Books are central to our growth as individuals. They are the medium through which we each silently absorb so much information throughout our lives. Sharing books with your children, from the time they are born, is a powerful, fun and easy way to enrich and influence their emotional, intellectual and cognitive development. For those who are interested in visual art, and for very small children and older children who may be reluctant readers, even a simple picture or photo books can provide an enormous depth and richness to learning. As the saying goes, a picture can tell a thousand words, right?
As our daughters grow, so do their needs, their interests, and their understanding. Therefore, an extra benefit of sharing books with them with strong female characters and role models is that there is no end to the number of new titles you can find that will be age appropriate for your growing daughters. You can always do a quick search online, ask a librarian or school teacher, read book reviews in magazines or newspapers or just enjoy browsing through libraries and bookstores with your girls to find exciting, interesting, fun and inspiring stories to share with them. Here are some of the most memorable books with strong female characters which stuck with me through time, and which I am looking forward to sharing with my own daughter, some now, and some later, as she grows:
Books and series with pictures (ages 3-7): Olivia (a funny and creative pig); Eloise (a spunky, well-educated and assertive little girl who lives at the Plaza hotel); Madeline (a fearless little girl who outshines all the others in her strict boarding school); Annie (a remarkably brave orphan); Angelina (a mouse ballerina with a lot of talent and a big heart).
Books for pre-teens: The Little House on the Prairie, a series about life long ago in a family of many girls without many means. Based on a true story, and made into a popular TV series as well. Little Women, also about a family of strong, brave and smart girls who overcame many hardships through their strength of character, and perseverance. Sarah, Plain and Tall. About two kids and the one strong woman who greatly influenced their lives. Winner of the Newbery Medal. Anne of Green Gables, about a spirited and bright young woman coming of age and becoming her own person. A true classic, not to be missed. The Wizard of Oz, about an adventurous young girl with a big heart. This book series is full of women leaders, some fun, some sweet, some villainous. It's a delightful series that can be enjoyed at almost any age, and another true American classic.
For young teens: Yolonda's Genius. About a large and confident girl, with many talents and strengths. A Newbery Honor book. Island of the Blue Dolphins. About a twelve-year-old girl who survives alone for years on an island. Winner of the Newbery Medal. Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart. A biography of this woman's fascinating life from childhood to her mysterious disappearance, illustrating her remarkable courage, success and determination. Dealing with Dragons. About a bored princess who goes to work for a dragon! The first in a fun series. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. About the life of this strong, remarkable and influential woman. A Newbery Honor book. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. About an girl from Pakistan, who rebels against her arranged marriage. A Newbery Honor book. Nancy Drew mysteries, a classic series about a young woman detective who is clever, independent and insightful and solves many exciting mysteries.
Which books with strong female characters do you share or look forward to sharing with your daughters?