I’m not a huge fan of the Twilight Series of books – long story short I think they have little literary merit (due to equal parts poor writing, poor plot development and poor character development) and are marketed to too young of girls for my taste. That kind of literary fluff concerning the topics central to these books are best left to beach reads for older girls and women at best. My friend Haley does a great job at expressing her dislike of the series and I can’t say I disagree. *as you read her letter please remember there is a difference between allowing a child to read what interests her and encouraging certain materials over another*.
My daughters, should I have any, will be encouraged to read to whatever encourages them to read – as many will be quick to point out it’s better to read something like Twilight than nothing at all, which is true to a degree. However, I hope before my girls pick up a beat up copy of Twilight out of the quarter bin of Goodwill (where I presume most copies will be in 15 years) I hope they’ve already been introduced to many more strong, relatable female protagonists.
The following is a far from complete list of some of my favorites – they are warriors, scholars, mothers, daughters; they can be wildly in love and impressively practical; they are a little too perfect and incredibly flawed. Most of them have happy endings, some of them don’t. In an nutshell – these are girls who act like girls
- Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden
- Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy from Little Women
- Sara Crewe from A Little Princess
- Laura, Mary and Ma Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie Series
- Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
- Beezus and Ramona from the Ramona Series
- Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time
- Hermione Granger, Tonks and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter Series
- Coraline Jones from Coraline
- Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons (and the rest of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles)
- Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess
- Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle
- Nausicaä from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
- Lireal/Sabriel from the Abhorsen Series
- Alanna from the Song of the Lioness Series
- Lucy and Susan from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Eff Rothmer from the Frontier Magic Series
- Jane from Jane Erye
- Lizzy Bennet and her Sisters from Pride and Prejudice
- Eleanor and Marianne from Sense and Sensibility
- Anne from Persuasion
- Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings
- Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
- Kate from The Taming of the Shrew
- Hester Pryne from The Scarlet Letter
- Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird
- Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride
- Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web
- Margaret Halefrom North and South
- Antigone from Sophocles’ Antigone
If you’d like links to the books mentioned in this list hope over to the Great Girls Pinterest Board for these and other great suggestions!
If you’d like an even longer list about women and girls real or fictional check out A Mighty Girl! And let’s not forget – stories about strong girls are not just for girls, let’s encourage our boys to read these books too!
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