For budding Heartless Bitches and Socially Aware Sons
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Sept 29, 2008
"Jacob Have I Loved" - Katherine Paterson |
This Newberry winner tells the story of Louise Bradshaw and her slightly younger
twin sister, Caroline, who live with their parents and their God-fearing
grandmother on a small island just off the Chesapeake Bay during the
1950's. Louise is consistently annoyed with the way Caroline uses her
beauty and her charm (both of which exceed that of Louise) to get her
way, and how so many people - including Louise's best (male) friend,
Call - fall for it. She is also tired of how women are kept away from
the duties of the "watermen." In the end, after deciding that staying on
the island will never free her of her sister's shadow, she heads for the
mountains on a journey of self-discovery.
"Reckless Ruby" - by Hiawyn Oram (Author), Tony Ross (Illustrator) |
Ruby is so beautiful that when she grows up her mother expects that a prince will marry her, wrap her up in cotton wool and only bring her out for special occasions.
Appalled by this prediction, Ruby engages in steadily more reckless behaviour in an effort to drive away any princely suitors; much to the dismay of her friend Harvey.
Younger children might have to be warned not to emulate Ruby’s reckless actions (diving off rooftops into fishbowls comes to mind), but it is a clever little fable about holding on to your identity and has a cute twist at the end.
"Ariadne: The Maiden and The Minotaur" - by Jennifer Cook |
You've heard about the Minotaur. You know, the terrifying bull-man who lived in that labyrinth in ancient Crete until Theseus went down there, killed the beast and became a hero? Well this is the story of the Minotaur's big sister, Ariadne, and she has a thing or two to say about this hero nonsense.
Ariadne begins with a girl, sixteen and dumped. Yes, it’s thousands of years ago and she’s on a stony island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, but that’s not the point. The point is she’s angry and from the get-go you know you don’t want to get in her way. Her heart may be broken, but she isn’t and from the story, you get the feeling she won’t be, no matter what the gods throw at her. She’ll get bruised and battered - she already has after all - but she’s the sort who cusses her head off at fate and keeps going. She may be the daughter of a king and the granddaughter of gods, but our Ari is no ‘princess’. Yes, as the blurb on the back and the prologue will tell you, she’s had it a bit rough the last few days and does need “a good lie down”, but you know, you just know, that she’s going to get up again and come out swinging.
The book consists of the story of the events that led Ariadne to this desolate island and is written in Ariadne’s voice. No hemming and hawing for this princess though. She calls a spade a spade and often much worse, and I have to say that the book deserves prizes for the inventiveness of the cussing alone. It is hilarious and so real that you forget at times that you’re actually in “Mythical Greece”.
And that’s the beauty of it. Behind the hilarity and the fantastically indignant voice that Jennifer Cook wields so effortlessly is the incredibly meticulous and ultimately convincing retelling - re-weaving, really - of a story as old as Western culture. It is fascinating to watch as the King and Queen of Crete, for example, are shown not just in all their terrible mythical glory but in their role as parents. Cook explores the relationship that Pasiphae and Minos have with their daughter and, for the first time, you see them as real people with real problems and worries and duties and obligations and fears and jealousies and all the rest of it. You see how they (and by extension, we) set traps for themselves and paint themselves into corners. But while you’re reading all this, somehow, at the same time, Cook makes sure you are aware of the politics at work, of the cultural landscape of the age.
Ultimately, yes, this is a book about a girl finding her way into womanhood and working out her relationship with her mother, with her legacy, with other women, and with what it means to be a woman in any age. That’s plenty already, but Ariadne manages to be more than that as well. By the time you read the last page you’ve traveled so far and back that it’s hard to believe the book is actually only 200 pages long. There’s the incredible tale of the Minotaur and the story of Theseus’s battle with the beast, there’s the story of Ariadne’s sister Phaedra and their relationship, there’s the story of how Ariadne ends up on the island. And then there’s the ‘real’ version of all these events, as told by an Ariadne who will brook no romanticized nonsense in the telling of her tale.
This is a book that I would recommend not just to children but to grown women as well. If a kick to the frontal lobe is what you're after, this book will deliver it, no question.
"Magic or Madness (Magic or Madness Trilogy)" - by Justine Larbalestier |
(Young Adult) (Winner of the Andre Norton Book Award)
For fifteen years, Reason Cansino has lived a life on the run. Together with her mother, Sarafina, she has moved from one place to another in the Australian countryside, desperate not to be found by Reason's grandmother Esmeralda, a dangerous woman who believes in magic. But when Sarafina suffers a breakdown, Reason is forced to move in with her grandmother in Sydney. The moment Reason walks through Esmeralda's back door and finds herself on a New York City street, she's confronted by an unavoidable truth-magic is real.
This thrilling novel will bring readers through revelation upon revelation, leading to Reason's ultimate discovery of the price she must pay if she uses her magic.
"A Wrinkle In Time" - by Madeline L'Engle |
This book won the Newbery Medal, the Sequoyah Book Award, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. It is the first in L'Engle's series of books about the Murry and O'Keefe families.
This is a science-fiction book with an anti-communist allegorical tone that
In this classic and wonderful book, Meg, a 13-year-old awkward, underachieving but geeky young girl, is sent with a friend and her young brother on a dangerous mission to rescue her father.
She stays true to her self, learns self-confidence and ends up kicking butt and bringing everyone back hale and whole.
This book resonates profoundly with the young women who read it in the 60's and 70's (first published in 1962), and still is a powerful and entertaining story.
It influenced lots of geeky girls to stay true (or as true as possible) to themselves when growing up. (Interestingly enough, her mother is portrayed as brilliant scientist - something not seen in books of that era).
"Harry Potter (entire series)" - by J.K. Rowling |
This series is a must for young girls, because of strong female characters, but in my opinion because of GINNY WEASLEY.
At 11 years old Ginny Weasley is mentally and emotionally
raped/abused through an enchanted diary by the wizarding world's most
evil maniac and criminal, for an entire first year at Hogwarts. She survives it, not just physically, but
mentally and emotionally as well, with a Heartlessly Bitchy, new-found
attitude, spunk and fiestiness to boot. She embodies the "I will not be a victim" attitude.
The girl is seriously magically powerful, gutsy and tough, doesn't take "no" for an answer, keeps her
brothers in line, won't let anybody boss over her (whether parents,
brothers/boyfriends). From the age of 6, she used to steal her brothers
broomsticks (when her brothers/parents weren't watching), from the broom
shed, to practice 'Quidditch' on her own (it's kind of like football in
the Wizarding World) as her brothers used to not allow her to play
Qudditch just because she happens to be a girl (and later on in school,
she joins the Gryffindor Quidditch team in her 4th year at Hogwarts,
contrary to everyone's surprise, and happens to be one of the best
She isn't scared to stand up to Harry, put him in his
place, and tell him indirectly to control himself and shut his mouth
when he is throwing around a temper tantrum (something that his friends
Hermione and Ron tried, but didn't succeed, it only tended to aggravate
Harry more and almost became physically abusive with Hermione. This
particular scene is in the 5th book, i.e., Harry Potter and the Order of
the Phoenix.) She has a no-nonsense attitude. She happens to be one of
the most forceful female characters that i have seen in the harry potter
series. All in all, Ginny Weasley Rocks My Socks!
Buy it Now!
"Boy Proof" - by CECIL CASTELLUCCI |
Victoria is brilliant, alternative (shaved head, multiply-pierced ears and cloak),
and deeply into Science Fiction. She has seen her favorite movie 42 times and
insists that people call her by her favorite character's name, Egg.
She is friendless in her senior class at highschool in Hollywood, but that doesn't matter.
She has accepted that she will never be normal, and spends her spare time
working with her father doing movie special effects. But then she falls for a boy who
has an interest in SF, and shows her that she can find things to interest her on
planet earth. But is he too good to be true? Can a girl "fit in" and still be true to herself?
Buy it Now!
"The Book of Dragons" - by E. Nesbit, H. R. Millar (Illustrator), Herbert Granville Fell (Illustrator) |
Edith Nesbit was a feminist writer of the Victorian era (she may qualify as an HB as well). Her fairy tales are irreverent of cultural norms (many of which are continue to the current age) and full of strong female characters. Heartless Bitches in training are certain to enjoy these tales.
Buy it Now!
"Coraline" - by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator) |
Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.
What's on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of... people who pronounce her name correctly (not "Caroline"), delicious meals (not like her father's overblown "recipes"), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her "other mother" and her "other father"--people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin... and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door. To make creepy creepier, Coraline has been illustrated masterfully in scritchy, terrifying ink drawings by British mixed-media artist and Sandman cover illustrator Dave McKean. This delightful, funny, haunting, scary as heck, fairy-tale novel is about as fine as they come. Highly recommended. (Ages 11 and older) --Karin Snelson
Buy it Now!
"Horace and Morris but Mostly Delores" - by James Howe |
Horace, Morris and Delores are adventurous mouse pals, but one day the boys join a boys only club. Delores is finds a girls-only club, but finds the traditionally feminine cheese-related things they do to be wholly unsatisfying. She tries to fit in for awhile, but then leads a revolt to do things that interest her: bringing other dissatisfied mouse buddies, reuniting with Horace and Morris... and meeting new folks like Boris and Doris. Dolores is a true heroine!
Buy it Now!
"Sheila Rae, the Brave" - by Kevin Henkes (Illustrator) |
Sheila Rae is not afraid of anything. She walks backwards with her eyes closed, steps on every crack, growls at stray dogs, and bares her teeth at stray cats. But when Sheila Rae becomes lost on the way home from school, it is her "scaredy cat" sister, Louise, who shows her a thing or two about bravery and sibling love.
Buy it Now!
"Great Books For Girls : More Than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women" - by KATHLEEN ODEAN |
A guide for parents and educators looking for books "about
girls who defy the stereotypes about females in our culture."
Reviews of 600 titles, ranging from picture-story books for toddlers to
biographies and novels for adolescents that depict girls and women who
are self-sufficient, decisive, and assertive.
Buy it Now!
"Kira-Kira (Newbery Medal Book)" - by Cynthia Kadohata |
kira-kira (kee' ra kee' ra): glittering; shining
Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.
Buy it Now!
"All the King's Horses" - by Michael Foreman |
A great but rare feminist children's fable, published way back in 1976.
An asian king wants his strong willed beautiful princess to marry a man -but the princess doesn't want to she prefers to ride horses and explore the world. Eventually she agrees to marry but only to man she cannot defeat in a wrestling match, and for every man she defeats he agrees 100 horses shall be set free from the kingdom. The King rallies up men, warriors, wrestlers, strongmen etc. She fights them all, muscleman after muscleman is tossed from the ring with bruises, broken limbs, and blackeyes. Until her final suitor a handsome musclebound woodcutter wanting to marry the princess to free his faily from poverty steps into the ring. Instead of trying fighting the princess he tries to woo her, does she give in to his romantic advancements? NO WAY!!! in true heartless bitch fashion she saves her best till last and making him suffer the most embarrising defeat of all. The book ends with all the men in the kingdom having been beaten and all the horses being released.
Buy it Now!
"The Courageous Princess" - by Rod Espinosa |
"The Courageous Princess" tells the story of Mabelrose, princess of a small and not particularly wealthy kingdom in a world covered by fairy tale lands. Her parents adore her and have raised her to be down to earth and adventurous. Mabelrose is pretty, but not beautiful and when she attends a ball at a nearby kingdom, she is outshone by the beautiful princesses and mocked by them for her simple clothing and lack of jewels. But when a young prince's frog gets loose in the ball, she's the only one who doesn't scream and run. Shortly after she returns home she is kidnapped by a dragon who has a thing for princesses.
At first, Mabelrose prays for a prince to come and rescue her, but when the dragon mocks her by saying no prince would rescue a second-rate princess like her, she decides to stop waiting. She steals several magical objects and some gold and jewels from the dragon's hoarde and sets off. She meets a talking porcupine, Spiky, in the briars guarding the castle and he becomes her friend and travels with her. She also has a magical rope that helps her, but she doesn't believe Spiky when he tells her it's alive.
They head off for home but are pursued by the dragon, and run into further adventures. They hide out in a Munken village, but have to leave when the dragon threatens it. Then they befriend a talking boar and travel to the land of the Leptians, bipedal talking animals who look down on regular talking animals like Spiky. They are taken captive by the Leptian ruler, a tiger in the service of the dragon. Threatened by the Tiger king, she frees herself and the entire kingdom which he controlled by means of a magical flute. At the end of the book, she decides to stay awhile with her friends in Leptia, unaware that her father is traveling to save her from the dragon.
This gorgeous graphic novel is a combined, hardcover edition of the three previous paperback graphic novels. The illustrations are more reminiscent of the watercolors in a children's book than the lurid illustrations in a superhero comic. It is a beautifully crafted story of a strong, unspoiled girl, the friends she makes and the adventures she has. Mabelrose is an excellent model for any child, brave, smart, kind and not the least bit spoiled or snobbish. Her parents are also wonderful, happy and intelligent people and it is clear how Mabelrose turned out as well as she did. I can't wait to see Mabelrose's further adventures and what happens to her parents.
Buy Underground from Amazon.ca now!
"Underground to Canada" - by Barbara Smucker
Cruelly separated from her mother at the age of 12, Julilly must find her way to Canada and freedom, via the Underground railroad.
Julilly finds strength, courage and a growing sense of self-worth along the very difficult journey.
Barbara Smucker presents the horrors and reality of slavery without becoming gruesome, and also realistically portrays
that the lives of ex-slaves in Canada was not easy.
Buy Horace and Morris...(From Amazon.ca) now!
"Horace and Morris but Mostly Delores" - by James Howe |
Horace, Morris and Delores are adventurous mouse pals, but one day the
boys join a boys only club. Delores is finds a girls-only club, but
finds the traditionally feminine cheese-related things they do to be
wholly unsatisfying. She tries to fit in for awhile, but then leads a
revolt to do things that interest her: bringing other dissatisfied mouse
buddies, reuniting with Horace and Morris... and meeting new folks like
Boris and Doris. Dolores is a true heroine!
"The Serpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women" - by Katrin Tchana, Trina Schart Hyman (Illustrator)
"Nothing is more satisfying than watching a valiant hero conquer a
dragon, outwit a thief, or destroy a monstrous cannibal--unless it's
seeing an intrepid heroine accomplish all these brave feats! In this
remarkable anthology by the mother-daughter team of Trina Schart Hyman
and Katrin Tchana, 18 stories showcase the courage, cleverness, and
integrity of women who dare to go beyond their traditional roles and
stand up for themselves and their people. Gleaned from fairy tales from
around the world and retold by Tchana to make them "more vivid and vital
to her audience," the stories include the tale of Li Chi, a 14-year-old
girl who refuses to let a greedy sorcerer continue to sacrifice young
girls to a horrible serpent. Clever Marcela is so cunning, she manages
to outsmart a king--and fall in love while she's at it. Then there's
Amarjit, the barber's wife, who, fed up with her handsome husband's
laziness, manages to take matters in her own hands and create fabulous
wealth from nothing. Caldecott Award-winner Trina Schart Hyman (Saint
George and the Dragon) paints spectacular illustrations, worthy of their
esteemed role in capturing both the noble and the grotesque.
Buy Wee Free Men Now!
"Wee Free Men" - by Terry Pratchett |
Tiffany Aching is nine and she has already decided to become a witch, partly because she doesn't think witches must be wicked just because the fairy tales say they are. Unfortunately, Tiffany isn't going to get years of study or practice to become a witch. She is recruited by the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men of the title, a group of hard-drinking, thieving blue-skinned warriors six inches high who recognize her as a witch and want her to fight the fairy Queen. The Queen has been encroaching on Tiffany's home county and then has the nerve to steal Tiffany's little brother.
Tiffany doesn't like her little brother much, but he's HERS and she's darned if she's going to let someone else steal him. So she sets off to fairy land with the Nac Mac Feegle and an iron skillet for protection to fight the Queen and take her brother back. Her only other skills are what the book calls "The First Sight and the Second Thoughts" which means she sees things as they really are and always has a voice inside her head that watches what she does and questions it.
What is great about this book is that it says that thinking for yourself and questioning the way society tells you to think is what girls should be doing. Tiffany doesn't like the way fairy tales try to tell her how to live so she questions their version of the world and acts on what she thinks is right. She is also taught by everyone she meets that the best way out of her problems is to think them through and act. This is shown most clearly in the advice that an adult witch gives Tiffany early in the book.
"Now [ ] if you trust in yourself [ ] and believe in your dreams [ ] and follow your star [ ] you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy."
This book is an antidote to all the drivel in fairy tales and the fluffy, feel good, follow your bliss messages that girls are fed these days. It says to make up your own mind what's real and take action to deal with things, two excellent messages.
Buy Sugar Isn't Everything Now!
"Sugar Isn't Everything" - by Willo Davis Roberts |
Amy, age 11, leaves elementary school and life changes almost
immediately: she faints in a grocery store after noticing some
uncomfortable changes in herself (crabbiness with her loving family,
constant tiredness, wetting the bed) and wakes up in the hospital to
find she has been diagnosed as diabetic.
The entire family has to make changes to help her, especially to their diet. She made friends in the hospital, but it's so frustrating to have diabetes while your whole family is healthy. She slowly comes to terms with the condition and even helps a rebellious-but-good-natured boy from the hospital do the same.
It has a glossary in the back and explains diabetic terms very clearly. A lot of heart and understanding went into this novel (Roberts is diabetic).
Buy Daughters.. Now!
"Daughters of the Moon, Sisters of the Sun: Young Women & Mentors on the Transition to Womanhood" - by Neva Welton and Linda Wolf
This is the MOST awesome book for teen girls and women AND guys, so that
they can find out what radical bitches are really like! It's the stories
of 21 teen girls from Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County in Washington,
who came together for 2 years in a girls talking circle, where they were
safe to tell the truth about themselves and their lives and in the
process create sustainable relationships with each other and learn the
skills that nurture self-esteem, connection, acceptance and LOVE! Check
out what Jean Kilbourne says about it...(that's how we came across your
"I’ve been involved with The Daughters-Sisters Project for several
years, and currently am the president of the Board. The project appeals
to me for many reasons. For one thing, I feel that we live in a culture
in which we’re surrounded by lies. People lie to all us the time;
politicians lie to us, corporate executives lie to us, advertisers lie
to us constantly, about the nature of happiness, about what makes a
woman beautiful or sexy, about what makes a relationship good and
lasting, about what a marriage should be-- we’re just surrounded by
lies. And I feel that, we, all of us, have a kind of inner wisdom that
tells us that we’re being lied to. We know on some level that we’re
being lied to. But when you’re surrounded by lies, it can make you
crazy. I feel that this affects all of us really deeply, and perhaps
particularly it effects young people, who haven’t lost touch as much
with that inner wisdom, and who understand that this is a world in which
there are many lies. And the craziness, I think, can drive them to all
kinds of self-destructive behaviors, to drugs, to alcohol, to cutting,
to eating disorders, to meaningless sex, to all kinds of things.
More than ever, I think what we’re hungry for, really starved for, is
the truth. To hear the truth, and also to have a safe place where we can
speak the truth, and share the truth of our experience. This is crucial
for all of us. It’s crucial for older people, for younger people, it’s
crucial for men and for women. But I do feel that it may be especially
crucial for girls, because girls, more than anyone else it seems to me,
are denied the truth of their experience, and are told, and learn at an
early age as they hit adolescence, that it’s not safe to speak their
truth and to be who they are. So, what could be more important than a
safe space in which girls can get together and really talk about the
truth of their lives and the truth of their experience. I think it’s
profoundly important and profoundly healing, for these girls, and
ultimately, in a wider sense, for all of us."
Also check out www.daughters-sisters.org
Buy Homecoming NOW!
"Homecoming" - by Cynthia Voigt |
13-year-old Dicey Tillerman has to hold her younger brothers and sisters
together after being abandoned by their mentally-ill mother in a parking
lot. They attempt to travel by foot on the open road to stay with a
relative they believe they might be able to find, as they are dodging
the authorities in order to avoid being split up in foster care.
Dicey is probably one of the strongest characters I can
think of from a book, male or female. The stories are gritty, and
nothing is made easy for them, and yet the sheer determination of Dicey
carries them through.
Buy Fearless Girls now!
"Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World" - by Kathleen Ragan (Editor), Jane Yolen|
One hundred great folk tales and fairy tales from all over the world
about strong, smart, brave heroines. A definitive sourcebook of
folktales and fairytales and the first of its kind to feature a variety
of multicultural heroines. The book is filled with courageous mothers, clever young
girls, and warrior women who save villages from monsters, rule wisely
over kingdoms, and outwit judges, kings, and tigers. Gathered from
around the world, from regions as diverse as sub-Saharan Africa and
Western Europe, from North and South American Indian cultures and New
World settlers, from Asia and the Middle East, these 100 folktales
celebrate strong female heroines. This
book will appeal to parents who want to foster positive role models for
their children. An invaluable resource of multicultural heroines for any
Buy Not One Damsel in Distress now!
"Not One Damsel in Distress : World Folktales for Strong Girls" - by by Jane Yolen (Author), Susan Guevara (Illustrator)|
These thirteen folktales have one thing in common: brainy, brawny, brave
heroines-and not one damsel in distress! From Bradamante, the fierce
female medieval knight, to Li Chi, the Chinese girl who slays a dreaded
serpent and saves her town, these heroines use their cunning, wisdom,
and strength to succeed.
Drawing from diverse cultures around the world, renowned author Jane
Yolen celebrates the smart, strong, and sassy heroines of legend and
lore in a collection that will encourage bravery in every girl.
The Agony of Alice
"The Alice series" - by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor |
The Alice boooks are typically for pre-teens but I'm 18 and I still
relish the moment that the newest Alice book hits the shelf at the local
bookstore. The Alice books are a coming of age series about a girl named
Alice McKinley and her 2 best friends Pamela and Elizabeth and the
trials and tribulations they face during their turbulent teen years. I
began reading Alice in 6th grade and I am hooked. I have laughed and
cried over these books, and I'm not talking polite library laughter, I
mean the belly busting kind where my little brother in the next room
asks what on earth I am laughing at. I have cringed in embarrassment for
Alice. The books deal with real and relevant issues like school bullies,
teen suicide, heart break, child abuse, body issues that teen girls face,
and a wide array of subjects that pertain to teens in a sensitive, heart
felt, and comical way. The series feels real. Alice could be the girl
next door or she could be you. It's not really heartless, but it's
empowering and informative. It's the kind of book you read that answers
the questions about growing up that you never wanted to ask your mom
with lots of laughs along the way. The best thing about this series is
that it continues through Alice's adult life. Alice isn't a wipmy girl,
and she isn't miss perfect, she deals with issues honestly and openly. I
feel that I have done sufficient ranting far superior to "it rocks" and
I really hope you will take a look at these books.
The series includes:
The Agony of Alice
Alice in Rapture, Sort Of
All But Alice
Alice in April
Alice the Brave
Alice in Lace
Alice on the Outside
The Grooming of Alice
The Dragon and the Unicorn
"The Dragon and the Unicorn" - by Lynne Cherry |
This is a medieval fairy tale with a young heroine, Princess Arianna, who braves the mysterious forest alone, befriends the mythical animals who live within it, and in realizing the destruction her own father, the King, is inflicting upon land, convinces him to save the forest, acknowledge it's beauty, and to live in harmony with it.
Lynne Cherry is known for her environmental children's literature, and this story does reinforce those beliefs quite heavily. Now this may cause a cringe in the Ayn Rand devotees, but I found the story to have a very empowering message besides. Venturing into the unknown of a dark forest, following her intuition, and confronting the King (and father) with her truth for the good of all.
Out of print at amazon.com... look for it at your local library.
"The Kingdom of Kevin Malone" - by Suzy McKee Charnas
From the author:
I wrote this book in response to people out west (I moved to Albuquerque 30+ yrs ago) telling me how sorry they were for me because I had grown up in Manhattan (which as far as I am concerned was a superb childhood largely *because* of its complexity and challanges). So here's Amy, depressed by the untimely death of her favorite cousin, snatched by magic into the fantasy world that her worst enemy, the boy who was her neighborhood bully, has created and managed to escape into for real. Kevin's fantasy land, the Faire Farre, is a wild-eyed mish-mash of bits from his fantasy reading, but it has twisted into its own shape and is bent on destroying him, and it's up to Amy to decide whether to help him by retrieving his magic sword (in our world, an old Swiss Army knife) and getting it to him in time. She thinks he's a jerk and a scuzzball, but she's intrigued as well as scared by the fantasy world which is mapped on New York's Central Park, and she and a couple of her friends are caught up as major players upon whose courage, strength, and intelligence the fate of Kevin's world depends. Amy, Rachel and Claudia are not perfect by any means, but they rise to the challenge; but though Kevin learns a lot from them, he is left at the end to deal with the consequences of his own actions while the girls choose to return to their own lives.
Come to think of it, I also wrote this to take another look at the bully-situation as I had in fact experienced it myself, when I was a kid on 83rd Street. I gave Amy the courage and resourcefulness that I wish I had had, faced with my own "Kevin". She does just fine with them.
Deal With It!
"Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a Gurl" - by Esther Drill, Heather McDonald, Rebecca Odes
Reader comment: "My 11 year old asked me to buy this EXTREMELY comprehensive "reference" book for her...and while some of the subject matter may be beyond her current "need to know" ... my husband and I agreed that the content was presented in a way that she might actually read it and not just look at it as some boring old book that the 'rents made her read. This is WAY more interesting than the old "Our Bodies Ourselves" book from when I had my own questions..."
The "Once Upon A time When the Princess(tm)" series - by Rosemary Lake|
Smart princesses who do the rescuing, clever ordinary girls, and creative story telling. Now has 32 stories to read online for free, plus a
paperback volume you can purchase. (If you buy the book, tell Rosemary that you read about it at Heartless Bitches International)
Buy In the Company of Men NOW!
"In The Company of Men: A Woman at The Citadel" - by Nancy Mace |
In 1999, at age 21, Nancy Mace became the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, South Carolina Military College, kicking in the 153 year old male-only status of the school.
The Citadel first became open to women in 1995 after a three year court battle, to let in Shannon Faulkner, who sued the school for retracting her admission after they found out that she was not, in fact, a boy, as they had first thought (Shannon being a name for boys as well as girls). Faulkner only ended up staying a week, puking and exhausted, saying she couldn't take the stress and isolation; her classmates whooped and cheered when she left, relieved at being able to return to their safe, unthreatened boys-only world. The media of course, just focused on the fact that she had only lasted a week, despite the fact that many of her male peers hadn't stuck it out any longer. The scandal that followed Faulkner's leaving caused the school to undergo changes in its sexist attitude, though four years later there was still plenty of resentment from the male cadets towards Nancy, who excluded her from the standing ovation given to other cadets... though many of them did clap politely.
It's hard as hell to graduate The Citadel, but even harder and more hellish being the only girl in a male-oriented school, resented by most of her class mates. But, Mace toughed it out for three grueling years taking accelerated classes, and actually graduated a year early, with honors. Mace believes she helped pave a path for women in the world of military colleges, but she doesn't consider herself a 'pioneer'; either way, Nancy Mace is one hell of a tough woman, and one extremely heartless bitch.
Buy True Confessions now!
True Confessions of a Heartless Girl - by Martha Brooks |
Winner of the 2002 Canadian Governor General's Award for children's literature. Yet another of Brooks' edgy young adult fiction that walks the line
between teen and adult. Norene Stall is a pregnant, fiercely independent 17-year-old with a chip on her shoulder. She stole her boyfriend's truck,
his heart, some cash, and now finds herself in the small town of Pembina Lake in southwestern Manitoba. Noreen changes the lives of those
who try to help her, and in so doing, Martha Brooks deftly draws us into each of the characters who are the REAL story here. Brilliantly written,
and exceptional as either teen or adult fiction, this one is not to be missed. You can only buy it in Canada prior to March 2003.
"Olivia" - by Ian Falconer |
(Ages 4-8) Illustrated in black, white and red pen drawings (with an occasional
pink shade), this is the story of Olivia, a pig with a lot of energy who
likes to try everything. She likes to excel in everything she does, even
if it means building sand skyscrapers instead of sandcastles. Olivia and
her surroundings are illustrated in black and white, with well-placed
shadows and shadings, and also select areas and clothing featured in
red. The simply written text allows the drawings to speak for Olivia’s
actions. The informal, easy words tell what Olivia likes to do with her
days and how she interacts with her family. Detail lithographs of
Jackson Pollock’s "Autumn" and Degas’ "Rehearsal on the Set" are also
included as part of the story. Olivia is cherished by her family (and
herself) because of her individuality and personality. Caldecott Award
The Landry News
"The Landry News" - by Andrew Clements |
Cara Landry has a difficult time coping with the newness of her parents’
divorce. She is a quiet kid, invisible to her classmates. She devotes
her energy to creating The Landry News, her own newspaper, with news,
sports and an editorial. One day, she posts the News on Mr. Larson’s
social studies bulletin board. Mr. Larson has a reputation for not
teaching; he will periodically assign a topic for the students, and then
read his newspapers. One News editorial discusses Mr. Larson’s
philosophy of the students teaching themselves and that the students
should earn his salary. After finding this, Mr. Larson changes his
habits and teaches the students journalism and the Constitution. When
the Landry News, now a school hit headed by Cara, runs a controversial
guest column, Mr. Landry is called for a disciplinary proceeding, his
job in jeopardy. It is up to Cara and her new friends to help him. Each
chapter is entitled in the style of a newspaper headline. The book
shares an excellent lesson for girls to both persist in what interests
them, and that they have the power to help people, as these students did
for Mr. Larson.
Trigger and Friends
"Telzey Amberdon Series" - by James H. Schmitz |
(Young Adult) This is a re-issued collection of Schmitz's stories featuring Telzey
Amberdon, from Baen Books. Telzey is fifteen, smart (she's already in
law school), independent, and one of the strongest telepaths in the Hub
Worlds. She takes on deadly aliens and corrupt corporations with equal
panache, and proves that true courage consists of doing what you have to
even if you ARE scared down to your socks.
There are 4 books in this set of re-issued Schmitz stories from Baen,
and all of them feature strong female protagonists. The other three are:
All of them are wonderful action-adventure fun, and the strong female
characters aren't self-conscious "role models" -- they just ARE who they
- "TnT -- Telzey and Trigger", featuring stories about Telzey working with
Hub agent Trigger Argee
- "Trigger and Friends", with Trigger stories not including Telzey
- "The Hub: Dangerous Territory", which includes "The Demon Breed", listed elsewhere on this site as being out of print.
Buy Ella Enchanted Now
"Ella Enchanted" - by Gail Carson Levine |
(Ages 9-12) With a twist to the traditional Cinderella-style fairy-tale, Gail Carson Levine has given us a delightful young Heartless Bitch in Ella - enchanted at birth by a spell of obedience.
Ella's response to the curse is delightfully unconventional: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally."
Ella must find her way through an evil stepmother and stepsisters, ogres, challenges, and ultimately there IS a prince involved - but it is Ella who rescues HIM.
Highly recommended, Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.
Buy Walk Two Moons
"Walk Two Moons" - by Sharon Creech |
(Ages 9-12) From Amazon.com:
"Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother has disappeared. While
tracing her steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her
grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to pass the time about a friend
named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and who received secret
messages after her disappearance. One of them read, "Don't judge a man
until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." Despite her father's
warning that she is "fishing in the air," Salamanca hopes to bring her
home. By drawing strength from her Native American ancestry, she is able
to face the truth about her mother. Walk Two Moons won the 1995 Newbery
Buy Number The Stars
"Number The Stars" - by Lois Lowry
A ten-year-old Danish girl's bravery is tested when her best friend is threatened by Nazis in 1943. "The whole work is seamless, compelling, and memorable -- impossible to put down; difficult to forget."
The Dark Angel (v1)
A Gathering of Gargoyles (v2)
The Pearl of the Soul of the World (v3)
"The Darkangel Trilogy " - by Meredith Anne Pierce
(Young Adult) A beautifully written, insightful fantasy trilogy. A strange, winged
being (half Icarus, half vampyre) is preying upon the people of a
strange, imaginatively realized world of mythical creatures...(actually
a post-nuclear apocalypse, human engineered world on the moon...although
we don't learn this until the final novel in the series).
Aeriel, the protagonist, is a servant who unsuccessfully defends her
mistress (and friend) from an attack by the Icarus. She is taken into
enslavement by the creature. However, through high courage and
compassion, she rescues the Icarus from a spell that he himself is
under, and becomes embroiled in a fierce battle for the future of her
The books are filled with complex friendships and an almost
unprecedented level of focused imagination. Aeriel is a wonderfully
realized human being. I'd put this trilogy into the very rarified
company of works by Ursula Le'Guin and C.S. Lewis.
The three titles are:
'A Gathering of Gargoyles'
'The Pearl of the Soul of the World'
Peg And The Whale
"Peg and the Whale" - by Kenneth Oppel|
Peg was born upon the bright blue sea. A big strapping lass, Peg isn’t
one to do things in half measures. Anything she turns her hand to, she’s
good at. But she wants more than that. She wants big, she wants better,
she wants best. She wants to be the world’s best fisherman!
Now that Peg’s pushing seven, she figures it’s high time she caught
herself a whale. So she packs up her fishing rod and signs on with the
Peg is ready to catch a whale. But is the whale ready for Peg?
"Speak" - by Laurie Halse Anderson|
Melinda Sordino crashed an end of the summer party by calling the
police. When school is back in session, all her "friends" hate her as do
everyone else (basically) in school. She hides away from everyone in a
closet and in her head. She has trouble coming to terms with what
happened the night she busted the party, and eventually finds she can
"speak". An awesome story about an outcast finding her voice and
standing up for herself after she was...well, you'll just have to read
the book to find out...
Violet & Claire
"Violet & Claire" - by Francisca Lea Block|
Violet & Claire comes off as a teenie bopper book, with two perfect girls' bare, pierced stomachs on
the front cover. But, considering you can't judge a book by it's cover, I checked it out (well, based on a
suggestion by a heartless girlfriend). It's a great book, and got me hooked on other works by the author.
The basic plot? Violet is a borderline goth and aspiring screenwriter who grew up in a wealthy home in
the always twisted Los Angeles. She comes off as a spoiled little rich girl, until she admits openly that
she has no friends, and doesn't seem to want any. When a petite blond (wait..it gets better) who's
obsessed with faeries and slightly demented transfers to their high school, she is ridiculed for her gauzy
faux wings and shy personality. Violet sees her as a perfect leading lady, and takes her under her wing.
Violet, however, needs inspiration for a film, so the two go on alternative "adventures"- a silent film, a
transvestite bar, and an underground concert, where Violet hooks up with the band's front man. Violet
eventually gets a job as an intern at a production company, and Claire persues a career in poetry, falling
for the teacher of a small class. When Violet's script is made into a film, things begin to go downhill,
due to her ego and drug abuse. However, she never looses her admirable strength and attitude, and
Claire even becomes a bit feistier. The ending is a bit mushy, but still pleasant. Absoloutely a good read.
Winter of Fire
"Winter of Fire" - by Sherryl Jordan |
Elsha is a member of the Quelled, a group of people who are ruled over by the Chosen and used as slaves in the firestone(coal)mines.
When the Firelord chooses her to be his handmaiden, she must learn to live among people who hate her and along the way discover her own powers and destiny.
Elsha is a wonderful character, strong and passionate. She faces up to prejudice and works to make a better life for her people.
The Chronicles of Narnia
"The Chronicles of Narnia" - by C.S Lewis |
C.S Lewis evened out the playing field between boys
and girls in these 7 fantasy books covering the
history of the magical land of Narnia.
Children from our world are called upon by Aslan the
Great Lion, to save Narnia from evil enchantresses,
tyrannical kings and foreign invasion.
Honorary Heartless Bitchy girls worth noting here are:
Polly Plummer (The Magician's Nephew) who at the age
of 5 has no qualms about leaving the evil queen Jadis
to fend for herself and die in an in-between world and
won't put up with Digory's high-handedness.
Aravis Tarkheena (The Horse and His Boy) a Calormene
noblegirl/tomboy who constantly puts down the peasant
boy Shasta for his short-comings, forges a letter to
her father to escape an arranged marriage to the
ancient Grand Vizier and shows a thing or two to her
flaky looks-obsessed childhood friend Lasaraleen about
Jill Pole (The Silver Chair & The Last Battle)
Assigned by Aslan and is given 4 signs to look for in
order to find the heir-apparent but missing, Prince
Rilian. During the course of her adventures, she
learns to hunt and skin wild birds, plays cute to
seduce a castle full
of giants in order to escape and won't take an ounce
of flak from her 2 male companions,Eustace and
Lucy Pevensie (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,
Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawntreader, The Last
Battle) The youngest of the 4 Pevensie children called
back to Narnia during Narnia's greatest hours of need,
she sees the magical and elusive Aslan most often and
is singled out as his favorite due to her faith,
courage and honesty. Lucy is often asked to do things
which goes against everyone else's beleifs, she
struggles with everyone's opinions but finally, has
the courage to go it alone if need be. She is constantly
put down or never taken seriously being the youngest
and smallest, but always ends up being right and makes
everyone else eat humble pie.
"Chrysanthemum" - by Kevin Henkes |
(Ages 3-7) Chrysanthemum's parents adore her, and give her a "perfect" name.
However, three puffed-up princess classmates mock her name, and her
self-esteem takes a major knock. But her dance teacher, worshipped
by all (and ready-to-pop pregnant and still working!) says that she'd
like to name her baby Chrysanthemum. The characters may be mice, but
this slim volume sums up classroom politics and individuality as well
as any book I've ever read!
"Yoko" - by Rosemary Wells |
(Ages 3-7) Yoko brings her mother's lovingly-made sushi to school, to the disgust
of her classmates. Even a teacher's idea of having EVERYONE bring a
food from their culture doesn't sway the other kids into trying a
taste. But Yoko makes one friend who likes sushi as much as she
does. It's amazing how having just one special person want to
understand you can make up for the crap you get from all the
"Why?" - by Lindsay Camp |
(ages 3-7) Lily drives her dad NUTS with her endless "Why?"'s
But one day, she saves the world because she's the only one who
DARES ask "Why?"
"Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind" - by Hayao Miyazaki|
This is actually a series of four graphic novels, not a regular book.
This story follows Nausicaa, who is the princess of the small Valley of
Wind, in a world after a great man-made disaster. In it, a great Sea of
Corruption (a forest of molds and insects that gives off poisonous
fumes) slowly spreads over the world.
Nausicaa and various other characters get embroiled in a war between the
two great nations left on the planet, and the fate of all of humanity.
Nausicaa is a very strong character, who cares about all life (including
the insects of the forest), and is not afraid to stand up for her
beliefs. She grows a great deal over the course of the books, and there
are also several other strong female characters, such as Kushana, a
princess of one of the battling empires who is a great military leader.
Almost everyone in the story have different facets of their personality
and motivations, both male and female. There is very little that could
be considered total good or evil, and under its main ecological theme,
there are a lot of other themes involving sexism, human suffuring and
This was made into an animated movie, which was unfortunately totally
butchered when it was brought into the US (becoming known as the
Warriors of the Wind). One can only hope that the original story will
someday be released here, but at least books have been faithfully
translated into english and released by Viz (there is even a boxed set
This is a great story for anyone of any sex or age to read, but I think
a young girl could probably identify most with Nausicaa and be affected
the most. But it does contain some violence and tackles a lot of strong
issues, so take that into account before having a very young person read
Harriet the Spy
"Harriet the Spy" - by Louise Fitzhugh|
Written nearly 40 years ago, Fitzhugh's book remains one of the best
views of childhood as it really is. And it's a vote of approval for
girls with curiosity. Harriet's adventures spying around her
neighborhood teach her a lot about life in all its glory, monotony, and
hypocrisy. Her relationship with her nanny, Ole Golly, is a great
mentoring story. And her falling-out with her classmates when her
acerbic (but honest) opinions of them are found in her diary will
resonate with anyone who ever told the truth, and suffered the
consequences. Truly a gem.
"The Protector of Small (series)" - by Tamora Pierce |
This series (First Test, Page, Squire) takes place sometime after the "Lioness Rampant" series, and features the first girl to train as a knight after girls are admitted to knighthood. She deals with anti-woman attitudes from her instructors as well as her classmates, and finally has to face her greatest fear in order to rescue another young woman.
"Downriver" - by Will Hobbs|
Downriver is about a teenaged girl named Jessie who is unsure about herself and her family. In the beginning her parents get divorced so she has to live with her father and his new girlfriend. Her father sends her to a "survival" camp called Discovery Unlimited. It is led by a complete lunatic by the name of Al.
During the survival camp, Jessie becomes friends with some of the other kids at the camp. There is Star, who is always very superstitious and worried. Troy is the "handsome, brave, spectacular guy" at the camp, whom Jessie starts to grow "fond" of. Freddy is the odd kid on the trip who always keeps to himself, and is the nature boy who knows everything about Mother Nature. Pug is the follower of Troy. He does whatever he can to please Troy at all times. And there is Adam. He the joker and entertainer of all the kids, who gives every one a laugh at any time. There are a few other kids at the camp, but they don't have very big roles in the book.
At Discovery Unlimited, Al has the kids doing all sorts of activities to make them feel better about themselves. About halfway through the book, the kids start getting tired of some of the activities, and find them hardly challenging at all. Troy convinces most of the kids to run off, and raft the Grand Canyon! The rest of the book is about the "campers" trying to survive together and avoid Al as he tries catching up with them along the trail! On the river, Jessie discovers how strong a leader she can be.
I like this book because it shows that girls can be powerful without the aid of boys.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
|"A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" - by Betty Smith|
A classic coming-of-age story, this book does good by the mother/daughter relationship,
the sister/sister relationship, the girlfriend/girlfriend
relationship, the girlfriend/boyfriend relationship,
the daughter/father relationship, the sister/brother
relationship, and the girl-faces-the-world issue.
In short, it's really a simple growing-up story about
a girl in Brooklyn. But simple was never this good. We follow
Francie's emotional growth and, in the end, can't help but
cheer for her, her mother, and her aunt. They are shining
examples of the strength of women.
Jedi Apprentice Series #5
Jedi Apprentice Series #6
"Jedi Apprentice Series, books #5 and #6" - by Jude Watson|
Though the rest of the Jedi Apprentice series tell the
story of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi's childhood, these two
books in particular involve the character of Cerasi, a
girl who leads a resistance group of children in a planet
where the adults fight in a Montaque and Capulet fashion.
Through the course of these two books, Cerasi proves herself
to be one who, though willing to fight for justice if the
situation demands it, is also ready to lay down arms and
accept compromises for the sake of peace. A very endearing,
believable portrayal of a female role model.
"Sabriel" - by Garth Nix|
The girl saves the world, gets the guy, comes to terms with
her difficult heritage with grace (her dad, a necromancer, left
his legacy to his daughter) and all the while never losing
her cool. Not only is this book an extremely satisfying read, but
the character of Sabriel is the essence of the strong female
Girls Think of Everything
"Girls Think of Everything : Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women" |
A fun, exciting and well-written compilation of some of the neatest, coolest inventions by women.
Something to inspire and incite the inventor in everyone, and a great gift!
"Bad Girls" - by Cynthia Voigt |
Best friends Margalo and Mikey, two girls from the other side of the tracks, begin fifth grade with chips on their shoulders and seek to prove to everyone that they fear nothing, trust nobody, and can be tough even if they are not boys.
"Starting School With an Enemy" - by Elisa Carbone|
Sarah's first few days of fifth grade aren't going too well. She manages to run down the little brother of school bully Eric Bardo with her bicycle; she lies to the friend she likes the best; she "borrows" a basketball from her teacher's private supply cabinet to prove herself to her new schoolmates; and, with all her childish acts of revenge against Eric (including inserting wriggling larvae into his sandwich), manages to spend a large chunk of her lunches and recesses in detention. In the process, she is chastised by her new teacher--and her parents, who deliver the "Staying Out of Trouble at School" as well as the "Walking Away from Conflict" lecture. Perhaps worst of all, she gets the cold shoulder from her new friend Christina Perez, who doesn't appreciate her lies, or her "eye for an eye" attitude towards her tiresomely taunting tormentor.
Sarah is no angel--she's flip and sarcastic, none too sensitive, and her logic is certainly skewed. (Not getting caught is equivalent to staying out of trouble, for example.) Still, thanks to wiser souls around her--including her teenage brother and her new best friend--she learns many valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty, and how to diffuse, and thereby dissolve, the continued attacks of bullies.
Starting School with an Enemy is a funny, spirited collection of wisdom (and comic relief) for any kid who's ever been teased.
The Firework-Maker's Daughter
"The Firework-Maker's Daughter" - by Philip Pullman, S. Saelig Gallagher (Illustrator)
Lila grows up different from other girls of her time (a thousand miles ago), with a talent and
love of making fireworks like her father. However, her father does not agree with her passion to become
a master fireworks-maker, he wants her to get married like other girls. The prospect of marriage and
giving up on her dreams compells Lila to run away to Mount Merapi, where every firework-maker must go to claim some of the royal sulphur from Razvani the Fire-Fiend.
On the way, this courageous heroine must face and overcome all manner of obstacles, including people, creatures, and her own fear.
"Herstory : Women Who Changed the World " - by Ruth Ashby (Editor), Deborah Gore Ohrn (Editor), Gloria Steinem (Introduction)
A very special collection of short biographies offers insightful sketches of the lives and accomplishments of 150 of history's most influential and brilliant women, including Clara Barton, the legendary Trung Sisters of medieval Vietnam, and many others.
All by Herself
"All by Herself : 14 Girls Who Made a Difference" - by by Ann Whitford Paul, Michael Steirnagle (Illustrator) |
Amelia Earhart, Golda Meir, Pocahontas, Rachel Carson, Wanda Gg, Wilma Rudolph, and other determined young women-both famous and less familiar-took risks and made sacrifices to do brave things. Each of these inspiring poems proves that every girl, no matter who she is or where she lives, is capable of making a difference.
"The Hero and the Crown" - by Robin McKinley |
This is probably the best of McKinley's books. It's a Newbery-winning
fantasy novel about a princess named Aerin, daughter of the king of
Damar. Aerin is the daughter of the king's second wife, a woman derided
as a witch, and the ill-will has extended to Aerin herself. Too tall,
too pale, and not (by others' standards) pretty enough, Aerin learns to
kill dragons instead. This leads her to a confrontation with the
greatest dragon Damar has ever faced, and from there to an even greater
threat. Along the way, she faces choices in love, learns her own worth,
and becomes a heroine that I think every teenage girl who ever felt
uncomfortable in her skin needs to get to know.
"Girls : A History of Growing Up Female in America" - by Penny Colman |
Drawing on eyewitness accounts, diaries, letters, memoirs, household manuals, advice books, and photographs, GIRLS chronicles the stories of females growing up in America from pre-colonial days to the present and highlights their spirit, courage, and contributions.
"Cool Women : The Reference" - by Dawn Chipman, Pamela Nelson (Editor), Mari Florence, Naomi Wax|
["Cool Women" was nominated by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books For Young Adults of 1998.]
From THE LOS ANGELES INDEPENDENT:
The Baby Sitters’ Club and Sweet Valley High schooler may want to step aside - there’s a new gang of girls in town. They’re the real-life heroines of ‘Cool Women,’ a collection of ‘righteous queens,’ ‘cool goddesses,’ ‘lady spies’ and a few more who weren’t afraid to misbehave - and make history.
Any Girl Can Rule the World
"Any Girl Can Rule the World" - by Susan M. Brooks |
A proactive, pro-girl guide to making a real difference in the world by, among other things, becoming a political activist, starting a 'zine, investing in the stock market, or producing a cable TV show, this book features practical information, hot tips, and detailed lists of resources.
Frog and Wombat
"Frog and Wombat"
Technically it's not a book - It's a kids' movie, but
what better role models for young girls than the
main characters of this movie?
In "Frog and Wombat", two girls, who nickname themselves "Frog" and
"Wombat", investigate a murder by their elementary school principal.
Mainly it's Frog who does most of the work, checking the place out, coming
up with ideas on how to investigate, and later when she is kidnapped, she
manages to get free and break a bottle over the kidnapper's head, knocking
him out. Yeah! No better form of girl power for girls than this movie.
The Hero and the Crown
"The Hero and the Crown" - by Robin McKinley
Strong female characters in The Hero and the Crown make this book a great
confidence-builder for girls (and women). The main character, Aerin, goes
from being teased about her heritage (her mother is believed to be a
witch) to being a self taught dragon-slayer. In the end, she becomes her
Kingdom's greatest war-hero, bringing back the Great Crown. She even gets
the man of her dreams (and he's even smart enough to proclaim her as his
better... in brains as well as in battle).
"Mountain Valor " - by Gloria Houston, Thomas B. Allen (Illustrator)|
Set in North Carolina, during the U.S. Civil war, this story based on the life of the author's relative Matilda Houston
is a gritty and authentic look at life on the frontier.
11-year-old Valor McAimee must look after her younger brothers and her ill mother while the
men have left to fight in the war. When the family farm is robbed by
Yankee soldiers, Valor must find the courage to live up to her name
and retrieve the family's supplies.
The Bridge to Terabithia
"The Bridge to Terabithia" - by Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond (illustrator)|
The story starts out simply enough: Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade--he wants it so bad he can taste it. He's been practicing all summer, running in the fields around his farmhouse until he collapses in a sweat. Then a tomboy named Leslie Burke moves into the farmhouse next door and changes his life forever. Not only does Leslie not look or act like any girls Jess knows, but she also turns out to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. After getting over the shock and humiliation of being beaten by a girl, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay.
Despite their superficial differences, it's clear that Jess and Leslie are soul mates. The two create a secret kingdom in the woods named Terabithia, where the only way to get into the castle is by swinging out over a gully on an enchanted rope. Here they reign as king and queen, fighting off imaginary giants and the walking dead, sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against the schoolmates who tease them. Jess and Leslie find solace in the sanctuary of Terabithia until a tragedy strikes and the two are separated forever. In a style that is both plain and powerful, Katherine Paterson's characters will stir your heart and put a lump in your throat. -
The Great Gilly Hopkins
"The Great Gilly Hopkins" - by Katherine Paterson|
Gilly Hopkins is a determined-to-be-unpleasant 11-year-old foster kid who the reader can't help but like by the end. Gilly has been in the foster system all her life, and she dreams of getting back to her (as she imagines) wonderful mother. (The mother makes these longings worse by writing the occasional letter.) Gilly is all the more determined to leave after she's placed in a new foster home with a "gross guardian and a freaky kid." But she soon learns about illusions--the hard way. This Newbery Honor Book manages to treat a somewhat grim, and definitely grown-up theme with love and humor, making it a terrific read for a young reader who's ready to learn that "happy" and "ending" don't always go together. (Ages 9 to 12)
Book of Enchantments
"Book of Enchantments" - by Patricia C. Wrede|
Another collection of short stories featuring strong female protagonists from the author who is best known
for her "unconventional" stories about heroines saving princes in the "Enchanted Forest" series.
"Swamp Angel" - by Anne Isaacs, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator)|
(Age 5-9) From Booklist
"Forget those images of angelic maidens, ethereal and demure. Angelica
Longrider is the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. She can lasso a
tornado. She can toss a bear into the sky so hard that it is still on
the way up at nightfall. She snores like a locomotive in a thunderstorm."
A great picture book with incredible oil paintings by Zelinsky that artfully
illustrate the text of this uproariously entertaining tall tale.
Happy to be Nappy
"Happy to Be Nappy" - by Bell Hooks, Christopher Raschka (Illustrator), Chris Raschka (Illustrator) |
(Age 4-7) "Renowned feminist and social critic bell hooks takes on...
hair! "Hair for hands to touch and play! Hair to take the gloom away."
This rhythmic read-aloud is, on the surface, all about hair: nappy,
plaited, long, short, natural, twisted, "soft like cotton, flower petal
billowy soft, full of frizz and fuzz." Comb through the surface and find
a celebration of childhood and girls and the freedom to express
individuality. The rituals implied in the book are rooted in the
traditions of hooks's own childhood, when "doing" hair was just as much
an excuse for girls to laugh and tell stories and just be together.
Going still deeper is the much-needed message encouraging girls to love
and accept themselves (and others) just the way they are."
The Birchbark House
"The Birchbark House" - by Louise Erdrich (Illustrator) |
(age 9-12) "A view of the 19-century as seen through the eyes of the spirited, 7-year-old Ojibwa girl Omakayas,
or Little Frog, so named because her first step was a hop. The sole
survivor of a smallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a
baby girl, was rescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed
into an Ojibwa family on Lake Superior's Madeline Island, the Island of
the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted
family through a cycle of four seasons in 1847, including the winter,
when a historically documented outbreak of smallpox overtook the island.
Omakayas is an intense, strong, likable character to whom young
readers will fully relate--from her mixed emotions about her siblings,
to her discovery of her unique talents, to her devotion to her pet crow
Andeg, to her budding understanding of death, life, and her role in the
natural world. We look forward to reading more about this brave,
It's Perfectly Normal
| "It's Perfectly Normal : Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health" - by Robie H.
Harris, Michael Emberley (Illustrator)|
This is the clearest, most
entertaining, and non-patronizing book about puberty & sexuality out
there. For young people I would say it's a must. Adults may want to
check it out themselves. Everyone who reads it learns something. It
provides unbiased and open discussions about masturbation,
homosexuality, menstruation, ejaculation and and is not afraid of using
nudity in pictures. The cartoon-format is well done and depicts a range
of ethnicities and body types. While rated for the (9-12) age, some
parents may want to pre-screen this book and determine what is
appropriate for children under 12.
"The Demon Breed" - by James H. Schmitz |
Nile Etland intelligently deploys the unique ecology of her planet and
her intelligent otter friends to foil an alien invasion. Whether it's
luring sadistic aliens to horrible deaths, or turning their own
psychology against them, Nile remains one step ahead of the opposition by
using her resources [mental, physical, natural] to the utmost. All of
James Schmitz' books [Agent of Vega, Witches of Karres, The Unverse
Against Her, Lion Game, etc.] feature strong, intelligent, resourceful
women--a real HB smorgasbord. These books are out of print and no
longer available from Amazon.com - but you MAY be able to find them
at your local library.
"Women Warriors" - by Marianna Mayer (Illustrator), Julek Heller (Illustrator)|
(ages 9-12) From days of old, they have intrigued people all over the world: brave, defiant warrior women who stir imaginations, rouse passions, and often inspire thousands of followers. These fierce and fearless spirits are goddesses, queens, and peasants; they are children, young women, and adults in the winter of their years. From the story of Britain's proud queen Boadicea to that of the Sioux warrior Winyan Ohitika, Marianna Mayer re-creates twelve thrilling tales of war and bravery, bitterness and triumph. Twenty-four full-color illustrations and a map, bibliography, and annotated index are included in this striking anthology for all ages.
Let's Hear It for the Girls
"Let's Hear It for the Girls : 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14" - by Erica Bauermeister (Contributor), Holly Smith (Contributor) |
The authors of 500 Great Books by Women present a list of 375 books, for ages (2-14),
organized by reading level, that provide young girls with strong female
role models, featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, and picture
books from around the world.
Great Books for Girls
"Great Books for Girls : More Than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women" - by Kathleen Odean |
This first-of-its-kind sourcebook of valuable reading presents more than 600 annotated listings of books for girls, from toddlers to adolescents, featuring female characters who solve problems, handle conflicts, go on quests, and shape their own destinies.
The Ruby in the Smoke
The Shadow in the North
The Tiger in the Well
"The Sally Lockhart Trilogy" - by Phillip Pullman|
Book 1: "The Ruby In the Smoke" - In search of clues to solve the puzzle of her father's death,
16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures bravely into London's shadowy
underworld. Pursued by villains and cutthroats at every turn, the
intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries--and realizes that
she herself is the key to both! ALA Best Book for Young Adults. IRA
Children's Book Award. Utah Young Adult Award.
Book 2: "The Shadow in the North" - (from booklist): "Fraud,
fire, and bloody murder pursue Sally Lockhart in a fine sequel to The
Ruby in the Smoke. Sally, now 22, is in business as a financial
consultant. When she and her friends challenge corrupt financial
interests, they find themselves in a web of intrigue that stretches from
fetid slums of the poor to the corporate offices of the richest man in
Europe. Sally's detective work reveals the connections between corrupt
power and broken lives. The action is fast, scenes are tight and
dramatic, the language is vivid, and the wealth of minor characters are
sharply individualized. An immensely entertaining thriller."
Book 3: "The Tiger in the Well" - (from School Library Journal): "Pullman is fast becoming a modern-day Dickens for young adults. The setting is the same, the strong eye for characters is there, as are the brooding atmosphere, the social conscience, and the ability to spin plot within plot. Sally Lockhart is now a young woman, left alone with a toddler. Nothing prepares her for the shock of receiving a summons from a man she has never even heard of, suing for divorce and the custody of her beloved Harriet. Sally struggles against the net closing around her, seeking to find out who is persecuting her and why. The writing style is lively and direct, and there's lots of action. This is a suspense novel with a conscience, and a most enjoyable one."
"Ronia, the Robber's Daughter" - by Astrid Lindgren |
(Ages 9-12) Ronia, the fearless and independent daughter of the head of a robber
tribe, has enough of her dad's foolishness. She packs her stuff up, and heads off to
live in the harpy-and-troll filled woods alone. She has a male friend
(not romantic), but she teaches him a few lessons too, before she finally
agrees to move back home-- which isn't until she's made it through the
winter on her own.
"Freedom Train" - by Dorothy Sterling |
(Ages 9-12) Born into slavery, young Harriet Tubman knew only hard work and hunger. Escape seemed impossible--certainly dangerous. Yet Harriet did escape North, by the secret route called the Underground Railroad. Harriet didn't forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.
The Secret Garden
"The Secret Garden" - by Frances Hodgson Burnett |
The classic tale of a typical little girl, Mary, of the Elizabethan era who
is orphaned and sent to live with a cold and overbearing uncle.
She quietly defies the wishes of her uncle and his housekeeper
all the while teaching her "dying" cousin how to live as she learns to
live for herself. Everyone in this book learns a lesson in life from
Mary Lennox; including Mary herself.
Just Because I Am
A Leader's Guide to Just Because I Am
We Can Get Along
A Leader's Guide to Just Because I Am
"Just because I am" and "We can get along"- by Lauren Payne and Claudia Rohling|
Helping children, both our own and those within our sphere of
experience, to become strong, autonomous and confident enough to
live fully in the world is a goal that many of us hold sacred.
I have found two absolutely amazing self-empowerment books for
children, and adults.
"Just because I am" teaches children about their feelings and bodies, that
they have the right to say "no" to anything that feels dangerous or wrong,
that what they feel and experience is fine and worthy of trust, and lots
"We can get along" is a fabulous book about conflict resolution
peace-making, and how to treat other people. Both books are clearly and
satisfyingly written, and the illustrations are enchanting, colorful and
rich. Each of the books has a companion book/leader's guide that is
valuable for both teachers and parents.
"Ronia, The Robber's Daughter" and "Pippi Longstocking" - by Astrid Lindgren|
These books are real treasures for little girls. Both feature strong
girls (and other smart women as well) who make their own choices
regardless of any authorities and show that they are as good -or better-
than any male. Especially Ronia, the wild forest girl is loved by all the
Bitches I know;). Lindgren's books are very popular here in Scandinavia so
everybody has read her as a child. (And what a marvellous thing that is!)
This is pure self-esteem for kids in book form!
"Queenie Peavy" - by Robert Burch, Jerry Lazare (Illustrator)|
A scrappy 13-yr-old and the biggest trouble maker in school is forced to deal
with her father being thrown in jail, and the taunts that result from the other children.
Through it all, Queenie learns about herself, her father and a different kind of strength.
Robert Burch does a masterful job as he takes Queeny from a scrapping "rascal" to a
focused youth in her search of her own self-worth.
Wild Magic (The Immortals Series , No 1)
Wolf-Speaker (The Immortals Series , No 2)
Emperor Mage (The Immortals Series , No 3)
Realms of the Gods (The Immortals Series , No 4)
"The Immortals Series" - by Tamora Pierce|
These books are about a strong young woman who fends for herself in a
world where Men usually do everything. The same place and (almost) time
as Lioness Rampart. She finds an inner strength - and wild magic - within
herself. Great reading for young & old.
Catherine, Called Birdy
"Catherine, Called Birdy" - by Karen Cushman|
In this Newbery Honor book, set in the dark ages, a girl called
Catherine (nicknamed Birdy) is facing an arranged marriage.
Her father tries to marry her off to a bunch
of rich suitors who would by no means make good husbands, but Catherine
uses tricks and her brain to send them running off. It's written in the
form of a diary and she's definitely not some girl who lets people push
her around. In the end she finds the person she chooses to marry and
not someone who was choosen for her.
Hating Alison Ashley
"Hating Alison Ashley" - by Robin Klein|
Erika Yurk considers herself quite secure in her social status at school.
Good at drama and popular she looks forward to another successful year at
Until, that is, Alison Ashley arrives. Good looking, intelligent and
oozing class (unlike Erika's perception of her own family), Alison seems
certain to usurp Erika at her own game. The events leading up to the
school play give Erika cause to reassess her own values, and recognise
what is important in her life.
The Ordinary Princess is out of print - if you find it in a used book store, snap it up!
"The Ordinary Princess" - by M. M. Kaye |
cool-(and doesn't bitch about life)and-gets-her-man-because-
she's-with-it. Technically, it's a book written for kids --but
even adults can appreciate it. It's funny, it's touching,
and it reiterates the well-known fact that a true princess
is a woman who's beauty is internal.
Are You There, God?
"Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" - by Judy Blume|
Margaret deals with changing schools, religion decisions,
cutesy friends, boys, boobs that don't seem to want to grow, and
a period that just will not start. This book covers almost
everything an eleven to fourteen year old girl has to face while
growing up. It was wonderful when I was 12 and it is still a great
read at 24.
"O Pioneers" - by Willa Cather, Doris Grumbach|
This book is set in the Nebraska prairie during the turn of the century, and tells the story of the young
Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and the lands that they have
worked their whole lives in keeping. Her brothers, although hard working, are dumb and set in their ways.
All through this book of love, greed, murder, failed dreams and hard won triumphs, Alexandra's intelligence,
hardness, and sheer temerity keep everything going. At the end, she finally marries a man she loves-
and makes him treat her right while she keeps running the farm herself. A great book for ages 9-and up.
The Snow Queen
"The Snow Queen" (Fairy Tale)|
One of the few traditional fairy tales that where the female characters aren't soppy wet creatures who sit
around looking beautiful while waiting to marry the prince and live happily ever after. When the Snow
Queen lures away her best friend, the heroine heads off to the frozen North to rescue him.
"Lyddie" - by Katherine Paterson|
Lyddie Worthen is a 13 year old girl in the 1800's(?), when she is
separated from her family. She is forced to work at a mill job,
where she and several other girls run weaving looms in bad working
conditions, including an arsehole child-molester overseer. She
teaches herself to read, and quickly becomes the best worker in the
mill. However, when her friends become sick, and the overseer starts
bothering her friends, she speaks up, and is fired on account of
"moral turpritude". Before she goes, she devises a way to screw him
over, should he bother any other girls. She ends up going to Oberlin
(instead of marrying some guy).
The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife
"The Golden Compass" (book one), "The Subtle Knife" (book two), "The Amber Spyglass (book three)- by Phillip Pullman|
A challenging and richly woven fantasy book for young adults in the tradition of Madeline L'Engle and Tolkein, with a very strong, gutsy,
and independent central character, Lyra, on whom the destiny of humankind may ride. In book two, a strong
male character "Will", emerges, and Pullman is quoted as saying (in an interview with Amazon.com),
"I'm pleased to be offering strong and positive images of girls for
readers to relate to, but I don't do it for any political reason. It just happens like that. But I'll add
something I often say when this question comes up: in order to show girls being strong, you
don't have to show boys being weak."
This is an excellent series to read aloud to older children (10-13), as there are many concepts (history of the
church in the world, biblical references, physics, etc.) which may need explaining.
Outside Over There
"Outside Over There" by Maurice Sendak|
While Sendak is most famous for his "Where the Wild Things Are",
"Outside Over There", is a lyrical and brilliantly illustrated
story, equally worthy of attention. Dark and brooding,
this poetic story tells the tale of "Ida" - a young girl left
in charge of minding her baby sister. Unfortunately, goblins
steal away the baby sister, leaving a changeling behind "all made
of ice". Ida storms off after the goblins to rescue her sister.
A great book not only for it's portrayal of a young girl taking charge
and becoming a heroine, but also because it deconstructs fearsome things
like goblins - they turn out to be nothing more than babies, just like
her sister... Interesting symbolism as well...
Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death
And be sure to get this other great Richard Peck story:
Ghosts I have Been
"The Blossom Culp Series" by Richard Peck|
Blossom Culp lives in a shack on the wrong side
of the railroad tracks, and if it weren't for the
jumble sales at the church she'd be naked. But by using
her natural talents and pure spunk, Blossom grosses
out the neighborhood social club, travels to England,and
meets the Queen.
The Perilous Gard
"The Perilous Gard" - by Elizabeth Marie Pope|
Kate, an unattractive but intelligent young noblewoman of
Elizabethan times, finds herself exiled to BFE Britain due
to her beautiful younger sister's stupidity. There
she uncovers a frightening pre-Christian society
from whom she must rescue the male protagonist.
Very amusing dialogue, but somewhat sad overall,
as the defeat of the pagans is only after Kate comes to
be a part of them. This book has been around for
awhile, but the female characters (ALL of them) are
very real and include several HBs, even Queen Elizabeth herself.
Where the Lillies Bloom
"Where the Lillies Bloom" - by Vera and Bill Cleaver (young adult c1969)|
(A Newbery Award Honor book) When Mary Call (an irrepressible 14-yr-old) vows to hold her orphaned family
together, and to keep her dreamy sister from marrying a "villain", she
becomes one of the most enterprising, tough, courageous and unforgettable
heroines you will ever meet.
"Stephanie's PonyTail" - by Robert Munsch.|
(ages 3-7) A fun parable about assertingyour individuality and not bowing to social pressures. A little
girl wears a ponytail to school and the other kids say, "Ugly, ugly, very
ugly!" She says, "It's *my* ponytail and *I* like it!" The next day, they
all are wearing ponytails. Stephanie keeps trying her ponytail in
different places, each time meeting the same exact response. In the end,
she gets even with them.
"Angela's Airplane" - by Robert Munsch|
The delightfully absurd tale of Angela, who gets separated from her
father at the airport and accidentally causes a plane to take off, with her
in it. She is "talked down" by the air traffic controllers, and promises
her frantic father that she will never fly a plane again.... until she grows
up and breaks that promise to become an airline pilot. Wonderful illustrations by Michael Marchenko.
Good Families Don't
"Good Families Don't" - by Robert Munsch|
(ages 3-7)Yet another absurdly funny, wonderfully illustrated Munsch book about a girl who discovers
a big purple, green and yellow FART in her bed. Her parents, and even
the police dismiss her with comments like "Don't be silly, Good families
don't have farts. What would the neighbors say?" and "Don't be silly, Good
Canadian's don't have farts. What would the American's say?". After the FART
overwhelms everyone, it is up to her to save the day.
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?
"You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?" - by Jean Fritz (ISBN: 0-399-22786-5)|
Jacket art copyright 1995 by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
A biography of Elizabeth Stanton, leader of suffragist movement.
(from the Putnam publishing page:)
"If only you'd been a boy," said Lizzie Cady's father when she won a prize for Latin. But Lizzie didn't want to be a boy. She just wanted girls to count as much as boys did. When she grew up, married Henry Stanton, and had seven lively children of her own, she wanted to have the same rights as men- and that included voting.
Lizzie wasn't about to stay home and do what was expected of her while men made all the decisions. Nor was she going to wear full skirts if bloomers were more comfortable. When Lizzie spoke out for women's right to vote at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848, her husband was so embarrassed that he left town. But that didn't stop her. Like her good friend Susan B. Anthony, who joined her in the "battlefield," she traveled around the country, talking about equality for everyone men and women, black and white.
Though Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn't live to see women get the vote, her name is forever associated with the fight for women's suffrage. The story of that fight and of the remarkable woman who led it is told here by prizewinning biographer Jean Fritz.
The Ballad of the Pirate Queens
"The Ballad of the Pirate Queens" - by Jane Yolen|
Recounting the stories of two legendary women pirates, a ballad about Anne Bonney and Mary Reade describes their
desperate 1720 evening battle with the governor's men while the rest of the crew remained drinking below.
"Ye wouldn't have to hang like a dog, if ye'd fought like a man!" - Anne Bonney to John Rackham
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
"The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" - by Avi (1990)|
It's the fictional diary of an upper-class British girl in 1832 who
finds herself on a trans-Atlantic journey without a chaperon. She
bravely takes on a heartless captain and mutinous crew, learns to use a
knife and to climb the mast, faces execution for murder, wears pants
(gasp!), and generally defies the gender conventions of her day. This
Award-winning story belongs on the bookshelf of every young girl.
Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind
"Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind" - by Suzanne Fisher Staples |
This Newbery Honor Medal-winning book is the story of a young muslim
girl struggling to find herself within a male-dominated society.
Shabanu belongs to a very traditional family of nomadic camel traders.
She suffers many hardships from her life in the desert and the daily
labor of her family's subsistence but mostly from her authoritarian
father. Just as Shabanu's body reaches adolescence and she begins to
discover some of what it means to be a woman, her father arranges for
her to be married. Trapped between childhood and adulthood, between her
desire for autonomy and the awesome pressures that her society places
members of her sex, Shabanu comes of age with almost shocking rapidity,
but with an inner strength that will be long remembered by all readers
of this work.
Real Gorgeous - by Kaz Cooke|
A hilarious and empowering book for girls and women who are insecure about their body image.
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Island of the Blue Dolphins - by Scott O-Dell|
The story of a girl who is utterly forsaken. Her family is killed
and she is the sole inhabitant of an island. She learns to be become
utterly self-reliant & to survive, even without hope of ever
being "rescued." This wonderful book about a courageous, resourceful
girl who makes Nature her ally in her struggle for survival. I
recommend this book for all young girls. It certainly had a strong
positive impact on my own life.
Julie of the Wolves
Julie of the Wolves - by Jean Craighead George|
This is another story of a young girl who is deserted. She is a
native American in an unhappy family situation. She runs away, and by
observing wolves in the wild, learns their customs. She eventually
joins them, and is accepted by them as a strange new addition to the
pack. But the book is no fairy tale. Eventually Julie must leave the
pack, and return to the world of imperfect humans as an outsider.
But she now knows how "curry favor" thanks to her experience with the
wolf pack, for Julie has literally became a heartless bitch!!!!
An invaluable book for what it teaches
about the need for girls to develop independence, self-reliance,
resourcefulness & self-respect.
(NOTE: The adult version of Julie of the Wolves is Smilla's Sense of
Snow by Peter Hoeg).
"Witch Baby" - by Francesca Lia Block|
Witch baby is a screaming, kicking, curly-toed phototaking drummer witch
who lives with her fabulous family of film makers in L.A. fairytale
She's not sweet, not angelic, and never passive: plus, francesca lia
block is an amazing writer who creates a character compelling
interesting and inspiring no matter what your age is.
"Matilda" - by Roald Dahl|
Matilda is the brilliant little girl who tricks her slimy parents and
sibling into all sorts of terrible predicaments, all the while plotting
to save her teacher, Miss Honey, from the clutches of her evil
Howl's Moving Castle
"Howl's Moving Castle" - by Diana Wynne Jones|
Sophie, the oldest of her sisters, goes off to seek her fortune and ends
up battling witches, intimidating demons, and bossing around a cowardly
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
"A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver" - by E.L. Konigsburg|
This is basically a biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Technically it's written for middle-school age, but it's
really a great book, and still gets across the girl-kicks-ass,
rules Europe, message that anyone gets out of hearing about
"Horrible Hebzibah" |
A story about a REALLY Bitchy little girl who gets even with "Sweet Vanilla",the neighborhood "barbie doll". Yes, the bitch does win in the end!
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Dealing with Dragons
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Searching for Dragons
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Calling on Dragons
"The Enchanted Forest Chronicles" by Patricia C. Wrede |
This is ananthology of 4 collected works. It's about a princess who runs away with dragons because she doesn't what to be a
princess. She fends off would-be rescuers by explaining that
she doesn't want to be rescued. It's a great series of books, written with a sense of humor.
Alanna : The First Adventure (The Song of the Lioness)
In the Hand of the Goddess (The Song of the Lioness)
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness)
"The Lioness Rampant" series - by Tamora Pierce|
They are all about a girl in a fictional world who
disposes of all the prim and proper notions the men of a kings court have by
becoming a knight, then a mercenary, all with out the help of anyone but
herself and her goddess.
The fourth book in the "Song of the
Lioness" series finds a grown-up Alanna defeating the evil Duke Roger
after her sorceror brother brings him back to life as part of a bet. She
also finds a magic jewel, becomes the first female Champion and all sorts
of other heroic stuff.
"Princess Smartypants" |
A princess who rides a Norton, has a lot ofanimals and foils every attempt by would-be suitors. A classic.
Don't Bet on the Prince
"Don't Bet on the Prince" |
A collection of fairy tales--written by men and women--where the female character has to be the "brave" one. A
nightly read to older kids.
The Paper Bag Princess
"The Paper Bag Princess" - By Robert Munsch|
A GREAT unconventional heroine who rescues the prince by outwitting a dragon. She decides not
to marry the prince when, immediately upon being rescued, he criticizes her appearance.
"Ronald. Your clothes are really pretty and your hair is really neat. You look like
a prince, but you are a bum."
And they didn't get married after all.
Girls to the Rescue Treasury
"Girls to the Rescue" - edited by Bruce Lansky|
Tales of clever,courageous girls from around the world. There are ten, clever,
courageous heroes in this book of fairy tales. They are all girls!
"My War With Google-eyes," by Anne Fine|
It's basically about this girl, Helen who is a earth-conscious kid. She pays attention
to politics and goes to protests at local nuclear power plants. Her
mother, who is also a liberal, finds a boyfriend who is not. (Actually,
he reminds me of Newt Gingrich, pseudo-charming in that way that makes
you wanna puke).
Tell us about more books we should add to this list.
Be sure to add some kind of short review or commentary about the book as well as the title and author!
|Copyright© Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 2000, All Rights Reserved|
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