From the time we were children, bedtime stories usually comprised of princesses who are in danger and need a prince to rescue them, damsels imprisoned in tall towers by witches and a happily ever after ending that featured the prince and princess walking into the sunset. Rarely did we read a picture book that had gutsy girls who could do anything or strong women characters who took on the world. But there are many thought-provoking and enjoyable books for little girls, which have unusual heroines who definitely do not believe in the conventional. These are fun and magical and make great gifts too. Here is our pick --
1. The Paper Bag Princess
Author: Robert Munsch
Publisher: Annick Press
Ages: 4 - 6 Years
Who says that a princess must be rescued by a prince? Elizabeth, a brave princess dupes a fire-breathing dragon to rescue her loving beau. When her ungrateful prince is bothered by her dishevelled hair and paper bag dress, she knows that there will be no happily ever after in her story. Your little one will admire the story of this novel princess, who is anything but a damsel in distress. This book will make a great gift for girls to show them that they can be fearless.
2. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps
Author: Jeanette Winter
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Ages: 4-8 years
Little girls can get inspired by the extraordinary life of renowned conservationist Jane Goodall through this charming picture book. It traces her life as a little girl in England and her journey to the African forests, where she crusaded for chimpanzees on the brink of extinction. All young animal lovers will be fascinated by her dedication to the animals and will love the depiction of her life in the book.
3. Not all Princesses Dress in Pink
Author: Jane Yolen, Heidi Elizabeth Yolen and Anne-Sophie Lanquetin (illustrator)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Ages: 3-6 years
This lovely book reiterates the theme of feminism while making a point that girls can do anything and that they have immense potential to make a path for themselves. The book features unconventional girls who climb trees, play in the mud, love playing sports and making a mess, while also debunking clichés like all princesses should wear pink. The book, which has lovely illustrations that add to its charm, also encourages little girls to
Author: Ludwig Bemelmans
Publisher: Viking Press
Ages: 3-7 years
This is a classic picture book for girls that never goes out of favour. Even after more than seven decades of being published, it still remains a favourite. It is the story of a seven-year-old girl, who lives in a Catholic boarding house in Paris with 11 other girls. She is a redhead and not afraid of anything -- not even tigers and hospitals. The story captures her adventures and how she has to go to the hospital when she has a ruptured appendix. Brave as she is, Madeline sails through it all. The book had subsequent sequels about the little girl's various escapades.
5. Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Ages: 10-13 years
This charming memoir, which has won many accolades talks about the author’s life and experiences growing up as an African-American girl in South Carolina and in New York. Written beautifully in the form of poems, this is a bitter-sweet book about friendships, family and growing up. A good book for preteens and early teens, girls with identify with the beautiful imagery and powerful narration.
6. The Story of my Life
Author: Helen Keller
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Ages: 11 and above
Many of us are familiar with the remarkable and inspiring life of social activist and the champion of people with disabilities, who lost her ability to see and hear at nineteen months, because of an illness. This autobiography was written by Helen when she was in her 20s and studying at Radcliff College and talks about her early memories as a child and about the training she received from her teacher Anne Sullivan, to communicate. This book will inspire girls to overcome difficulties and triumph against all odds.