Packed full of award-winning authors and classic favorites, this booklist is the perfect reading guide for elementary-aged girls. Grade school is a time for girls to begin the process of establishing their identities as students, as friends, as classmates and as strong, confident females. This recommended reading list ensures hours of enjoyment and encourages the life-long love of reading. Help your daughter open her eyes to self-discovery by simply opening the pages of these books.
Sally Jean, Bicycle Queen
by Cari Best
Sally Jean and Flash, her bicycle, are just about best friends! Until something happens that shakes up their relationship: Sally Jean outgrows Flash. Cheer on Sally Jean (and find out what happens to Flash!) on her wild ride from the backseat of her mom’s cycle to her brand new big-kid bike.
Winners Never Quit
by Mia Hamm
American Olympian turned award-winning author Mia Hamm goes for the gold with this energetic book full of perseverance and teeming with teamwork. Mia, a young girl who hates losing, comes to realize the age-old ideal that winning and losing are second place to being a good teammate. Thompson’s drawings are full of pep and add spunk to the already-motivating book.
Seven Chinese Sisters
by Kathy Tucker
Tucker’s take on an old Chinese folktale tells the story of seven sisters born with their own individual talents. When the youngest is snatched away by a hungry dragon, the others resourcefully combine their talents and work together to retrieve their baby sister. Lin expands the feminist read-aloud with intricately detailed pictures including lovely landscapes and a kid-friendly dragon.
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink
by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple
There are many different kinds of princesses; which one are you? Mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Yolen Stemple team up to share this important message to girls: you have unlimited potential to be any kind of princess you want to be. The simplicity and charm of the illustrations couples with the empowering rhymes and verses to modestly advocate stereotype-free “royalty.”
by David Elliott
Quirky, comical and unique are just a few ways to describe Evangeline Mudd. Her loving—albeit unusual—parents adopted their child-rearing skills from the animals they study: monkeys! When her parents don’t return from a research mission, Evangeline takes matters into her own hands (and feet) as she fearlessly searches for them. Monkey around with Evangeline on her quest to find her parents and enjoy this wildly fun “tail.”
by Wendy Orr
An iguana, a sea lion, a dad and e-mail … what else could a girl possibly need? Meet Nim: daughter of a renowned scientist living on a remote island with pets and pen pals (via e-mail) for friends. Autonomously confident and skillfully savvy, Nim mimics a modern-day Robinson Crusoe and isn’t afraid or lonely when her father leaves her for a three-day trip to study plankton. When her father’s communication is disabled, it’s up to her and her author pen pal to avoid disaster. Kids everywhere will admire this strong female role model as the book (and Nim) gains a gripping momentum.
Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls
by Jane Yolen
Yolen’s lively folktales feature thirteen brave and cunning women from around the world with their sights set on success. From Yolen’s introduction (an open letter to her daughter and granddaughters) to her bibliography at the end, the book is engaging for all readers and likely a favorite to reread. Each inspiring story is a read-aloud in itself, and the inspiring collection is just what girls need to encourage brains, brawn and bravery in their own lives.
Girls A to Z
by Eve Bunting
From Aliki the astronaut to Zoe the zookeeper, Bunting’s alphabet book encourages girls of all backgrounds to follow their dreams. Bunting incorporates rhyming, wordplay and alliteration, while Bloom manages to create a captivating collection of vibrant and inspiring images. This book, especially the last page, motivates all children to be the best “me” they can be in order to unleash their potential and achieve their goals.
by Anne Isaacs
Winner of several literary awards, Issacs and Zelinsky team up to tell a tall tale set on the American frontier. From wrestling bears to lassoing tornados, swamp angel Angelica Longrider is just about the greatest woodswoman Tennessee has ever seen. The valiant heroine, who is known to swallow an entire lake in one gulp, will have girls everywhere laughing as they mimic her exaggerated actions, and the breathtaking folk-art paintings of Zelinsky will leave any reader in awe.
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman
by Kathleen Krull
Wilma Rudolph was told she’d never walk again—which ignited a life-long fight to do just that. With a paralyzed leg at the young age of five , polio-stricken Wilma Rudolph promised herself that she’d not only walk, she’d run. And she did. In fact, she ran her way to three gold medals in a single Olympiad. Get a glimpse into American Olympian Wilma Rudolph’s life, where her spirit, determination and belief in herself helped her overcome immense adversity and gave her a second chance at achieving her goals. David Diaz’s stunning illustrations feature thick black outlines and a stained-glass feeling that adds a rich and elegant texture.
Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women who won the World Championship
by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan
Play ball! Rappaport’s inspiring book about the 1946 All-American Girls Professional Baseball League championship game shares the invigorating experience of women’s baseball through the eyes of a fictional young girl, Maggie. Based on written accounts and interviews from the players themselves, this action-packed tale with heartwarming, penciled pictures celebrates scabby-kneed girls everywhere.
The Talented Clementine
by Sara Pennypacker
Clementine can’t sing. She can’t dance or play an instrument. She can’t even hop! So what is she supposed to do for the big talent show—especially when her perfect best friend, Margaret, has more talents than she can count? In true Clementine fashion, Frazee adds clumsy but charming illustrations that accentuate Clementine’s true persona. Find out how Clementine pleasantly surprises everyone (including herself) with an unmatchable, but in-character talent. You might even discover a fun and unique talent of your own!
The Courage of Sarah Noble
by Alice Dalgliesh
“Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble,” were the words her mother repeated, but Sarah couldn’t help but fear leaving her family in Massachusetts to travel with her father into the wilderness. This true story takes place in 1707 and follows Sarah Noble and her father on their quest to build a new home for their family. Feeling brave turns out to be very hard! Eight-year-old Sarah cares for her father and befriends the Indians as she learns that balancing fear and bravery might be the most courageous thing of all. Perfect for history-loving kids who are transitioning to chapter books, Dalgliesh’s story flows beautifully without overwhelming the emerging chapter-book reader.
Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are best friends, so why is it more scary than exciting when Ellen moves in and pretends to be part of the Johansen family? Because it is 1943 and Ellen is Jewish. Lowry fictionalizes a common European reality during World War II through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie as her family risks everything to save her best friend’s family. Referencing historically accurate events, utilizing completely relatable and captivating characters and absorbing readers in a strong, heroic plot line, Lowry ensures that “Number the Stars” will forever be a powerful, must-read account of the resistance in Nazi-occupied Denmark.
by Beverly Cleary
Cleary’s classic series is as relevant now as it was when it was first published. Enter the mind of third-grader Ramona Quimby as she survives every minute of family, friends and school. Sketched pictures reflect the quirky storylines, but leave much to the imagination. You can’t help but love Ramona, despite her claims that her family life and school life are not as easy as she expected.
Childhood of Young Americans (Series)
Perfect for elementary students, the Childhood of Young Americans series is easily one of the most popular book series for young children. Young girls will be swept away by history as they delve into the fictionalized biographies of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sacagawea, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart and several other women who’ve irreversibly contributed to American history and culture. Celebrate women and American history with easy-to-read, impressive books.
Akiko on the Planet Smoo
by Mark Crilley
“Akiko” is a fast-paced, yet easy-to-follow fantastical saga of a young girl as she navigates the adventure of a lifetime. When she eyes a mysterious spacecraft from the planet Smoo outside of her window, Akiko courageously accepts the challenge of the team leader in the search for the King of Smoo’s kidnapped son. Join Akiko in her brave and fascinating expedition and enjoy this powerful reversed-gender-role fairy tale.
The City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau
The underground city of Ember is the human race’s last hope for survival. With no natural light and only a faint recollection of the past, citizens are content believing that the stocked storerooms in the city of Ember are all they need to comfortably survive … until the lights fail and the storeroom shelves are empty. Now, it’s up to Lina and Doon, two teens in Ember, to find a way out using only a cryptic message inscribed on an ancient, tattered paper. When you catch your breath at the end of this book, you’ll be begging for a sequel!
Becoming Naomi Leon
by Pam Munoz Ryan
According to her peers, Naomi Leon is “nobody special,” but according to her gram, with a little bit of positive thinking, most problems can be defeated. Between school life and her mother’s reappearance after a seven-year hiatus, Naomi is trapped in a time of confusion and questions, only to be answered by discovering and accepting who she really is. Share her determination and experience her journey as she becomes the Naomi she sets out to find.
by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time, and “Matilda” serves as a perfect example of why. Meet Matilda, a teacher’s pet respected and loved by all … except the Trunchbull (school principal) and her family. While Matilda pines for a better home life, she discovers magical powers that make her life much more exciting, and in the end, gets her wish. Uproariously funny and magically witty, “Matilda” is a bookshelf staple for young girls.