Reading books that have girls as main characters, who go on adventures just like the boys do, is necessary to every child’s growth. Whether it’s Hermione from “Harry Potter,” Anne from “Anne of Green Gables,” or Matilda from “Matilda,” there are so many good stories for kids to learn about gender stereotypes–and how not to fall into them.
Here are my picks:
1. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi doesn’t live by anyone’s rules but her own.
“I don’t think you have a very nice way with ladies,’ said Pippi. And she lifted him in her strong arms — high in the air — and carried him to a birch tree and hung him over a branch. Then she took the next boy and hung him over another branch.”
2. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Ramona is silly and anxious and has bad hair days just like us, but also astute and quick-witted.
“He was dressed as if everything he wore had come from different stores or from a rummage sale, except that the crease in his trousers was sharp and his shoes were shined.”
3. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
6th grade Alice gets her first bra and her first period, all without her mom, showing the hard journey to teendom.
“Patrick and I were about as different as two people could possibly be. Nothing embarrasses Patrick very much, and everything embarrasses me. Just being alive embarrasses me.”
4. The Oz series by L. Frank Baum
Dorothy is strong, resourceful, and wise beyond her years.
“I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart.”
5. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Sure, the series is about Harry, but it’s as much as Hermione in many ways, and Hermione is one badass young woman.
“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!”
6. The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
It’s a story about friendship between girls who do more than just talk about boys.
“I’ve discovered that in order to make big changes in the world, we have to begin at home — within ourselves.”
7. The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
Nancy solves mysteries, all by herself (and with some help from her friends), in a world usually dominated by boys.
“Ned said “Nancy Drew is the best girl detective in the whole world!”
“Don’t you believe him,” Nancy said quickly. “I have solved some mysteries, I’ll admit, and I enjoy it, but I’m sure there are many other girls who could do the same.”
8. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda wasn’t offered the opportunity to learn, so she made herself learn instead.
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
9. Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio
Grace is determined to be the first woman president when her teacher reveals to her that no women have served as president yet.
“Grace made good on her promises.”
10. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne is creative–she is a girl with big dreams, and she’s also an orphan looking for love and family.
“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”