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More Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls

Posted by Jen Robinson on July 20, 2009 at 6:00 AM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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Last week I suggested several current series with adventurous girl protagonists. Commenters to that post pointed out a few notable oversights, and I'd like to share those this week.

sistersgrimm.jpgMichael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series was suggested by both Stephanie and Laura. I actually had this series on my mental list at one point, and then neglected to include it. I've only read the first two books (reviews here: The Fairy Tale Detectives and The Unusual Suspects), but there are seven books available. This is an excellent series for elementary school readers. It features two sisters who find themselves in the family business of investigating criminal behavior among the EverAfters (fairy tale characters living real lives in a particular town). The irrepressible Puck was my favorite character from the first book, The Fairy Tale Detectives. They're lovely hardcovers, too, excellent gift books.

YoungWizards.jpgDiane Duane's Young Wizards series (currently at eight books, with a ninth expected in 2010), was recommended by Deva Fagan. This series actually has two primary protagonists, a boy and a girl who are wizard partners in a society that lies hidden within our own. The presence of a very strong younger sister character makes this series definitely qualify for inclusion. Nita, Dairine, and Kit are all among my favorite characters. This is a series in which the magic is relatively mathematical, and in which real-life family dynamics play a strong part, too. As with many series, the books do get a bit darker as the series progresses, with the later books more suited to middle school and up than elementary school. The only one that I've reviewed is the most recent, Wizards at War, because I read the other books before starting my blog. (And, in fact, this series is one that kept me reading YA as an adult, even when I wasn't blogging.) The first book is So You Want to Be a Wizard, in which Nita discovers a wizard's manual, and is partnered with Kit.

200px-Sandry's_book.jpgDeva and My Boaz's Ruth also both recommended Tamora Pierce's books (specifically, the Protector of the Small and the Circle of Magic series). I hadn't included Pierce because I think of her books more as straight-up YA, but Deva and Ruth both remind me that these series start with the characters around 10 or so. The only Pierce title that I've reviewed is Wild Magic (#1 in the Immortals Quartet). But I have read the first Circle of Magic book, Sandry's Book. The first book in the Protector of the Small series is First Test. Tamora Pierce is known for writing about strong female characters, and her books are huge hits with teen readers. I personally tend more towards fantasy that is set in and around our modern world, rather than your knights and castles sort of fantasy, which is why I haven't read more of these. But I have read enough to feel quite comfortable recommending these books.

My Boaz's Ruth also mentioned several older titles that feature strong girls (Trixie Belden, etc.). This reminded me of a list that I created on my blog in 2006, 200 Cool Girls of Children's Literature. I started with a list of a few girls from children's literature who I thought were smart, brave, strong, and independent. With the help of many, many reader suggestions, I eventually collected a list of more than 200 cool girls. I later added a Cool Boys list, now at about 175 or so. Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading were inspired to create their own list, of 100 Cool Teachers of Children's Literature, which is delightful. And TheBookDragon collects "Great and/or Infamous Librarians in Children's and YA Literature" in her sidebar. One day, I'll find time to update the Cool Girl and Boy lists with my discoveries from the past three years. Meanwhile, I thought that I would share the links here, in case any of you find them useful.

8 Comments

Just what I was looking for - Thanks!

Jen RobinsonAuthor Profile Page writes...

Happy to help, Mariah! I'm glad that you liked the list.

Chocolatezen writes...

I loved all of these books. Great picks.

Jen RobinsonAuthor Profile Page writes...

Thanks, Chocolatezen! I'm so glad that you liked the selections (and what a great commenting name you have!)

Dreadful Penny writes...

How about Julie and the Wolves by Jean Craighead George? A classic of girl-vs.-wilderness adventure, and there are two sequels that almost make it a series.

Jen RobinsonAuthor Profile Page writes...

I must admit that I haven't read those books, Penny. But they certainly fit the bill as far as "adventure". Thanks for the suggestion!

Paige Y. writes...

We have the Sisters Grimm books in my middle school media center and they are very popular with my 6th graders (I love them too!)

Jen RobinsonAuthor Profile Page writes...

Thanks for the real-world validation of this series, Paige. I enjoyed the two that I read, but for some reason was never inspired to keep going (I think that the reason might have to do with my hundreds of other unread books, though...). Glad to hear that they hold up well with kids.

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