Beyond Twilight and Gossip Girls: Great Books For Girls. By: Rachel Seigel Selection Manager S&B Books. A Nursery Rhyme Poem for Children.
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Selection Manager S&B Books
Girls will read anything!
Girls Aren’t Reluctant Readers
1. Girls are represented as acted on, and not active
2. Girls are represented as sweet, naive, conforming, and dependent, while boys are typically described as strong, adventurous, independent, and capable
3. Boys tend to have roles as fighters, adventurers and rescuers, while girls in their passive role tend to be caretakers, mothers, princesses in need of rescuing, and characters that support the male figure
4. girl characters achieve their goals because others help them, whereas boys do so because they demonstrate ingenuity and/or perseverance
6. Girls aren’t into math or science
7. Girls are seldom technologically involved or savvy. (E-mail, texting, etc.. not withstanding
All books for girls are “chick lit”
1. Strong female protagonists who are proactive like the Paperbag Princess, these girls don’t sit around and wait to be rescued. They solve their own problems
2. Girls who triumph over sexism and discrimination-they don’t let anyone tell them that they can’t do something or because they are a girl.
3. Girls who speak their minds- they think, and have opinions
4. Characters who have depth are representative of real girls in today’s society
5. Girls who defy stereotypes
Category 1- 10-12 yrs old
1. Incorporates elements from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
2. Deals with self-image. Tamisin learns how to accept and be proud of her appearance- not hide from it.
3. Good messages for girls who feel like they don’t belong anywhere about finding their place in the world
4. Fills a gap for girls who have outgrown the “Rainbow Fairy” type material, but are too young for all of the edgy teen fairy fantasy.
5. Non-Passive Heroine. She doesn’t play victim, and wait around for someone to rescue her.
1. Amanda is a real girl, with real problems
2. Explores the changing dynamic in a boy/girl friendship as kids get older
3. Amanda is proactive in trying to find a solution, and never takes a sidekick role.
4. Tackles issues of popularity and peer pressure
5. It is a journey of self-discovery
1. Miranda is extremely independent- she’s a latchkey kid with quite a bit of freedom & lives with a single mother
2. Miranda likes to read, and there are tie-ins with A Wrinkle in Time, her favourite book. She is fascinated by how time travel works
3. Miranda is three dimensional- smart but not brilliant, occasionally selfish, close to her mom and eminently relatable.
4. It’s a story of friendship- how old friendships change, and new ones form. Like 11 Birthdays, it also explores the dynamic of boy/girl friendship.
5. Contains a complex puzzle storyline
1. Minli is proactive. This is her journey, and she takes matters into her own hands, rather than complain.
2. Minli is smart, spunky, courageous and exhibits ingenuity and imagination
3. The story is a fairy tale epic, reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz, and interweaves various Chinese Folk Tales
4. There is a deeper meaning to the story, and it contains lessons about hope, happiness, and the bonds of family.
5. It is a visually beautiful book.
1.Calpurnia is a Science-minded girl
1. The girls are from different cultural, racial, religious and family backgrounds, reflecting today’s society.
2. Each girl has her own voice in the story, told through a different medium
3. Deals with situations relevant to girls- cliques, mean girls, the desire to fit in. Chick-lit with substance
4. Contains good lessons about tolerance and passing judgment on others
5. Breaks stereotypes- a computer wiz girl, and an aspiring film director character
Category 2- Middle School Grades 6-8
1. Realistic, and three dimensional girls with different personalities.
2. Deals with relevant issues to niddle-school girls- popularity,cliques, self-image, parents splitting up, perfect older siblings, etc…
3. The Sisterhood is legendary- they aspire to be them, but are not them, and are not the same.
4. More realistic than Sisterhood- the girls have to work at staying friends, and learn valuable lessons about the nature of true friendship
5. All 3 girls are smart, strong girls, who don’t always make the right choices, but learn from them in the end.
1. Authentic portrayal of young teen relationships with peers and boys
2. Good messages about body image
3. Main character demonstrates perseverance, creativity, and ingenuity. Good messages about working hard to achieve goals.
4. Humorous- it’s fluffy and it’s chick lit, but a departure from the “lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” books. Francie has more depth to her.
5. Main character is smart, and creative, and works hard at her baking, treating it as a business.
1. Both books fall under “smart princess” stories
2. Both girls decide to take charge their own destiny, instead of accepting the one given to them.
3. Feature girls in non-traditional roles.
4. The girls make their own choices about getting married- it is on their own terms and own time.
5. Contain messages about courage, perseverance, compassion, and leadership.
2. Rich in detail and language- beautifully written
3. Incorporates subtext about classes while avoiding stereotypes and raises questions about the uneven nature of friendship.
4. Based on a tale from Brother’s Grimm called Maid Maleen with a medieval Mongolian setting.
5. Heroine never gives up, and retains her belief in herself and the goodness of others no matter what misfortune befalls them. A powerful message.
1. Eonais fierce heroine, but also has realistic fears and shortcomings- she’s a kick-butt heroine with flaws.
2. Book is inspired by history of ancient China and Japan, and the Chinese Zodiac. Good extension lessons
3. Themes of embracing your true self, and empowering women in a male centric world
4. Explores non-traditional gender roles
5. Female hero’s quest novel
1. Frankie is a kick butt kind of heroine-she’s smart, sassy, shrewd, and is unwilling to follow the rules set out by boys
2. She turns the tables on the boys, and outsmarts them at every turn
3. Challenges girls images of themselves and their relationship to boys
4. Witty and smart writing, clever wordplay
5. Good messages about daring to be yourself, to stand up for yourself, and to step outside of your comfort zone. Good role model for girls
Category 3- Teen
1. Katsaand Fire are strong heroines, who learn to stand up for themselves and find the freedom to choose their own paths
2. Multi-layered, realistic and complex heroines who face and overcome obstacles
3. Challenges accepted roles for women- do not end up at the altar and marry the prince. Make their own choices and set their own terms, but still find love and happiness
4. Raises questions about gender politics and reactions to beauty
5. Both are highly complex fantasies with enough romance and intrigue to keep girls interested
1. Lucy is a realistic and likeable heroine- She is smart and strong, but fallible.
2. It’s a story about positive relationships- between a daughter and parents, and a rock solid guy.
3. It’s inspired by the ballad Scarborough Fair, which allows for comparisons studying the ballad
4. Strong messages about the power of love, loyalty and devotion to help achieve the impossible
5. Engaging and well-written
1. Heroines are easy to relate to- smart, independent, opinionated, no-nonsense,
2. Both heroines are proactive, and not damsel in distress. (Grace more so than Nora)
3. Both books examine different mythologies- Fallen Angels in Hush, Hush and Were lore in Shiver
4. Shiver in particular has beautiful, descriptive writing
5. Both books contain all of the elements that make paranormal romance so appealing, and have that star-crossed lovers sensibility
1. Before the accident, Mia is on the threshold of adulthood, faced with difficult choices about her future. Teens- particularly those looking at post-secondary education choices will relate
2. Deals with heavy emotional choices. If the people you love most are gone, and you have the choice, do you choose life?
3. Uses the theme of music as a way of connecting and relating to others
4. The parents are quirky, but not dysfunctional. Mia is the conservative one with a love of classical while her parents have a rebellious, punk-rock background, and the family is close.
5. it’s incredibly moving and beautiful, and perfect for girls who want a weeper. But not cheesy. A powerful book in a small package