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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Books about strong women

January 20, 2009

As the mother of two girls, I'm interested in books that feature strong girls or women in central roles.

There are lots of booklists that feature strong women. One my favorite lists is below. Sadly, I can't relocate the source! I was just sure it was from Choice Literacy, a site I love so much, but I couldn't find it there today. If you recognize the list and know the source, please let me know! I certainly want to credit the correct author. It's a wonderful list, although abbreviated from its original source.

Happy reading!

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

The thing I like about this book is that Ivy and Bean, two neighbors who think they have nothing in common, become great friends. Bean likes to get dirty and stay busy. From Bean's perspective, Ivy is very prim and proper, always reading. The two become friends and have great fun together in each book in this series. I love that two girls who are so different are portrayed as strong, interesting characters.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine is laugh-out-loud funny. Clementine is a creative soul and her parents and teachers appreciate this about her — even though her ideas often get her into some trouble. Marla Frazee illustrates this series and the drawings add to the fun of getting to know Clementine. How could you not love her when the light in her eyes is so clear in the illustrations!

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell

Emmy is a child who is held captive by a not-so-nice nanny. Her parents don't have much time for her since they inherited a large sum of money. She feels almost invisible at both home and school. But then, with the help of the class rat and her friend Joey, she discovers what has really been controlling her life and she then takes control herself! It is really a fun book. It has many of the traits and situations I've found compelling in other books — a child who isn't getting lots of attention from her parents, a mean nanny, magic and friendship. It is a story told in a way that makes it fun and suspenseful throughout.

Babymouse by Jennifer Holm and Matt Holm

I cannot write about strong female characters without including Babymouse! Babymouse is a newer graphic novel series and each book tells us one story of Babymouse. She has big dreams. Babymouse has disappointments too, but she gets through it all with friends and humor.


For mothers and grandmothers out there. Our Fl book club is reading a book called My Mother Killed Christ: But God Loves Me Anyway. Talk about a strong woman! Wow. The book was so powerful, I had to catch my breath. Shocking!

One of my recent favorites is a twist on Nancy Drew: "Ottoline and the Yellow Cat," by Chris Riddell.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox