I Like Me by Nancy Carlson – A great story about self acceptance. When the pig in the story fails at something, she tries again. She loves everything about herself – down to her “round tummy” and “tiny feet”. Body confidence needs to be taught early, and this is a great tool to do it with. Our grandmother read this to us growing up, and it’s a lovely story.
Olivia by Ian Falconer – Another pig story, Olivia is your classic precocious toddler. But she owns it. What more could you want out of a smart little girl?
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor – One of our favorites to buy for little girls, Fancy Nancy teaches high level vocabulary, explaining them as “fancy” words to replace the reader’s current vocabulary. Best of all, Fancy Nancy shows little girls you can be smart AND pretty… and confidently wear feather boas in public. A must-read.
Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson – A story about a hippo who loves to dance, despite the complaints of her neighbors in the wild. A fabulous (and wonderfully illustrated) story that tells girls (or boys!) to dance to the beat of their own drum, proudly and fearlessly. It’s not always about doing what you’re great at, it’s about doing what you love. Amen to that!
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – (Warning: this book may make your future strong woman want to go to France!) A classic about a spunky little girl from France. Madeline is a natural leader who stands out from the crowd at her school. We recently gave this book to our niece.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch – A princess story with a twist. When Princess Elizabeth’s betrothed is kidnapped by a dragon, she outsmarts the dragon and saves him. When he is less than pleased by her bedraggled appearance and un-princess-like behavior, she kicks him to the curb! And lives happily ever after.
The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary – Ramona is such a great character for young kids to relate to (not just girls). She is always having ideas, and her enthusiasm often gets her into trouble, usually with very funny results.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – Another story that allows the princess to be her own hero. This is a twist on the classic Cinderella story. Ella is smart, resourceful, and relatable. This funny and sweet chapter book is perfect for preteens. If you’ve seen the movie, completely disregard it when considering this book (it is garbage).
The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Nancy Drew is a smart, resourceful, and talented high school student who frequently outsmarts adult criminals and solves crimes that have baffled the police. Throughout the series, Nancy seems to be good at everything she does: swimming, starring in plays, music lessons, etc. Whatever her hobby, a young woman will probably be able to find a book in the series that features it.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle – This classic is a must-read for your future strong woman. Not only is Meg Murray smart, brave, and good, but she is brilliant at math. Her mother is also a brilliant scientist. This wonderful adventure story could be recommended for so many reasons, but the portrayal of women and girls being successful in the field of math and sciences makes these characters stand out as especially good role models.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Hermione may not be the main character, but she’s one of the top three, and a great example for female readers. She’s scary smart, average looking, brave, honorable, and saves the day on a regular basis. And all the lesser female characters are strong and independent as well. Additionally, this is an intelligent and imaginative series… something every strong woman should love!
Becca’s very well loved Harry Potter books. We waited at midnight events for most of these, and finished them within a matter of days. Sadly, our dog is also quite partial to Harry, as you can see on Books 1 and 5.