Strong Female Characters


Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks. (AR 4.7)

Blos, Joan W. A Gathering of Days. (AR 6.7)

Bresdorff, Bodil. The Crow-girl. (AR 5.2)

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden.  (AR 6.3)

Cleaver, Vera. Hazel Rye.

Creech, Sharon. Granny Torelli Makes Soup. (AR 4.2)

Cushman, Karen. The Midwife’s Apprentice. (AR 6.0)

Dahlburg, Maurine F. Play to the Angel. (AR 4.7)

Ellis, Deborah. The Breadwinner. (AR 4.5)

Ellis, Deborah. Parvanna’s Journey. (AR 4.5)

Enright, Elizabeth. Gone-Away Lake. (AR 5.3)

Enright, Elizabeth. Return to Gone-Away. (AR 5.8)

Estes, Eleanor. The Hundred Dresses.  (AR 5.4)

Field, Rachel. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. (AR 7.1)

Fletcher, Susan. Walk Across the Sea. (AR 4.3)

Fritz, Jean. Homesick: My Own Story.  (AR 5.1)

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart. (AR 5.4)

Hesse, Karen. Letters from Rivka. (AR 4.2)

Horvath, Polly. The Canning Season. (AR 5.6)

Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky. (AR 4.4)

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Goes on Board. (AR 5.3)

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking. (AR 5.2)

MacLachlan, Patricia. The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt. (AR 5.7)

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. (AR 3.4)

Mah, Adeline Yen. Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society. (AR 5.4)

Martel, Susanne. The King’s Daughter. (AR 6.4)

Matas, Carol. Lisa. (AR 4.0)

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. (AR 7.7)

Naidoo, Beverley. The Other Side of Truth. (AR 5.3)

Nesbit, E. The Railway Children. (AR 5.5)

Paterson, Katherine. Flip-Flop Girl. (AR 4.6)

Paterson, Katherine. The Great Gilly Hopkins. (AR 4.6)

Paterson, Katherine. Lyddie. (AR 5.6)

Patron, Susan. The Higher Power of Lucky. (AR 5.9)

Pearson, Kit. Perfect, Gentle Knight.

Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine, Friend of the Week. (AR 4.2)

Pennypacker, Sara. The Summer of the Gypsy Moths. (AR 4.4)

Porter, Pamela. The Crazy Man. (AR 4.5)

Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May. (AR 5.3)

Whelan, Gloria. Chu Ju’s House. (AR 5.2)

Whelan, Gloria. Listening for Lions. (AR 5.7)

Whelan, Gloria.  That Wild Berries Should Grow. (AR 5.0)

Kelly, Jacqueline. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015.
Twelve-year-old Callie continues her investigations into the natural world in this sequel to the Newbery Honor Book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. When a veterinarian comes to town, Callie expands her knowledge of animal care but secretly, as only her grandfather encourages her dreams and hopes for the future.  Observant readers will notice that each chapter begins with a quotation from The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, the English naturalist whose own father disapproved of his unconventional life but whose maternal grandfather encouraged him. This 312-page novel is highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up. [Family life; Historical fiction; Naturalists; Sex role; Texas; Veterinarians]

The Wolf Wilder

Rundell, Katherine. The Wolf Wilder. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015.

“In the days before the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Feodora sets out to rescue her mother when the Tsar’s Imperial Army imprisons her for teaching tamed wolves to fend for themselves.” – FVRL. “A slightly different version of this work was originally published in 2015 in Great Britain by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.” – T.p. verso. This story of courage with the echo of a powerful myth is recommended for all readers 11 years old and up. [Historical fiction; Mothers and daughters; St. Petersburg (Russia); Surivival; Wolves]

R My Name is Rachel

Giff, Patricia Reilly. R My Name is Rachel. New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2011.
Three city siblings, now living on a farm during the Great Depression, must survive on their own when their father takes a construction job miles away.” – CIP  A wistful story about a girl who enjoys reading and writing and daydreaming but is determined to keep her family together. Recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old. [Brothers and sisters; Farm life; Moving, Household; Poverty; Self-reliance]

Balliett, Blue. Hold Fast. Scholastic Press, 2013.
On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early’s father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless – and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father. – CIP  While the plot line is similar to some of Joan Bauer’s novels, the writing is more sophisticated. Highly recommended. [Homelessness; Poverty; Missing persons; Kidnapping; Fathers and daughters; Family life; Chicago (Ill.); Smuggling; Mystery and detective stories]

Franny Parker

McKinnon, Hannah Roberts. Franny Parker. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009. 

“Through a hot, dry Oklahoma summer, twelve-year-old Franny tends wild animals brought by her neighbors, hears gossip during a weekly quilting bee, befriends a new neighbor who has some big secrets, and learns to hope.” – FVRL. A wonderful story of first love for readers 11 to 14 years old. [Artists; Coming of age; Droughts; Family life; Family violence; Farm life; Friendship; Neighbors; Wildlife rescue]

Ties that Bind

Namioka, Lensey. Ties that Bind, Ties that Break. London: Puffin, 2003.

“Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.” – WAFMS. A fascinating fast-moving story that follows a young girl from the age of four to adulthood during the mid-20th century. Highly recommended for readers 12-years-old and up. [China; Sex roles; Immigration and emigration]

Oron, Judie. Cry of the Giraffe. Toronto: Annick Press, 2010.
Thirteen-year-old Wuditu and her family, Ethiopian Jews, set out for the Sudan, hoping to eventually reach safety in Israel.  Instead, Wuditu ends up in a refugee camp and life as a slave.  Will she ever be reuinited with her family?  Based on a true story, this novel is for mature readers. [Ethiopia; Sudan; Jews; Refugees; Slavery; Historical fiction]

Tinfoil Sky

Sand-Eveland, Cyndi. Tinfoil Sky. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2012.
Twelve-year-old Mel and her mother are moving for the eleventh time in four years. But when Mel’s grandmother won’t take them in and her mother goes back to her boyfriend, Mel is left behind to live by herself in their old broken-down station wagon. A novel of courage and hope that will appeal to readers who enjoyed Hold Fast by Blue Balliet or Close to Famous by Joan Bauer. [Courage; Homelessness; Grandmothers; Moving (Household); Mothers and daughters; Runaways]

Glory Be

Scattergood, Augusta. Glory Be. New York: Scholastic, 2012.“In the summer of 1964 as she is about to turn twelve, Glory’s town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is beset by racial tension when town leaders close her beloved public pool rather than desegregating it.” FVRL [Courage; Friendship; HIstorical fiction; Mississippi; Racism; Segregation; Sisters; Summer]

Sheinmel, Courtney. Positively. New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Thirteen-year-old Emmy, grieving over her mother who died of AIDS, resentful of having to live with her father and pregnant stepmother, and despairing about her future, finds hope at a summer camp for HIV-positive girls like herself. Includes facts about Elizabeth Glaser, one of the founders of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. – CIP [HIV (Viruses); AIDS (Disease); Death; Stepfamilies; Camps; Friendship; Loneliness; Grief]

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