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Books with "sweet" heroines?

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DD loves books, especially ones with adventuresome storylines, but all the main characters are usually boys, or "girls acting like boys", or "animals that are boys". She is interested in finding some books out there where the heroines are "sweet girls", and yet the stories still fun and interesting (and maybe even adventuresome)?


She is only 5, but is an extremely advanced reader (at least 5th grade by now). I'm just looking for lots of suggestions and then I can figure out which ones might be suitable when.



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gr. 2-3 reading level

Understood Betsy (Fisher)

The Courage of Sarah Noble (Dagliesh)

Betsy-Tacy (Lovelace)


gr. 3-4 reading level

Emily's Runaway Imagination (Cleary)

Ellen Tebbits (Cleary)

B is for Betsy (Haywood)

All of a Kind Family (Taylor)
Milly-Molly-Mandy (Brisley)
Baby Island (Brink)
No Flying in the House (Brock) - fantasy
Twig (Jones) - fantasy
The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret, Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines, Miss Bianca in the Orient -- (Sharp) -- talking animals; girl and boy
Grandma's Attic (Richardson) -- girls and boys
The Moffats (Estes) -- girls and boys
The Saturdays (Enright) -- girls and boys
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (Sidney) -- girls and boys
Boxcar Children series (Warner) -- mysteries; gr. 3 reading level; girls and boys
gr. 4-5 reading level
Two are Better Than One (Brink)
The House Above the Trees (Elliot)
Nancy & Plum (MacDonald)

Ballet Shoes series (Streatfeild)

Roller Skates (Sawyer)

gr. 5-6 reading level
Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken)

Strawberry Girl (Lenski)

A Little Princess; The Secret Garden (Burnett)

Thee, Hannah! (de Angeli)

Pollyanna (Porter)

Mandy (Edwards)


gr. 6 reading level

Anne of Green Gables




gr. 1-2 reading level

Toots and the Upside Down House (Hughes)


gr. 2-3 reading level

Magic Rainbow Fairy series  (Meadows)

Flower Fairies Friends series  (Barker)

Fairy Realm series (Rodda)

Seven Chinese Sisters (Tucker)

The Lighthouse Family series (Rylant) -- talking animal; girls and boys

Catwings (Le Guin) -- talking animal; girls and boys


gr. 3-4 reading level

Mermaid Tales from Around the World (Osborne) -- girl and boy

The Golden Fairytale Book (Sequr) -- girl and boy

The World's Best Fairy Tales (Sideman) -- a Reader's Digest Anthology -- girl and boy

Pippi Longstockings; Pippi in the South Seas (Astrid)

Twig (Jones)

No Flying in the House (Brock)

The Witch Family (Estes)

The Borrowers series (Norton)


gr. 4-5 reading level

Book of …. series (Ruth Manning Sanders) -- Book of Fairies, Book of Mermaids, Book of Witches, Book of Princes and Princesses, etc.; OOP, but worth looking for

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Lin)

Raising Dragons (Nolen)

Miranda the Great (Estes) -- talking animals; girls

Raggedy Anne and Andy (Gruelle) -- preview; some of the stories may be a bit much for a 5yo

The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret, Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines, Miss Bianca in the Orient -- (Sharp) -- talking animals; girl and boy


gr. 5-6 reading level

Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series) (Wrede)

The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years (Field)

The Princess and the Goblins (MacDonald) -- girl and boy




The Golly Sisters Go West (Byars) -- gr. 1-2 reading level

The Golly Sisters Ride Again (Byars) -- gr. 1-2 reading level

Amelia Bedelia series -- gr. 1-2 reading level




The Little Riders (Shemin) -- gr. 2 reading level

Ivy & Bean series (Barrows) -- gr. 2-3 reading level

Cam Jansen series (Adler) -- gr. 3 reading level

Nim's Island (Orr) -- gr. 3-4 reading level

The Year of Miss Agnes (Fitzpatrick) -- gr. 4-5 reading level

The School Story (Clements) -- gr. 4-5 reading level

Daughter of the Mountains (Rankin) -- gr. 5 reading level





gr. 2-3 reading level

A Lion to Guard Us (Bulla) -- sister and brother

The Secret Valley (Bulla) -- brother and sister

The Courage of Sarah Noble (Dalgliesh)


gr. 3 reading level

Silver (Whelan)

Shadow of the Wolf (Whelan)

Sarah Whitchter's Story (Yates)

Pioneer Cat (Hooks)

Caddie Woodlawn (Brink)

The Cabin Faced West (Fritz)

Little House in the Big Woods, On the Banks of Plum Creek (Wilder)

House on Rocky Ridge (Macbride) -- series following Laura Ingalls Wilder's descendants

Sarah Plain and Tall (MacLachlan)


gr. 4-5 reading level

Bound for Oregon (Van Leeuwen)


gr. 5 reading level

Calico Bush (Field)

I am Regina (Keehn)





gr. 1-2 reading level

The Big Balloon Race (Coerr)

Pocahontas: An American Princess (Milton)

The True Story of Pocahontas (Penner)

The 18 Penny Goose (Roop)

Sacajawea (Milton)

Clara and the Bookwagon (Levinson)


gr. 2-3 reading level


Joan of Arc (Corey)

Phoebe the Spy (Griffin) 

Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride (Amstel)

The Secret Soldier: The Story Of Deborah Sampson (McGovern)

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie (Roop)

Helen Keller (Davidson)

Helen Keller's Teacher (Davidson)

Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark (Hurwitz)

The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft (Moore)

Little Sure Shot: Annie Oakley (Spinner)

The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth (Patrick)

Flying Ace: Story of Amelia Earhart (Bull)

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Betsy-Tacy series




All of a Kind Family (except that at the end of the book, the father is SO happy to FINALLY have a son)


The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew




The Moffats


Grandma's Attic (a bit moralistic, though, IMO)


The Railway Children (at least I think that the girls "act like girls")


Caddie Woodlawn -- absolutely about a tomboy, but in the end, Caddie does decide the she will embrace and welcome becoming a young woman



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The Theodosia series. They are Percy Jackson in Egypt. The heroine is an 11 year old homeschooled girl who lives in London at the turn of the century. She can see curses and removes them before they can harm any one. Some of the curses are funny and make you feel like you have sand in your undies or bark like a dog uncontrollably.

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Just saw she's only 5.


I would hesitate to give a 5yo some of the listed books, even if she can read them.


I would recommend Betsy-Tacy, though the first has a death. It's handled beautifully--really, my favorite chapter in any children's book, ever.


No Flying in the House is wonderful!


Has she started the Little House series? The first 4, esp Big Woods and Farmer Boy, would be appropriate. I'd wait on Silver Lake (it's got a lot of transitional parts--dog dies, sister goes blind, they move, etc.).


Milly Molly Mandy is a favorite here--really, really sweet.


Raggedy Anne and Andy is an old favorite of mine! It's syrupy sweet but a good book of short stories.


She's not particularly sensitive, is she?

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No long chapter books, but very sweet, with Pandora, the light house keeper, rescuing a dog, and then mice children.


The Light House Family series by Cynthia Rylant.


Also sweet, and by Rylant: The Cobble Street Cousins series.


A title I can't recall, based on a true story, another light house keeper. Abby....something. Her father goes to town and she has to ah! Here- Abby, Keep the Lights Burning!



I adored the old Bobbsey Twins books when I was a kid. My memories are pure sap. lol Love.

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