They Start As Girls: Picture Books With Strong Female Characters | Do Try This at Home: They Start As Girls: Picture Books With Strong Female Characters

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

They Start As Girls: Picture Books With Strong Female Characters

(Contains affiliate links)

It always happens the same way: I return a book just a month or two too late, or I lose one lousy book out of 23, and suddenly a trip to the library doesn't seem quite as fun.

So we've been hanging out with our books at home lately.

But since I'm still participating in the Womens Lives Campaign, by Blogher, SheKnows Media, and Public Radio International (PRI), I figured why not make this book post about strong female characters in children's picture books?

And what GREAT TIMING too, because it happens that the Women's Lives story for today is (partially) about a book!!  Why YES, I am very impressed with myself thankyouvermuch.  After all, good timing is so rare.

Plus, it's a photography book which means I love it double!!!  Lynsey Addario is one of the world's few women war photgraphers.

Her pictures are absolutely amazing, and you can see them here!

So that's what I'll be reading soon.  Meanwhile, here are a couple of books I've read to my daughters. And I read them to my boy too when he was little, because a boy needs to know that girls can be brave and strong too.

Plus...he enjoyed them.

Extra Yarn

A girl finds a magical ball of yarn.  What she does with it is pretty amazing!  The story is fanciful, she is brave, and the pictures are gorgeous. A great combo all around.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

I know everyone loves "Love You Forever" and gets all weepy over it and stuff.  I, on the other hand, like pointing out that it's a little on the creepy side.  Mom climbs a ladder to get into her grown sons window at night in order to show how much she loves him.  I figure she has boundary issues at the very least, and may even have committed a felony.  Or is it a misdemeanor?  I can never remember with breaking and entering.

The Paper Bag Princess I absolutely LOVE though!  Princess not only saves herself, but refuses to marry the conceited prince happily ever after!

A Fine, Fine School

When the school principal gets out of control, Tilly brings him around in a heart capturing way.  Not only is the person who saves everyone from too much school a girl, but the illustrations are diverse.  The students in Tilly's school are like a melting pot/salad bowl pipe dream.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

The irresistible, irrepressible Lilly is anything but a shrinking violet! A great story with several great messages, not least of which is that girls can be just as relentless as boys and still wonderful people (or mice!).

Sheila Rae, the Brave

Kevin Henkes books Chrysanthemum and Sheila the Brave are also great!

Mirette on the High Wire

Sure Mirette does her share of household chores, but she also teaches a high wire artist how to be brave again!

A Bad Case of Stripes

Camilla learns a lot about being herself in this surreal picture book.

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius accomplishes all her goals and makes the world more beautiful. An oldie but goodie with very pretty illustrations!

Mama Zooms

A mother in a wheelchair is the hero of this book. Boys love it too!

Strega Nona

Another old favorite, boys and girls both love Strega Nona, a friendly witch who saves the town from drowning in pasta.

When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry… (Scholastic Bookshelf)

Of course these days it's rare for a child to be able to run outside unsupervised, but the message is still a good one: Sophie figures out how to deal with her anger over a fight with her sister and comes home calm, cool and collected. The colors in the illustrations heat up and cool down with her emotions. A nice read and a nice teaching tool.


Another lovable character, Olivia is adventuresome and inquisitive.

Amazing Grace (Reading Rainbow Books)

Grace finds out she can be anything she wants, including Peter Pan in the school play.

They Start As Girls: Picture Books With Strong Female Characters

For more on evaluating children's literature for gender roles see: May Narahara lists 18 questions to ask about the characters in a book, page 22, Appendix D.

And here are other picture book posts you might enjoy:

Book Talk, Head of Demolition Style
Book Reviews for Toddlers by Toddler (and teacher/mom)


MarkD60 said...

I don't even ahve a library card any more!

a said...

So many of our favorite books on this list! We'll have to borrow Miss Rumphius. :)

Jill said...

I remember Mark! You should really get one so you can lose books like I do!

Thanks Melissa!!!

Anonymous said...

I have to pick up Extra Yarn to read with my daughter. I think she would love this book!

Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

Jeannie said...

I've been taking the 2 little grands to the library every week since we moved close to them. They really love it, and ALWAYS want to check out books. Problem is, if they take them to their house it's not easy finding them on next library day. I finally have convinced them to take them to my house and we can read together every afternoon. I have a blue bag the librarian gave us hanging on a door knob where we put them. It's been a lot easier.

Anonymous said...

I have the same library problem lol! We love Miss Rumphius and Bad Case of the Stripes! Thanks for linking up to Bound by Books link party!


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