I am on Twitter probably more often than I should be. :) I knew there were marches planned this weekend. I knew there were many people going-but I was so amazed watching the footage at how many people turned out to express their opinions this past weekend. Amazon was sold out of posterboard. I have a friend in New York who when she was buying hers at a local store was asked if there was some city-wide school project because they were selling so many blank posters. I loved the creativity of the messages on the signs. But most of all, I loved seeing how many people took their little girls along. What a great message to those kiddos on becoming a strong woman.
So I was inspired to compile a list of books with strong girls as the protagonist characters. I believe that girls can benefit from hearing these stories, but that boys can as well. I will never forget an exchange my students had one year. This was way before Hillary ever decided to run-but I asked the kids if a girl could be the President and they turned to a partner to debate the answer. One of my boys said "no, because girls are not strong". And a girl raised her hand and said "Miss Trayers, can I ask Johnny a question?". Sure, go ahead. She said ïsn't Miss Trayers strong? Wasn't your Pre-K teacher strong--they are girls?" I wanted to say you go girl!
Here are some of my favorite strong girls in literature:
I love when I read books to my students and learn new things myself. I never knew the story of Alice Roosevelt who was kind of revered as the Princess Diana of her day. When she was little she said she wanted to ëat up the world!". She rebelled against what was expected of women at the time, although her father, Teddy Roosevelt didn't really approve.
I have always been a fan of Jane Goodall. This is a great story about a girl who loves animals and decides very young that her dream of working with them will become a reality. And she ended up changing how a lot of scientists viewed their subjects.
A story about a woman who delivered books to families in the Appalachian Mountains who did not have access to things like books.
This book about the actress hopefully can bring her work to the eyes of a whole new generation. She was class personified!
A little girl in Cuba wants to play the drums but that's a "boy"thing. She defies the odds and paves the way for female drummers everywhere!
How one woman can change things. Isatou did not like how many plastic bags were being dumped in her beautiful country. So she found a way to recycle them and bring meaningful work to her community.
How many little girls love history like Imogene does?! She works to save a historic landmark in her town.
I love this book for many reasons (great for teaching similes too!). But it is about a little girl who wants to catch a chicken and does not give up until she does.
Sally Jean loves to ride her bike! But when she outgrows her little bike she sets out to make a new one.
This is a graphic novel. I know many are familiar with Rollergirl, I think this little girl paved the way for her! I love seeing strong female characters in comic style books.
Another woman in the late 1800's who bucked the whole girls should stay home and sew trend. The first public libraries had books for children locked up in cabinets because children were not to be trusted to take care of them. She was responsible for making cozy reading areas in libraries just for children!
And for your older kiddos-I'd say the 4th-6th range.
A little girl in the midst of Civil Rights Movement days writes a scathing editorial to her local paper about how segregation is wrong.
This is another story I had never heard until I read this book. There was a town that Hitler decided to just wipe off the map. But Eva had blue eyes and blonde hair and it was determined that she would be saved and turned into the kind of girl Nazis wanted. It's a haunting story, one that proves the truth can be scarier than fiction.
I think this is a great story about two strong girls who become friends. Drita is an immigrant and is taken under the wing of a street-smart companion.
There are many, many more but I tried to choose titles that you may not have heard of before.