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4KookieKids

Empowering girl read alouds

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DH reads with each of our kiddos individually once a week, and is looking for recommendations on books that will empower our girls and/or give them stories of strong women. I re-read some Nancy Drew recently and decided it was not really what he was looking for. I also have the Dealings with Dragons series by Patricia Wrede that he's going to start reading to them. To give an idea of where they are: DD4 loved the Princess in Black books that he just read to her, but we're out of those. And DD6 is really hit-or-miss with books in that she can listen to some relatively advanced ones (e.g., Secret Garden, LIttle Princess, Narnia,) if they interest her, but complains loud and long if she finds it "boring" (e.g., LIttle House, Magic Tree House).  DD3 listens to anything. They all like "girly" books (princesses, fairies, etc.), which makes it hard to get them into stuff like Cam Jansen. Just looking for suggestions!

We did find some book recommendations on the mighty girl and brightly websites, but it is a little overwhelming for DH to have to sort through lots of individual picture books in order to fill 45 minutes of reading time up, so we would prefer series Or decent length chapter books with some pictures still.

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Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the books in the series), Emily of New Moon (and the series), both by L.M. Montgomery are great. They are based roughly on Montgomery's own life story as a woman who had to battle through discrimination in her time both as a woman and as a writer from P.E.I. (and not Toronto = the heart of English publishing in Canada at the time). Not to mention she was orphaned herself and brought up by elderly relatives.

For light-hearted fiction with lots of fun action, Pipi Longstockings is great for a strong female protagonist - strong in many ways, as she lifts a horse! Mary Poppins series has a strong female protagonist as well. 

If you dds are into animals, Animal Ark series has a girl as the main character who helps out animals in distress. She's the daughter of 2 vets.

For a silly but very kind-hearted woman lead, Amelia Bedelia books are fun and short. 

For American "heroines" there is: Sarah, Plain and Tall, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Pocahontas and the Strangers, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. Something about Sacagewea would be good, but I don't have a specific book recommendation.The children's books I've seen have been disappointing to a really interesting young woman. There's always the Little House series, too.

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We just read Anne of Green Gables to my kids (DS is 10, DD is age 6) And they loved it so much we went right on to Anne of AVonlea -- on their request.

 

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Another recommendation for Anne and Emily. 

I was a girly girl and liked Pippi Longstocking as a kid - more for Annika than Pippi, but it was a fun story. If they like Pippi, they might also enjoy Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by the same author.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Ozma of Oz were some of my favorites, particularly the latter.

They might enjoy the The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook and sequel, DD loved them around those ages (and she's refused to give those books up! They are still on her shelf). 

Others:

Understood Betsy

Four Dolls (Rumer Godden) - they're dolls, but they are girl dolls, with their little girls. Impunity Jane was one of my favorite stories, and DD loved Fairy Doll

Twig (Elizabeth Orton Jones)

Because of Winn-Dixie

The Night Fairy

The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book (the protagonist is 6, and she turns 7 near the end - DD loved it at that age)

The Ordinary Princess

The Borrowers

A Little Princess (and The Secret Garden)

 

Best saved for a few years, but well worth reading:

The War that Saved My Life

Un Lun Dun

Gypsy Girl (Godden)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

A Wrinkle in Time

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Thank you for all the suggestions, so far! I'm curious about the Anne of green gables series. I guess I'll have to look it up, since I've not read it, but it doesn't strike me as a "strong girl" sort of story. She did enjoy Little princess and secret garden, but I think my hubby is hoping for something a bit more adventurous. I'll give him all these ideas! :)

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Funny how almost everyone said Anne of Green Gables.  That was going to be my suggestion too!

Understood Betsy is also very good. 

The Little House books.

A little older, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

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A little more adventurous:

The Birchbark House series

DD always mentions El Deafo to everyone who asks, even though it's a graphic novel and not really a read aloud

Momo (Michael Ende) I can't believe I forgot to mention this one. We loved it.

The Paper Bag Princess

Ada Twist, Scientist

Madeline series

The Penderwicks (and sequels)

Gooney Bird Greene

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Inkheart

Half Magic

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I recommend the Ranger's Apprentice series. The main character is male but there are also strong, prominent female characters throughout the whole series. My girls have loved it. 

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12 minutes ago, LindaOz said:

I recommend the Ranger's Apprentice series. The main character is male but there are also strong, prominent female characters throughout the whole series. My girls have loved it. 

These are actually DH's favorite youth series, so he has read the first one to dd6 and the first three to ds8. :)

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12 hours ago, 4KookieKids said:

Thank you for all the suggestions, so far! I'm curious about the Anne of green gables series. I guess I'll have to look it up, since I've not read it, but it doesn't strike me as a "strong girl" sort of story. She did enjoy Little princess and secret garden, but I think my hubby is hoping for something a bit more adventurous. I'll give him all these ideas! :)

 

You should definitely read Anne of Green Gables! It's a great book. I can't imagine my dh reading it to my dc, though. Remind me why he is doing the read-alouds about "strong female characters" rather than you? Wouldn't it make more sense coming from a female?  I'd be surprised if there was a book based on a female that would be action-packed enough for a dad and also appealing for very young girls. 

Caddie Woodlawn is another book my dd and 3 ds enjoyed as well. Lots of action. 

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8 minutes ago, knitgrl said:

You might also want to try looking at https://www.amightygirl.com/. 

All the books listed have strong girl protagonists, and the lists can be broken down by age, genre, etc.

Yes, I mentioned (very briefly :) ) that we had found that site, but it's a bit hard to sort through what are short picture books and what are longer books and/or series. I didn't really find a good search/sort feature on the website! :)

47 minutes ago, tmoan said:

 

You should definitely read Anne of Green Gables! It's a great book. I can't imagine my dh reading it to my dc, though. Remind me why he is doing the read-alouds about "strong female characters" rather than you? Wouldn't it make more sense coming from a female?  I'd be surprised if there was a book based on a female that would be action-packed enough for a dad and also appealing for very young girls. 

Caddie Woodlawn is another book my dd and 3 ds enjoyed as well. Lots of action. 

I think he feels like they shouldn't just see women fighting the good fight on their own behalf and that more men need to step up and step in to help here. He wants our girls to know that he fully supports them in whatever they endeavor to do (even if they won't fully understand that at these ages). Plus, he spends one night each week reading to each of our kids individually, whereas I usually read to them in groups, so he can customize their reading experience a bit better. I do read some of these sorts of books with them, but he wants to be more intentional about doing it when he has time to read alone with them.

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We are just finishing Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and it's fantastic!  There are pictures and smaller stories within the story. 

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41 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

I think he feels like they shouldn't just see women fighting the good fight on their own behalf and that more men need to step up and step in to help here. He wants our girls to know that he fully supports them in whatever they endeavor to do (even if they won't fully understand that at these ages). Plus, he spends one night each week reading to each of our kids individually, whereas I usually read to them in groups, so he can customize their reading experience a bit better. I do read some of these sorts of books with them, but he wants to be more intentional about doing it when he has time to read alone with them.

Is he thinking of the support he could give his dds for future careers, or travel, or things like that? There is some great children's literature in these areas. You may need to be more specific if your questions, though. Historically speaking, the roles women had in society were pretty limited, yet when the men died from illness or war, they had to step up and do everything that was needed. You may want to look at specific historical settings where these kinds of situations happened. These stories may not work for very young or sensitive children, though. You may want to pre-read to see if they'd be a good fit.

Here's some titles to consider:

Mary on Horseback, Twenty and Ten, The Year of Miss Agnes, Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, Phoebe the Spy, A Lion to Guard Us, Freedom Train, Helen Keller, Marie Curie's Search for Radium, Madeleine Takes Command 

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I found some good titles for my daughter in these books.  As I recall, they were all organized with suggestions for different ages. Perhaps your library has a copy.

100 Books for Girls to Grow On  by Shireen Dodson
 
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 A Wrinkle in Time's Meg is an great example of a girl who had self doubt but in the end realized she was more important and potent than she ever knew. My 6 year old really enjoyed it.

 

Have you read the Paper Bag Princess (short picture book) - that's right up the alley for both of them.

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