A Strong Female Lead: Early Chapter Books
While many books do have a main girl character or a main boy character, I firmly believe that there is no such thing as 'girl books' and 'boy books.' These labels just end up selling books and their readers short. By labeling books like this we end up limiting young readers by not encouraging them to read widely, to engage with characters unlike themselves, and to learn from their stories. That being said, sometimes it seems very difficult to find books with what Netflix likes to categorize as a "strong female lead."
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
What I love about Bink and Gollie is not that they are just best friends, but that they are the epitome of what being a best friend is all about. They are real best friends. They have their ups and their downs, they certainly have their own passions and dislikes, but most important they love and care about each other. Even when they don't get along and they struggle to find middle ground they both know they have a bond that runs deep, and even if they don't have the same taste in socks, they are confident enough in their friendship to know that's okay. Whether you are a wild and free Bink or a more serious and driven Gollie, or you fall somewhere in between you will fall in love with these two girls, their adventures, and their kindness for one another. May all Binks find their Gollie and Gollies find their Bink!
Sophie's Snail by Dick King-Smith
Author Dick King-Smith is, in my opinion, a giant of children's fiction. The author of Babe: The Gallant Pig and The Three Terrible Trins, is never one to underestimate a child's intelligence or character. His clear, well- structured writing pushes his readers just the right amount by using a complex and varied sentence structure which gives young readers an amazing introduction to the beauties of fiction at its best. Sophie's Snail is the first book in his Sophie series and a book not to miss. Sophie is a smart and carrying little girl with a true love of animals. Sophie holds a large place in my heart because of her sureness of self. One morning at breakfast she informs her family that she is going to be a farmer when she grows up, to which her twin brothers promptly respond that she can't because she is a girl. Now, many might be a little stymied but such a blunt rebuff, but not Sophie. Sophie simply responds that, "I'm going to be a lady farmer. So there." I think Sophie serves as a great example to young girls (and boys) who may meet with such quick dismissal of their dreams.
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter
In Piper Green, Ellen Potter has created a character who realistically portrays emotions. Piper misses her older brother when he heads off to boarding school (they live on a small island with no high school), and so she starts wearing his old ear muffs around. I love this! I love that Piper finds her own way to make herself feel
better about missing her older bro. But then, disaster strikes on the first day of school when she is asked to take off the ear muffs in class because they are a distraction. So what does young Piper do? She doubles down! Follow Piper as she navigates how to deal with her emotions (and their repercussions when they cause her to step out of line). Plus, her family is hilarious! Piper Green and the Fairy Tree is the first book in the Piper Green series.