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Girl Power! Children's picture books with strong female main characters

Girl Power! 48 Female Literary Heroes for Little Girls

by Regan

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I wasn’t thinking that today is International Women’s Day when I started working on this post. I’ve been planning it for about a week now and I guess it seems especially fitting that I finish and publish it today. I love when a plan falls into place purely by accident!

While I am the mom of boys, I was once a young girl. Obviously. One thing my mother did really well was that she instilled a sense of female pride in me. She wanted me to have a strong sense of independence and security in my girlhood – and eventual womanhood – and to own it. One of the things she did was buy books for me that had strong female main characters. 

Girl Power! Children's picture books with strong female main characters

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Many books on the market back then and even today have mostly male main characters or a male character that is the strongest voice. Meanwhile the girls are often guided by an older brother or male friend. Girls who are the main character of stories are often princesses or aren’t especially strong independent characters. While that’s perfectly fine for entertainment value, I think it is important for young girls to to be represented as a strong character as well.

Even though I only have sons, it is important for me to expose them to books about strong females. As they grow up, I want them to embrace girls and women who are independent and secure in themselves and respect those women for who they are. That is incredibly important to me. 

So, without further ado . . .

Books with strong female main characters – Ages 3-5

Girl Power! Children's picture books with strong female main characters

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Mossy by Jan Brett

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Corduroy by Don Freeman

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! by Marie-Louise Gay

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary

Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches by Steven J. Simmons

Ladybug Girl by David Soman

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Sprout Helps Out by Rosie Winstead

Books with strong female main characters – Ages 4-7

Girl Power! Children's picture books with strong female main characters

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Willow by Denise Brannon-Nelson

Journey by Aaron Becker

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming

My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

There’s Something in My Attic by Mercer Mayer

What Do You Do with a Kangaroo by Mercer Mayer

Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Peg + Cat by Jennifer Oxley

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Migrant by Maxine Trottier

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen 

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Books with strong female main characters – Ages 5-8

Girl Power! Children's picture books with strong female main characters

Ada Twist, Scientist by Harry N. Abrams

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Harry N. Abrams

Grace for President by Kelly S. DiPucchio

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle

Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson

Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton by Meghan McCarthy

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett 

Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root

Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith 

The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing

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