Through the power of media, most young girls are drawn to princesses and love to read about them in books. While princesses can be fun, young girls also need to see examples of strong girls who are not waiting for princes to save them. The next time you’re roaming the aisles of your favorite bookstore, or browsing your go-to online bookshop, keep an eye out for the following books featuring girls who have a mind of their own, work hard and are good examples of strong and empowered girls. 1. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
This popular title is not just another dragon story that has the prince saving the princess. In fact, it’s the other way around! The dragon kidnaps the prince, and the princess he is supposed to marry sets out to rescue him. It’s a great book that shows girls can be beautiful and strong princeses.
2. A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
After the heartbreaking fire that destroyed Rosa’s home, she and her family saved what little money they could in order to buy a big, comfortable chair for their family. It’s a wonderful lesson on how perseverance can help the young and old overcome adversity. 3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Inspired by a true-to-life story, this beautiful picture book features Alice Rumphius, who decided she wanted to travel, live by the sea in her old age, and make the world more beautiful by planting the flowering plant lupine. How she manages to accomplish all is an inspiring story to show girls they can do anything with courage, will, and hard work.
4. Jojo’s Flying Side Kick by Brian Pinkney
Jojo is about to take the test for her yellow belt in karate. She’s jittery, nervous, and scared of the creepy tree outside the window. How can she even do a perfect flying side kick? Jojo shows girls (and boys!) how she overcame her fears and eventually embraced success. 5. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren If you want to teach your kids about individuality and independence, then you can start with this beloved classic. Pippi, who has upside-down braids, lives by herself, does things for herself, and protects herself. Her adventures have long delighted boys and girls since it was first published in 1950. 6. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
This book is a great introduction for your kids when it comes to the topic of diversity and race and gender stereotypes. Grace longs to play the part of Peter Pan in their school play. But, as her classmates pointed out, Peter is a boy and isn’t black like Grace. Encouraged by her grandma, Grace sets out to prove that a girl, and a black one at that, can play the iconic role of Peter Pan! 7. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became The World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull
This inspiring book tells of Olympian Wilma Rudolph’s struggle with polio at the age of five, and her efforts to walk again. Not only did she defy the odds, but Wilma eventually became a track and field sprinter who earned the title “fastest woman in the world” in the 1960s after she won the Olympics with three gold medals.
8. The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
This book features Violet, who dreams to be as strong and brave as her father, the king, and her brothers. Her father, however, only wants her to marry a brave knight. He holds a tournament for all knights where the victor wins Violet’s hand in marriage. What does Violet do? She trains herself to be a knight and joins the tournament herself. It’s a tale of defiance done in order to forge one’s own destiny. 9. Sheila Rae, The Brave by Kevin Henkes
Sheila Rae is not afraid of anything and bullies her “scaredy cat” sister Louise. One day, though, when she gets lost, Louise shows her what being brave means. Written by the popular Kevin Henkes, “Sheila Rae, The Brave” is a heartwarming story about sibling love, humility, and facing your fears. 10. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen
Mother and daughter tandem Jane Yolen and Heidi Yolen free girls from the idea of timid and frilly princesses, and instead show them making a mess, climbing trees and jumping in puddles. Not all girls like pink… and this book shows they don’t have to!
Check out your favorite local bookstore or website including Amazon.com for your own copies!