10 Inspiring Books for Girls

Everywhere we turn during Women’s History Month we see amazing stories of SheHeroes from all over the world over the course of generations and generations. Each story is more inspiring than the last and I’m sure each one of you out there reading this has a SheHero from history who holds a special place in your heart for whatever reason.

And of course I’m no different. But as I thought about Women’s History Month I couldn’t help but think of the other women who inspired me as a young girl, as a teen and as an adult, the fictional characters of the books I loved to read growing up. Books I still love to read to this day.

So I thought I’d take a moment to honor some of my personal favorite literary characters from history. Each one of these characters was a source of inspiration or strength to me at some point during my life. The authors who created them were also a source of inspiration in themselves.

So here is list of some of my favorite female characters from books. If your looking for some fun books to introduce to the girl in your life, hopefully you’ll find this to be a great start. But by no means is this list complete! Be sure to leave YOUR favorite female character in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

  • Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: Anne Shirley is full of spunk, imagination and has a love for life like no other. A great source of inspiration for any young girl, especially ones who every so often feel out of place.
  • Nancy Drew from the Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene: Whether it’s the original series or any of the incarnations that have been published over the years, Nancy Drew has been inspiring girls to be smarter for generations.
  • Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: The transformation of Mary from the bitter lonely girl to the lovely passionate girl she becomes has been entertaining young girls since 1911.
  • Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’eangle: Meg Murry has been a favorite role model of girls since the early 60s.
  • Kate O’Sullivan from O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott: The fiery Irish lass not only saves the lives of her father and brothers but also turns down a marriage proposal form the king. A great and different female lead for young girls.
  • Pippi Longstalking  from Pippi Longstalking by Astrid Lindgren: Since 1950 young girls have been relating to and enjoying the antics of the girl with the most famous pigtails in the history.
  • Ramona Quimby from the Ramona Series by Beverly Clearly: Most girls in the last few decades have found solace in the books of Beverly Clearly especially the beloved Ramona series.
  • Aerin from Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley: My favorite genre of books (science fiction fantasy) when I was a girl, it was one of the greatest gifts ever to discover that there were books in that genre who actually had female leads. Check all McKinley’s books for more great female centric action books.
  • The female characters from The Incarnations of Immortality Series by Piers Anthony: This series by legendary author Piers Anthony showcases some amazing strong female leads, and though it may be a bit much for the younger girls tweens and teens will have plenty of strong females to look up into in this series.
  • Hermione Grainger & Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: Yes, the lead in the Harry Potter books is a boy, BUT the two main female leads are amazing examples of smart capable girls, who both play major parts in helping Harry Potter as he makes his way through Hogwarts and defeating Lord Voldemort.

It’s shouldn’t be any surprise that only two of these listings were male authors. Sometimes it takes a strong woman to write a strong woman.  If you’re looking for more string leads you can take a look at this list from our friends at New Moon Girls, 30 Books for Girls.  If you want to know some of the women who have inspired some of our favorite female authors, then check out this great piece from the Huffington Post.

There are many amazing female authors and literary characters out there and this lists barely scratches the surface. What character inspired you and the young SheHero in your life?

8 thoughts on “10 Inspiring Books for Girls

  1. Girls are constantly bombarded by male heroes–hence the purpose of this post, right? Boys need to see good examples of strong, capable women, too! This is an excellent choice of literature for all children, not just girls.

  2. Grumble.f.kitty, you are SO right!! Thanks for the comment and the important reminder that these examples are indeed just as important for the young boys in our life as for the young girls….

  3. Anne McCaffrey’s books, especially the Harper Hall trilogy, often have strong young female main characters, too.

  4. What about Lyra Belaqua from His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman? And Lucy Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia? And my favorite female hero of all, although not fictional but several historical fiction novels on her are available: Queen Elizabeth I of England.

  5. Eilonwy in Lloyd Alexander’s five book series, The Chronicles of Prydain, is one of my favorites. She’s raised to be a spoiled princess but goes on to be much much more. Added bonuses? She never does the “swoon for the male hero” schtick AND she remains likeable through it all.

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