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Old 02-26-2012, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some of my mom friends and I were discussing this -- many of our second graders have recently finished the Harry Potter series and LOVE it, both boys and girls. We are all scrounging around looking for other series to read, and HP is a tough act to follow. Then we were trying to come up with series that have girl protagonists. Other than Little House and Harriet the Spy, I haven't come up with a lot. Ideally we want books that are still gender-neutral in content (so, say, not fairies), and similar to HP in difficulty (so Clementine is too easy). Any ideas for us?

thanks,

-e


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Old 02-26-2012, 09:46 PM
 
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The whole Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.

Anne of Green Gables

Pippi Longstocking

The Wrinkle in Time series

Dear America series

 

Not specifically girls, but my dd really likes the Warrior Cat books. I like them because males and females are equally powerful and both are warriors.

 

Single books

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (single book)

The Secret Garden

 

The American Girl stories aren't exactly gender neutral but my dd likes them. They're decently written, have a good bit of history and have strong girl characters. And it's perfectly possible to read the books without buying into the dolls!

 

 

 


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Old 02-27-2012, 12:17 AM
 
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In addition to the ones above - DD 2nd grade read or has been reading these 

 

The Penderwicks (3 in the series)

Ruby Lu series

Trixie Belden

Ronia the Robber's Daughter

The Willoughbys

The Moffats

Princess Academy

Ida B

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Old 02-27-2012, 04:44 AM
 
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How about Madeline? I loved that book when I was a child and the illustrations were always so colourful and appealing. You could also try Heidi...but that's more of a one-off book. Enid Blyton wrote series which involved boys and girls (off the top of my head)...He also wrote The Naughtiest Girl series, which is always good fun ;)

 

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Old 02-27-2012, 06:00 AM
 
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Nancy Drew? I loved them when I was a kid, but I don't know what reading level they are or anything.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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series with girl protagonists:

the May Bird series by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Birchbark House and sequels by Louise Erdrich

the Borrowers series

 

series with a mix of girl and boy protagonists (with girls not shown as inferior to the boys):

the Mysterious Benedict Society series

the Swallows and Amazons series

 

Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series starts out with a girl as the protagonist, but in the later books other characters, both male and female, many of them adult, become more important.

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Old 02-27-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. I haven't read the sequels, so I'm not sure if the girls remain the central characters. 

 

 

The City of Ember by Jeanne duPrau has a strong female protagonist (paired with a boy). There are sequels and prequels, but  I'm afraid that they aren't as good as the first book. 

 

Some of the Stravaganza books by Mary Hoffman (starting with City of Masks) have a female lead, but they all have strong females in prominent roles - remarkable given that they are set in an alternate 16th century Italy, as well as current 21st century England. 

 

Does it have to be series? Eva Ibbotson writes wonderful books with strong female protagonists, but I think they are all standalones (here's a few): 

 

Journey to the River Sea

The Star of Kazan

The Countess Below Stairs 

 

Again, not a series, but if you are open to a theme, instead of avoiding fairy tales, why not read some of the really excellent revised fairy tales with strong female leads - 

 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The Fairy's Return by Gail Carson Levine (short stories)

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (and sequels) 

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner

12 Impossible Things Before Breakfast by Jane Yolen (more short stories)

 

If they are managing Harry Potter, then they may like these books that were written for older children/young adults: 

 

The Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman has a strong female lead in the first book, The Golden Compass. In the second and third books, a male character becomes more prominent. It isn't really second grade material, but then neither is Harry Potter. 

 

The Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix (SabrielLirael and Abhorsen) is another good fantasy series, but originally written for teens. 

 

The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody

 

 

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Old 02-27-2012, 09:01 AM
 
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Just thought of a couple more series -

 

The Enola Holmes (Sherlock's much younger sister) mysteries by Nancy Springer. I've heard good things about them but haven't read them myself. I've been meaning to try them but keep forgetting. I think I will head over to my library's website and finally put a couple on hold. 

 

The Skulduggery Pleasant novels by Derek Landy. A fiesty teen girl who takes the name Valkyrie Cain battles ancient magical evil, with the help/mentoring of a skeleton detective. 

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Old 02-27-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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The Tamora Pierce Alanna series about a young girl who wants to be a knight (and many of T.Pierce's books in general). The Hero and The Crown and the Blue Sword (Robin McKinley, who has a bunch of books with female protagonists)


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Old 02-27-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wishin'&hopin' View Post

The Tamora Pierce Alanna series about a young girl who wants to be a knight (and many of T.Pierce's books in general). The Hero and The Crown and the Blue Sword (Robin McKinley, who has a bunch of books with female protagonists)



The Tamora Pierce books are wonderful books for an older child, they deal with menstruation and sex starting in book one which may not be something you want to work through with your second grader and is really not something I would suggest springing on a child without having talked about it first.  The series is wonderful though and I definitely recommend it once you are ready for your child to delve into that kind of subject matter.

 

Patricia Wrede and E.D. Baker wrote a great girl series with fantasy and adventure.

My dd likes the Piper Reid books a lot, the American Girl series (they are actually written at 3rd to 4th grade level so may be a little easy but still fun), Nancy Drew, and Rick Riordan (though only his recent books has some girl character development an it is still mostly a boy centered book). 

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Old 02-27-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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Didn't catch that these were rec for a second grader!  I just read Harry Potter and assumed the OP had an older tween :)


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Old 02-27-2012, 03:30 PM
 
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The Fablehaven series has both a male and a female protagonist. Though the female takes the primary heroine role in the first one, with her brother getting more equal share of the glory as the series progresses.


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Old 02-28-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of these great suggestions! Most of them are new to me. Can't wait to go to the library! -e


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Old 04-13-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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I just found this website today - http://www.amightygirl.com/. What do you think?

 

I'm not familiar with that many of the titles but love the idea of a go to place to find great books with strong female characters.


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Old 04-13-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

I just found this website today - http://www.amightygirl.com/. What do you think?

 

I'm not familiar with that many of the titles but love the idea of a go to place to find great books with strong female characters.


Looks pretty good, at least for a start. I imagine the minor hiccups I noticed are mostly because they have only just launched. There's an odd incongruence between the book and movie lists. You would think that if a title is on the movie list (e.g. Nim's Island, The Color Purple, Whale Rider), it would also appear on the book list. Both lists seem incomplete e.g - why choose Jerry Spinelli's There's a Girl in My Hammerlock but not the much-beloved Stargirl? It will be worth checking back in a couple of months to see how much they grow. 

 

ETA: Another thought I had while skimming the titles - my impression is that they've chosen "safe", relatively non-controversial titles. Since it looks like they just started on the lists, that may not be a fair assessment. It would be nice if they provided an explanation of their selection criteria and how they will decide if a title will make the list. The first blog post suggests that the main protagonist (not the sidekick) must be female, which will likely exclude some excellent books (and possibly explains why the aforementioned Stargirl didn't make the cut). There's no other information about selection criteria and editorial policy, which may be problematic in the future if there is a controversy over a selection. 

 

 

 

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Old 04-13-2012, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

 

The Enola Holmes (Sherlock's much younger sister) mysteries by Nancy Springer. I've heard good things about them but haven't read them myself. I've been meaning to try them but keep forgetting. I think I will head over to my library's website and finally put a couple on hold. 

 

 


I read the first in the series.  It's quite good in terms of proffering a strong, quick-witted teen girl who outwits the bad guys AND Sherlock Holmes. There's lots of interesting historical information and insight into the lives of women and the legal, political, economic and social restrictions they endured in the 19th century, without feeling like too much lecturing was going on. The story has some action and some fun challenges - there are some ciphers that the reader can try to solve. 

 

Just a couple of notes, in case a younger child wants to read it - one of the mysteries that Enola needs to solve is the disappearance of her mother, which may be disturbing in an AP family. Also, the first chapter is a little harsh in describing the gritty side of London, including prostitutes and the dangers they face, with a brief reference to a disturbing murder. 

 

 

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Old 04-14-2012, 04:54 PM
 
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The Chronicles of Narnia series has a sibling group as protagonists - two boys and two girls.  Some of the books have other main characters, it always seems to be a boy and girl as friends working together.  My 2nd grader loves these.  I read out loud to him.  We are up to the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 


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Old 04-14-2012, 05:52 PM
 
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Pippi Longstocking

American Girl.


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Old 04-15-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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JollyGG, thanks for posting that site! It definitely looks like a good jumping-off point, and had a lot of titles I've never heard of. I hope they continue to organize and develop it!

-e


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Old 04-16-2012, 11:20 PM
 
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Ivy and Bean series, by Annie Burrows-- early chapter books about two unlikely best friends. Well-written and good for grade 2-ish kids. Easy reads.

Theodosia series, by R.A. LaFevers-- longer and more challenging. Ancient Egypt, Edwardian London, intelligent and brave girl is the main character. Quirky, well-written and exciting stories.

Raider's Ransom, and the sequel Flood and Fire, by Emily Diamand. Just awesome. Love these books.

 

My son is eight (almost) and a Rick Riordan and Harry Potter fan...

I just blogged about our favorite books series: http://www.robinstevenson.com/wordpress/2012/04/09/top-ten-book-series-for-kids/

but now I am realizing that other than the last two I mentioned here, most have boy protagonists. Hmmm... thinking hard....

 

Wrinkle In Time (and sequels) by Madeleine L'Engle.

Mysterious Benedict Society-- 4 main characters, 2 boys and 2 girls.

Wee Free Men- Terry Pratchett

The Windsinger (and sequels)- William Nicholson

Mathilda- Roald Dahl

 

 

 


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Old 04-20-2012, 10:08 AM
 
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Surprised nobody has mentioned 'The Sister's Eight' By Lauren Baratz-Logsted (with Greg and Jackie Logsted).

It's a mystery 'octology' about octuplet almost 8 year old girls. My daughter and I are loving them...  

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Old 04-20-2012, 11:38 PM
 
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Someone already mentioned Tamora Pierce's "Song of the Lioness" series, and while I think it's appropriate for a second-grader, that's just me (and IRL I'm kind of notorious for my "strange" ideas of age-appropriateness).  Anyway, Tamora Pierce also wrote the "Circle of Magic" series, which doesn't talk about menstruation or sex.  There's some violence, but it's not extremely graphic or anything.  Basic sum-up of the series: four kids (3 girls and 1 boy, all about 10-11 years old) turn out to be mages and are sent to a temple to learn how to use their magic.  One thing I really liked about the series is that the kids are raised by two women (who they reffer to as their "foster-mothers" in the second series).  Another really great thing about the series is that the kids all come from different walks of life, and they all become friends even though they have a bit of a culture clash when they first meet.

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