Saturday, July 11, 2015

Some Strong Female Characters in Picture Books


Now for something different:

When my daughter was little, I wanted her to have exposure to books where the girl wasn't always being saved by a boy. These are a few of the picture books she came to love for their humor and adventure. 

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is a twist on the regular fairy tale. Prince Ronald and Princess Elizabeth are supposed to be getting married. Then along comes a dragon and kidnaps Prince Ronald. Princess Elizabeth takes it on herself to rescue him. However when she shows up wearing a paper bag, the Prince is less than thrilled. 

Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole is definitely different. The Princess doesn't want to get married. She would rather live alone with her pets. Her parents tell her she has to get married. So, she designs tests for the princes, which they mostly fail miserably. Then along comes Prince Swashbuckle.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is a classic tale about feisty young Madeline who lives at a boarding school in Paris with her 11 other classmates. She makes life interesting for them. 



When she got a little older we shared Tam Lin as told by Jane Yolen. It's beautifully illustrated and a wonderful story about a brave young woman who must rescue her love from the Fairy Queen and in the process regains her ancestral home.

These are just a few of the picture books available with strong female characters. There are read-aloud books too such as Kathleen Ragan's Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folk Tales Around the World.

Do you know any books for elementary or middle-grade readers, particularly retellings, with strong lead female characters? Have any favorites? Please share them in the comments so we can check them out.