General Question

eadinad's avatar

Can anyone recommend a good feminist/pro-girl book for a young girl?

Asked by eadinad (1278points) April 25th, 2008

I want to buy my little sister a book that introduces her to basic feminist topics/ideas and counteracts the stupid sexist, misogynist, gender-role-ist messages I’m sure she gets on a daily basis. She’s at about a fifth grade reading level, but could probably handle something a little higher than that too. Any suggestions?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

delirium's avatar

Call me Ruth.

I don’t actually remember to much about it. But I do know that my parents gave it to me when I was a little girl and I found it empowering.

Here, i’ll see if I can find it around and give you some more info on it. if I can’t, I’m sorry.

delirium's avatar

Perhaps at later review that is not hte best.
The ones I came across that i’d advise more highly were Ella Enchanted, Sara Crewe, and Coraline.

I’ll go search for more…

andrew's avatar

How young? Dealing with Dragons is a total favorite of mine.

susanc's avatar

I doubt that she’s too young for the Phillip Pullman series starting with The Golden
Compass. DId she see the movie? The books are SO MUCH BETTER (the movie
was perfectly fine but hard to follow perhaps). The central character is a girl about
your sister’s age, maybe a year older. Very cool girl. Strong, intelligent and true-hearted.
Helps to save the world. Will not work if her family is hyperChristian.

susanc's avatar

And I think the Judy Blume series of book are good for girl kids.

susanc's avatar

And she should spend lots of time with her big sister!

responsible's avatar

Any fantasy book with a girl heroine is an excellent choice. The one I like in particular is The Golden Compass. It is the first in a series called The Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. If you seriously want long lists of books with a feminist bent, google “The Amelia Bloomer Project”. Every year, this project finds books that embody feminist values and lists them by grade level to make it easy for parents to choose the right book for their daughters.

delirium's avatar

Ooh! I remember loving judy blume.
I also like Garth Nix’s “The Seventh Tower” series and the Abhorsen series (“Sabriel”, “Lireal”, and “Abhorsen”.)

GD_Kimble's avatar

Go old school. Nancy Drew.

nocountry2's avatar

I LOVED reading the Nancy Drew series around that age, both the newer and older versions, there was something about a smart young girl detective who was logical and not easily intimidated by men or mysteries that really stuck with me…

scamp's avatar

Amelia Bedelia
by Peggy Parish – not really very feminist, but lots of fun!

lifeflame's avatar

“Dicey’s Song” by Cynthia Voigt (Newberry Medal winner) has a very strong 13 year old heroine that has to take care of her brothers and sisters when their mum abandons them in a carpark. It’s part of the cycle of books called the Tillerman series. Hmm – I’d like to re-read those again.. it’s been a long while.

“Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey is another of my favorites, and is about a young girl who, despite the prejudices of her father, etc, manages to end up at a music academy and become accepted due to her talent.

delirium's avatar

Ooh. I remember one that I absolutely adored, and that has a Seriously strong female lead.
Island of the Blue Dolphins Scott O’Dell

joyengel's avatar

Girls fight back by erin weed is a great book all about how high school and college girls should learn how to defend themselves

stephencjackson's avatar

I second Island of the Blue Dolphins, and recommend the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Very clever, imaginative, and creative, and totally appropriate for that age group. They were one of my very favorites.
Oh, and I’d be remiss without plugging Harry Potter. They never, ever get old.

ljs22's avatar

Some of my favorites at that age were Anne of Green Gables, a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Harriet the Spy, the Anastasia Krupnik books, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, A Wrinkle in Time, Sophie’s World, I Capture the Castle, The Little Princess, and The Secret Garden. My nose was in a book for most of my childhood and adolescence. Wait, it still is…

nomtastic's avatar

anything by ruth chew, a second to harriet the spy and from the mixed up files (also by e.l. konigsburg: up from jericho tel.)

also, geeky though it may be, i loved biographies of famous women: marie curie, emilia earhart, etc.

eadinad's avatar

Thanks for all the suggestions, she’s actually read a lot of these books already (so did I, when I was young, and they are great.) : )

But I was actually looking for something non-fiction, something pretty straightforward? I don’t know if things like that exist for this age group, but something like Jessica Valenti’s “Full Frontal Feminism” (except for younger kids, of course) would be great.

susanc's avatar

Maybe go to the NOW website?
I personally think kids respond better to good art
than to any politics, even good politics.

responsible's avatar

I agree with susanc that your daughter will respond to and remember the literature more than a non-fiction book especially if you discuss the book with her – the political implications…

unacornea's avatar

the pippi longstocking books were my favorites when i was kid (skip “pippi in the south seas” though, it has weird stuff around race), the stories are empowering and inspire the imagination.

also – check out the weetzie bat books, by francesca lia block. again, empowered, imaginative girl characters living interesting lives… might be too grown up for her (a site i just looked at said age 12 and up)

one more idea – i got my best friend’s daughter a book called “hey kidz! buy this book” it’s about media literacy and being active in the world, she LOVED it. it’s by anne elizabeth moore.

Amurph's avatar

Weetzie Bat!,M1

I loved this series so much! Very grrrrl power and punk rock and adventurous, and right at this reading level. The best thing is that it’s so indie and involved in the real world and real politics.

Even grown ups shuld read this!

zahava85's avatar

It might be hard to find non-fiction at that reading level.. You could try the Queen Bees ( book. It might be too hard though!

If you decide to head away from non-fiction I second a lot of the suggestions above: Island of the Blue Dolphin, The Golden Compass series, and The City of Ember (–2)

occ's avatar

I used to run workshops on gender issues and girl empowerment for 5th graders at a summer camp.

Probably the best book I used with girls in our empowerment workshops was called Baby X: A Fabulous Child’s Story. I think it is out of print but I looked online and you can read and print the whole short story here:
Definitely a good one for sparking discussion…

I would second the suggestion of Weetzie Bat – really awesome feministy and hip and fun and mysterious and special – she might be a little young to appreciate it – you should read it first and see what you think. You can read it in one day, and it’s a great book for adults too.

Also, you might want to buy her a book like Our Bodies, Our Selves. She may think it’s weird to receive it now if she’s only in 5th grade – but I guarantee she will pour over it when alone in her room, hoping to find answers to all the questions she is too embarassed to ask. Hopefully it will counteract the BS her friends will find on the internet.

And finally, I know you said you’re not looking for fiction but you might want to check out The Paper Bag Princess. It’s a picture book, but I think adults can appreciate it too.

KimberlyLD's avatar

I don’t know a lot of non-fiction for children, but I do know that the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke was a huge hit with my Middle School students. The heroine is a little girl and it’s an action packed adventure story with lessons and “believe in yourself” kinds of motifs that really hooked my 6th,7th,8th Graders. I read a little to them each morning at the start of class and they were all (boys and girls alike) genuinely into it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Check out the American Girl books. Aside from the fiction books, there are some great ones about how girls’s bodies change and how to get through school.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

The Paper-bag Princess is a good gift book. While not a 5th grade reading level, the message of the book is really timely for that age. (Princess rescues prince from a dragon, but in the process loses her clothes and has to wear a bag. The prince, upon seeing, turns up his nose at her appearance. The princess responds as we hope she would. Good stuff!)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther