boom, Ann Frank, and Sacajawea give our girls real life guides to bravery, persistence, and strength.
Additionally, I highly recommend the historical fiction series, Dear America, for stories of young girls overcoming great odds. Common Sense Media has an excellent list of Books with Strong Female Characters. Mighty Girls also has a list of books for Smart, Confident, Courageous Girls.
Book choice matters. It is not simply that girls need to see themselves in books, but they need to see themselves “doing big things too.” Let us continue to lead them to just those books.