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Children's Books with a Female Main Character?
January 13, 2007 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for children's books featuring little girls?

Each night I read a book to my nearly-four-year-old daughter and lately she's been selective about the story, her preference being for one that has "a little girl in it." She's into the Clifford books, partly because those books have Emily Elizabeth as a main character. The Miss Spider books she enjoys, but those don't star a human.

From clicking on the amazon links in this thread on "Tatterhood" I came across some interesting fairytale books featuring girls. I have a feeling she would like to read just regular stories with girls about her age as the main character.

Thanks, all!
posted by frecklefaerie to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
And of course I just found this thread but those books are a little too old for my kid.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2007


There are stacks and stacks of books out there with preschool-age girls in them. Why not just go to the library and browse through the easy readers?
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:09 AM on January 13, 2007


"The Paper Bag Princess" is an absolute must. And any Robert Munsch book is alot of fun and many have female protagonists. His books are usually delightfully silly and most often have the child protagonist saving the day so they really appeal to the kids.
posted by winston at 10:12 AM on January 13, 2007


I'll recommend the Lily books by Kevin Henkes (Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Lily's Big Day)--the main character is an an anthropomorphic little mouse girl, but otherwise a regular story about girls her age, and I find that Henkes has really strong insight into how it feels to be that age.
posted by Jeanne at 10:13 AM on January 13, 2007


The corpse in the library: I'm asking the askme for a place to start. At the library she tends to be drawn to the stupid Dora the Explorer books (prominently on display), which she ends up being bored with after two readings, and they're also no fun to read out loud to someone. I also have an issue with her tearing the stickers off of library books, and after paying the library twice now it isn't what I am interested in.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2007


The Ramona series from Beverly Cleary is fantastic. I started reading them to my daughter when she was four, and she really enjoyed Ramona's slightly devilish and fun personality. BC has written other books about little girls too. You can read them to her now and in a few years she'll be able to read them again by herself.

The Madeline books are wonderful as well - she'll be sucked in by the charming illustrations and intriguing places. Madeline's another mischievous little girl.
posted by iconomy at 10:15 AM on January 13, 2007


Gotcha. Slightly more helpful of me:

Eighty Books for the 21st Century Girls
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2007


I just got back from the bookshelf. Here are some other Munsch books with a young girl as the main character:
-The Fire Station
-David's Father
-Up, Up, Down
-Zoom
-Makeup Mess
-Murmel, Murmel, Murmel
posted by winston at 10:19 AM on January 13, 2007


You're looking specifically for stories with human little girls? (As opposed to like, the Olivia books, in which Olivia is a little girl pig?)

Also, are you looking just for picture books? Or are you looking also for chapter books that you can read aloud to her? The Ramona books for example are considered middle grade (9-12) but are a perfect choice for reading aloud to younger kids.
posted by lampoil at 10:22 AM on January 13, 2007


There's Junie B. Jones, too. Though the writing style might grate after a while.
posted by Jeanne at 10:24 AM on January 13, 2007


Blueberries for Sal / One Morning in Maine
Corduroy / A Pocket for Corduroy
posted by one_bean at 10:31 AM on January 13, 2007


Seconding the recommendation of the Madeline series.
posted by amyms at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2007


Oh I have to chime in with two such books that I still love, 21 years later.

One is called Christina Katerina and the Box, about being inconveniently creative and imaginative, and one is The Piggy In the Puddle. It's funny, rhyming,and repetitive but reassuring about being loved by your (piggy) family even when you're naughty!

Both age appropriate.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:50 AM on January 13, 2007


My daughter enjoyed the magic tree house series about a brother and sister who travel through time.
posted by hoppytoad at 10:58 AM on January 13, 2007


The original Eloise books written by Kay Thompson--not the newer ones.
posted by brujita at 10:59 AM on January 13, 2007


Imogene's Antlers
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:59 AM on January 13, 2007


Wait until she's old enough for chapter books before giving her the Little House series--don't bother with the dumbed-down picture books.
posted by brujita at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2007


Brave Irene
posted by shoesfullofdust at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2007


My Naughty Little Sister, by Dorothy Edwards, and sequels. And seconding Ramona.
posted by paduasoy at 11:15 AM on January 13, 2007


Long before we had children I had a love of children's literature. Now we have a strong willed 4 year old of our own and she loves stories with a strong heroine.
I would like to second the suggestion of the Paper Bag Princess! I love it! Anything with girls by Robert Munsch are good. (Purple Green and Yellow, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Wake UP!) But Paper Bag Princess is a must have.

We LOVE Olivia by Ian Falconer. She is a pig with a mind of her own!

The Lily books by Kevin Henkes are wonderful.

When Sophie gets Angry is a good book for any child but teaches girls its ok to get mad

I'm sure I could come up with 100 more but I'll it al my favorite.
posted by leahsmom at 11:32 AM on January 13, 2007


Red is Best.
posted by ODiV at 12:22 PM on January 13, 2007


She's four? Nth the Madeline books; you'll probably enjoy them as much as she will. They rhyme, the drawings are extraordinary, and there's nothing remotely cute or didactic about them -- though if you want to encourage her to love walking around cities, you couldn't do better. Moreover:

"Genevieve, noblest dog in France,
You shall have your VEN-GE-ANCE!"
posted by tangerine at 1:09 PM on January 13, 2007


When she's older, buy her A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My favourite, handed down from my mother, because it was her favourite.

I know this doesn't help, but I really like that book.
posted by lindsey.nicole at 1:23 PM on January 13, 2007


Milly-Molly-Mandy.
posted by paduasoy at 1:47 PM on January 13, 2007


I third the Robert Munsch suggestion. I loved this books as a kid, and never felt like they were insulting my intelligence. Millicent and the Wind is a great story about a little girl.
posted by sunshinesky at 1:59 PM on January 13, 2007


You'll find here an extensive list with descriptions of many wonderful books featuring young girls. My favorites when I was a kid included the Ramona books as mentioned above and also the Madeleine L'Engle series (Switftly Tilting Planet, etc) which might be a little too mature for her at this stage but would be great for her library in the future. My favorite fairy tale book was The Practical Princess which had fabulous wood-cut style drawings as well.
posted by amanda at 2:00 PM on January 13, 2007


angelina ballerina
posted by ASM at 4:09 PM on January 13, 2007


Seconding the original Eloise books- I really wish I still had mine. You could also try Pippi Longstocking, though probably read by you at this point.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:36 PM on January 13, 2007


If female anthropomorphic animals are ok, I recommend the Frances books by Russell Hoban (Frances is a badger). Bread and Jam for Frances is the best, but the others are great as well.

Also, Brave Irene by William Steig is wonderful.

Nthing Madeline, Eloise, and Olivia.
posted by naoko at 5:03 PM on January 13, 2007


You might try the Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows. There's a fairy (and thus a book) for each color of the rainbow, and it's been expanded to include weather fairies and holiday fairies.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:37 PM on January 13, 2007


Matilda, Roald Dahl
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:34 PM on January 13, 2007


The Wolves in the Walls, and when she's slightly older Coraline. Both by Neil Gaimen
posted by edgeways at 12:45 AM on January 14, 2007


Akiko on the Planet Smoo is a series of whimsical science-fiction books and comics starring a fourth-grade girl. They're great fun.
posted by JDC8 at 7:51 AM on January 14, 2007


Man, I love the Frances books-- she's so funny and real and full of complicated emotions, even if she's not a real child. Much as I love the Steig books, I think Brave Irene and The Magic Bone would've freaked out my kids at 4. A friend of mine worked at Scholastic when When Sophie Gets Mad came out and apparently some teachers and parents got worked up because she runs out of the house and finds comfort in nature, not always a viable option for modern children, alas, but my kids already knew that. I recommend that one, too.
posted by eve harrington at 8:38 AM on January 14, 2007


Princess Smartypants was a favorite of ours and it sends a good anti-prince charming message.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:18 PM on January 14, 2007


i think that pippi longstocking is for about the same age as the ramona books, so that might be another one you could read aloud (one of my favorites)
posted by lgyre at 4:41 PM on January 14, 2007


Harriet the Spy.
posted by chunking express at 6:55 AM on December 17, 2007


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