Last time we celebrated our favorite children's picture books featuring (non-princess) female leads, and today we move up a few grade levels into the exciting world of juvenile fiction. So many awesome adventures await, for readers of all ages and genders!
All links lead to Amazon, and SPOILERS abound...
- How To Catch A Bogle (series) by Catherine Jinks: Plucky orphaned 10-year-old girl faces unspeakable danger daily, sings her heart out, speaks in nearly incomprehensible yet delightful Victorian slang.
- The Penderwicks (series) by Jeanne Birdsall: Four young sisters look out for each other, have delightfully calm adventures, form meaningful platonic friendship with a boy, save him from military exile, eat gingerbread.
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series) by Maryrose Woods: Plucky young governess graduates from esteemed institution, pursues lucrative career, instills love of learning, truth, and beauty in her lupine pupils.
- Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales by Alison Lurie: Girls and women from all walks of life use their wits, strength, bravery, and confidence to achieve greatness and rescue various gentlemen-in-distress.
- Wildwood (series) by Colin Meloy: Tween girl bicycles, practices yoga, leads uprising of oppressed woodland creatures, thwarts invasive plant.
- The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester: Uniquely gifted young girl enrolls in X-Men-like establishment, rises to all challenges.
- The Everlasting Story of Nory by Nicholson Baker: Nine-year-old girl travels internationally, pursues languages, prepares for her future career as a dentist (and/or paper engineer), "has made it through the year without crying".
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman: Adventurous young girl makes new friends, rescues parents, defeats multidimensional button-eyed imposters.
- Anne of Green Gables (series) by Lucy Maude Montgomery: Adopted 11-year-old girl pursues freelance writing career, promotes fellow female authors, doesn't tolerate harassment, proves to be far superior than the originally-requested boy ever could have been.
- The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials trilogy) by Phillip Pullman: Where to even begin...young girl destroys torture facility, overthrows religious oppressors, earns the loyalty of bear, gypsies, and aeronaut, frees the dead, masters complex technology, assists female scientist in her research, is unfailingly brave and bold yet respectful to all creatures, travels between worlds, pursues higher education, and sacrifices romance for the good of all mankind.
These are just my personal favorites— please share your own, especially since I'm appalled to realize that none of these books feature people of color. Please help!