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Beloved Books: 50 Classic Mighty Girl Stories

Mighty Girl classics beloved by generations of young readers!

While hundreds of wonderful new Mighty Girl books are published every year, there are also many girl-empowering stories that have been passed down for decades! Times may have changed, but these classic characters still speak to the girls of today just as they did to their mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers! With that in mind, we're showcasing our favorite classic Mighty Girl stories in this blog post. These are books that you’re likely to remember from your own childhood — in fact, you may have even been first introduced to them because an adult you know loved them as as child!

In the first section, we've highlighted classic stories written before 1950, many of which remain immensely popular decades after their publication. In the second section, we've featured modern classics written between 1950 and 1990. These modern classics show the changes in the way Western culture viewed girls and women with the Mighty Girls in these pages tackling difficult social issues, going on hitherto unimagined adventures, and daring to define themselves in daring ways. And, more and more, girls being portrayed in strong leadership roles is no longer considered unusual — that's just the way Mighty Girls are!

So take a look at our collection and see if your favorite Mighty Girl book from your own childhood is on here. One way or another, it’s sure to spur you to share a few with the Mighty Girls in your life. After all, one of the great joys of a beloved book is having the opportunity to share it with a new generation!

Of course, the books featured in this post are only a handful of the many Mighty Girl books available. To browse our collection of over 3,000 girl-empowering books for children and teens, sortable by recommended reading age and theme, visit our Books section.

Loved for Generations: Mighty Girl Classics

Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal

Written by: Robert McCloskey
Recommended Age: 3 - 7

In this classic Mighty Girl picture book, a little girl named Sal heads out with her mother to pick blueberries — right around the time a little bear cub and his mother do the same! Thanks to a pair of youngsters who are paying more attention to the sweet blueberries than to where they’re going, the two families get mixed up, and soon it’s Sal tailing the mother bear and the bear cub following Sal’s mom. Fortunately, in the end two children — with very full tummies — end up in their homes where they belong. This Caldecott Honor book has been a favorite since 1949, so it’s perfect for introducing to yet another generation.

Madeline

Madeline

Written by: Ludwig Bemelmans
Illustrated by: Ludwig Bemelmans
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

In a Catholic boarding school in Paris live “twelve little girls in two straight lines,” and Madeline, the smallest of them, is the one with the biggest personality. Madeline is brave enough to sniff at mice, wave off the tiger at the zoo — and handle an emergency trip to the hospital in the middle of the night, only to return with a brand new appendectomy scar as proof of her adventures! This Caldecott Honor book is the first of Madeline’s exciting adventures. Fans of Madeline will want to check out A Madeline Treasury: The Original Stories by Ludwig Bemelmans, a collection of all six Madeline stories plus special behind-the-scenes looks at Bemelmans’ family and creation of this beloved character. For more Madeline books and other Madeline-related items, visit our Madeline Collection.

Twig

Twig

Written by: Elizabeth Orton Jones
Illustrated by: Elizabeth Orton Jones
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

Where most people only see dandelions and dirt, imaginative Twig sees a whole world in her backyard, complete with companions Old Girl (the cat), Old Boy (the ice-cart horse), and the Sparrows. When she finds an empty tomato can, Twig has a brilliant idea: she’ll turn it into a little house, just perfect for a fairy! Soon, a tiny boy named Elf shows up, and with a little fairy magic, Twig gets shrunk to his size so the pair of them can go on an adventure in fairyland. This heart-warming story celebrates the incredible power of a child's imagination in a way that feels like it could still happen today.

Betsy-Tacy

Betsy-Tacy

Written by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Illustrated by: Lois Lenski
Recommended Age: 6 - 11

Betsy lives on a street with no other little girls — until the day Tacy moves in across the street! Soon, the two are fast friends, and so close that people stop thinking of them as two people and start thinking of them as Betsy-Tacy. Whether they’re off on real-life adventures, like the first day of school, or imaginary ones, like riding on a feather, these two friends are always there for each other. And when Tib, another little girl, moves in at the end of the year, it’s sure to mean even more adventures! This first book of a ten-book series explores both joys and sorrows, and reminds young readers of the support that friends can provide.

The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

Written by: Eleanor Estes
Illustrated by: Louis Slobodkin
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

Maddie goes to a Connecticut school where the girls love to show off their special school dresses. Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl from a shabby neighborhood, only wears one worn blue dress to school, but she swears that she has a hundred fine dresses at home, in every color and fabric. Wanda's classmates tease her mercilessly, and while Maddie doesn't join in, she doesn't say anything, either. And when Wanda’s family moves away because of the treatment they suffered in town, Maddie deeply regrets her choice and decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This Newbery Award-winning book teaches empathy and encourages children to see the power of a bystander to stand in support of a bullied peer.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Written by: Lewis Carroll
Recommended Age: 6 and up
When a girl named Alice follows a mysterious white rabbit with a pocketwatch down a rabbit hole, she discovers a curious and magical place called Wonderland! Lewis Carroll's classic story, full of memorable characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts, is just as wondrous and absorbing today as it was the day it was written. This edition includes John Tenniel's classic illustrations, which will delight longtime fans of the story. A deluxe edition of this story with bold new illustrations from Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. is available in the Puffin in Bloom Illustrated Classics Collection. For more books and other products featuring Alice and her friends, visit our Alice in Wonderland Collection.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Recommended Age: 7 - 12

Orphaned Mary Lennox is sad and lonely when she comes to her uncle’s house, and she covers her feelings by being sour and unpleasant to everyone around her. But her interest is soon piqued by the secrets the Yorkshire house conceals — and the cries she hears late at night. When she discovers an overgrown garden, walled and forgotten for years, Mary discovers a purpose: bringing life back to the desolate place. Then, she meets her sickly cousin Colin, the source of the nightly wails, and he joins her in her quest. It may be that healing the garden will heal both of the children — and perhaps a whole family.

Little House On The Prairie

Little House On The Prairie

Written by: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrated by: Garth Williams
Recommended Age: 7 - 12

Laura Ingalls' journey to Kansas in her family’s covered wagon tells a fascinating story of the day-to-day courage and determination of the families that settled the American Midwest. Whether they are building a log house, digging a well, or tending a garden they hope will sustain them through months of solitude, this story will give your Mighty Girl new perspective on the challenges that faced settlers — and how much responsibility fell on the shoulders of the Mighty Girls of the day. Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder will find her whole story in this Little House Box Set; you can find many more Little House-related items in our Laura Ingalls Collection.

Strawberry Girl

Strawberry Girl

Written by: Lois Lenski
Illustrated by: Lois Lenski
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

10-year-old Birdie Boyer knows why her family has moved to the Florida backwoods: strawberries! Despite her father's warning — "Don′t count your biddies ′fore they′re hatched!" — she can’t wait to start picking them. However, there are challenges for her family to contend with before they’ll have a harvest. Together, they face the Florida heat, droughts, and cold snaps — and most worrisome of all, competitive, possibly dangerous, neighbors. Fortunately, with a little persistence, a handful of forgiveness, and a lot of hard work, Birdie gets to enjoy her sweet strawberries in the end. With simple but vivid description, this book will make kids feel like they've stepped straight into Birdie's strawberry field.

The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin

Written by: George MacDonald
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

In this clever fantasy story, Princess Irene’s discovery of a secret staircase in the castle’s tallest turret, and the miner’s son Curdie’s accidental overhearing of a fiendish plot by two of the goblins who live under the mountain, bring them together to foil a disastrous scheme! The goblins are plotting revenge on their human neighbors, but the two friends are determined to stop them, seeking out unexpected allies and learning the goblin's weaknesses. It will take all their cleverness and courage to succeed — plus a little help from Irene’s magic ring, and a willingness to accept that, sometimes, you must believe in things you cannot see.

Heidi

Heidi

Written by: Johanna Spyri
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Heidi’s grandfather is cold and forbidding, but even he can’t remain aloof in the face of the bright, loving little girl! In fact, Heidi’s joy in life and compassion touch the hearts of everyone around her — her grandfather, Peter the goatherd, and her friend Clara are only those most affected by her caring soul. But when Heidi is sent to Frankfurt, the strict housekeeper and her terrible homesickness threaten to snuff her special spark of joy. Fortunately, wise adults realize that it's time to get her back to her beloved mountains, where her spirit of optimism will brighten many lives. This delightful story featuring an intelligent and charming Mighty Girl also captures the special connection a girl can have with a place — in this case, Heidi’s beloved mountain home. This title is one of four included in a beautiful gift set, Puffin In Bloom Illustrated Classics Collection.

The Middle Moffat

The Middle Moffat

Written by: Eleanor Estes
Illustrated by: Louis Slobodkin
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Jane Moffat doesn’t know who she is the family: not the youngest, not the oldest, just boring Jane. So she decides to reinvent herself as the mysterious “middle Moffat.” But in between secretly trying to help the town’s oldest man reach his one hundredth birthday, she has to deal with stray dogs, basketball teams, and reading every book in the library. Sometimes, it takes a lot of adventure to figure out what makes being plain old Jane so special! Any child who's wondered about their place — both within and outside their family — will sympathize with Jane's quest for an identity to call her own, and all children will enjoy watching Jane find her footing in the wider world.

Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon

Written by: L.M. Montgomery
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

When Emily’s beloved father dies, she has to go live with her stern Aunt Elizabeth at New Moon Farm. Despite Elizabeth’s stiff demeanor and the unpleasantness of her new classmates, Emily is determined to hold her head high. Fortunately, her determination and quick wit soon have her making new friends and discovering unexpected surprises. She also begins to develop her talent at writing, thanks to the help of the grouchy but supportive teacher Mr. Carpenter. Before long, Emily may just start thinking of herself as Emily of New Moon. Beloved author L.M. Montgomery's first book in a trilogy about Emily is sure to be a hit with fans of her more famous character Anne of Green Gables.

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking

Written by: Astrid Lindgren
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

In the wacky Villa Villekulla lives a very extraordinary girl! Pippi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world, lives alone with her monkey Mr. Nilsson, and her arrival is going to turn Tommy and Annika’s life upside down. Full of incredible hijinks, daring deeds, and expectation-defying adventures, any child would want to follow Pippi just to see what happens next! Fans of Pippi should also check out The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, which collects the three full-length Pippi books into one volume. You can find more Pippi books, films, and toys in our Pippi Longstocking Collection.

Mary Poppins Box Set

Mary Poppins Box Set

Written by: Dr. P. L. Travers
Illustrated by: Mary Shepard
Recommended Age: 8 and up

From the moment a mysterious woman appears at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane to take a position as a nanny, there's a little magic in the air! Only Mary Poppins can slide up a banister and turn a chalk drawing into a day at the park. This set collects four Mary Poppins adventures, Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and Mary Poppins in the Park, in paperback editions, perfect for both old and new fans. For more products featuring this popular character, visit our Mary Poppins Collection.

A Little Princess

A Little Princess

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Sara Crewe grew up the child of a wealthy father, and she's used to being treated like a princess. But when her father dies — and his wealth is suddenly lost — Sara finds her old friends and admirers have vanished, and Miss Minchin, her boarding school headmistress, forces her to work as an errand girl to cover her unpaid bills, starving her and making her stay in a freezing room in the attic. Sara, though, is convinced that was makes a girl a princess is determination, spirit, and generosity — attributes that can never be taken away. This enduring story about the power of kindness and hope still speaks to any reader who knows that what's inside one's heart is more important than any material wealth. This title is one of four included in a beautiful gift set, Puffin In Bloom Illustrated Classics Collection.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Written by: L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by: W. W. Denslow
Recommended Age: 8 and up

It all begins when a tornado sweeps Dorothy away to the magical land of Oz, a land where she’ll make the most unusual friends and have to face unexpected dangers. As Dorothy searches for the way to go home — and her companions seek the end of their own quests — she must also evade the angry Wicked Witch of the West. Everyone assures Dorothy that the Wizard can solve her problems, but perhaps it’s Dorothy herself who has the power to get back home. If you or your Mighty Girl loves Oz, you should also check out the 5-book box set and, of course, the 1939 film. For many related books, toys, and costumes, visit our Dorothy Collection.

The Secret of the Old Clock

The Secret of the Old Clock

Written by: Carolyn Keene
Recommended Age: 8 and up

Curious teenager Nancy Drew has a nose for crime — inherited from her father, a criminal defense lawyer. When a wealthy town resident dies, Nancy’s suspicions are raised: he seemingly left no will, despite having promised his struggling relatives that they would inherit, and his heirs presumptive are money-obsessed social climbers. Nancy and her friend Helen will have to be clever and courageous if they want to unravel this mystery! Fans of Nancy Drew can also get this Nancy Drew Mystery stories box set, which features the first four books of the series with new cover art — or find more Nancy Drew-related items in our Nancy Drew Collection.

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

Written by: L.M. Montgomery
Recommended Age: 9 and up

Brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decided to take in an orphan boy to help on the family farm; they’re not expecting spirited, flame-haired Anne to show up instead. But Matthew is quickly charmed by Anne’s unique personality and vivid imagination. It may be that this unexpected but loving girl will be the best thing ever to happen to their family. Fans of Anne Shirley can also check out this box set featuring all the Anne novels, as well as films, toys, and posters in our Anne of Green Gables Collection. This title is also one of four included in the beautiful gift set, Puffin In Bloom Illustrated Classics Collection.

Pollyanna

Pollyanna

Written by: Eleanor H. Porter
Recommended Age: 9 and up

Orphaned Pollyanna has nowhere to turn but to her bad-tempered aunt, but she doesn’t let her situation dull her cheerful view of life. In her new home of Beldingsville, there are many people she feels she can help with "the Glad Game," a game her father taught her to find the best in every situation, and soon she’s brightening many lives with her optimism. But when Pollyanna suffers a serious accident, her cheerful outlook is finally shaken. It may take efforts from the whole town — including formidable Aunt Polly — to help Pollyanna see the bright side of this situation, but when they do, it turns out that a little hope can be a powerful thing! Fans of this story should also check out the 2004 Masterpiece Theatre film adaptation.

Little Women

Little Women

Written by: Louisa May Alcott
Recommended Age: 10 and up

As the four March sisters are faced with the challenges of life without their father, who has gone to serve as an Army Chaplain in the Civil War, each of them has to reconcile being a socially acceptable “little woman” with her own hopes and dreams. At the center of the story is Jo, a hot-tempered aspiring writer who struggles to conform to expectations; despite her resentment and frustration, though, her love for her family shines through it all. For more books related to Little Women and its author, Louisa May Alcott, visit our Little Women Collection. This title is one of four included in the beautiful gift set, Puffin In Bloom Illustrated Classics Collection.

Helen Keller: The Story of My Life

Helen Keller: The Story of My Life

Written by: Helen Keller
Recommended Age: 11 and up

After an illness left Helen Keller blind and deaf as a child, the new silence and darkness of her world left her frightened, frustrated, and angry. Then her parents find a teacher, Anne Sullivan, willing to take on the challenge of working with her. Over time, Helen learns to finger-spell, then to write and to speak, allowing her to attend college, become a published author, and act as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. This fascinating memoir, written when Keller was 22, captures the hope and joy she felt as she learned to communicate with the world once again. For more resources about Keller's life and work, visit our Helen Keller Collection.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Written by: Jane Austen
Recommended Age: 13 and up

In the Bennet household, a family of five sisters, finding a wealthy husband might be critical to the family’s survival when Mr. Bennet passes away. But intelligent, spirited Elizabeth is less concerned about a man’s annual income than his mind and personality. She takes an immediate dislike to new arrival Mr. Darcy, no matter his wealth or appearance. But has Elizabeth been fooled by her first impression? Perhaps she's not as good a judge of character as she initially believed. This classic novel helped launch Jane Austen into fame, and today it remains one of the great novels of English literature. For more resources about this groundbreaking author, visit our Jane Austen Collection.

A Girl of the Limberlost

A Girl of the Limberlost

Written by: Gene Stratton-Porter
Recommended Age: 13 and up

Elnora lives on the banks of the Limberlost Swamp in Indiana with her embittered mother, who blames Elnora for her husband’s death while she was in childbirth. Elnora’s dream is to get an education, but her mother is determined to prevent it, and avoids earning the money Elnora needs for tuition, books, and school clothes by refusing to cut the timber on their land. Determined Elnora won’t give up, though, and finds unexpected ways to succeed — including selling natural specimens from the swamp. While she may win over her mother in the end, she'll also win something just as valuable: the confidence that comes from knowing she is a capable and talented young woman.

Jane Austen: The Complete Works

Jane Austen: The Complete Works

Written by: Jane Austen
Recommended Age: 13 and up

She is one of the most influential novelists in the English language, and the woman who changed attitudes about whether female authors — and female characters — were of literary value. Now, you can enjoy all of Austen's works — Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion, plus a volume of early writings and juvenilia — in these beautiful cloth-bound books. It's the perfect gift set for a reader who's discovering the wit, humor, and rich language of one of the world's most esteemed authors. For more resources about this groundbreaking author, visit our Jane Austen Collection.

Carrying On The Tradition: Mighty Girl Modern Classics

The Paper Bag Princess

The Paper Bag Princess

Written by: Robert N. Munsch
Illustrated by: Michael Martchenko
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

For many Mighty Girls, Elizabeth is the first independent princess they encountered between a book's pages! When Princess Elizabeth’s castle is destroyed, her fine dresses burned, and her fiance Ronald stolen by a ferocious fire-breathing dragon, she’s not going to let any of it slow her down. Donning a paper bag, she sets off to defeat the dragon with keen wit and sure determination. But how will Prince Ronald will feel about Elizabeth's daring adventure? This clever twisted fairy tale’s sense of humor and unusual ending are sure to make your Mighty Girl laugh!

Miss Twiggley’s Tree

Miss Twiggley’s Tree

Written by: Dorothea Warren Fox
Illustrated by: Dorothea Warren Fox
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

Mrs. Twiggley, the fearful woman who lives in a tree, sends her dog out to do the shopping, and hides when people visit, is a perennial topic of gossip in her small town. At best, she’s considered eccentric; at worst, utterly disgraceful. But when a hurricane begins to flood the town, the disaster forces Mrs. Twiggley to deal with her neighbors — and her neighbors to see the value in Mrs. Twiggley’s ways. A charming story about tolerance for differences and facing fears, with a very warm, happy ending, it’s sure to be a favorite.

Owl Moon

Owl Moon

Written by: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: John Schoenherr
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

Bundled in warm clothes on a cold winter night, a girl and her father go out walking and looking for owls. As Pa calls softly into the night, the pair hope that they will see an owl, but even if they don't, they'll have the pleasure of quiet time together. This winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal takes a simple activity, offered as a special treat — staying up past bedtime! — and turns it into a moment of magic. Quiet, contemplative text from author Jane Yolen and rich, soft illustrations from John Schoenherr combine to bring a sense of majesty and joy to this father-daughter adventure.

Christina Katerina and the Box

Christina Katerina and the Box

Written by: Patricia Lee Gauch
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

When their new fridge arrives, Christina Katerina is excited for a different reason than her mother: her mother gets the appliance, but she gets the box! In the mind of Christina Katerina, the possibilities are endless: a castle, a clubhouse, a race car, anything could become the start of the next game. With the help of her (sometimes) friend Fats Watson, that simple cardboard box is full of potential. Anyone who has watched — or been — a young, imaginative child given a flexible plaything will love this book, which perfectly captures the creative play of children, as well as the occasional exasperation that it brings on in parents!

Little Witch (60th Anniversary Edition)

Little Witch (60th Anniversary Edition)

Illustrated by: Helen Stone
Recommended Age: 6 - 9

You might think it's fun to be the daughter of a famous witch and be forbidden to go to school — but Minx just wishes that she were a normal little girl. So one day, she sneaks off to school, making life a little more exciting for everyone there! But Mr. Beanpot the detective and Mrs. Sputter from the Parent-Teacher Association are determined to learn the truth about this strange new student who arrived on a broomstick. This classic story is back in print for the first time in thirty years, in a new 60th anniversary edition that's perfect for sharing with a new generation!

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Written by: Patricia MacLachlan
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

For years, Anna and her little brother Caleb have lived without a mother, with Anna telling Caleb stories about a time when both their parents were around and sang every day. Then, one day, their widowed father puts an ad in the paper, seeking a wife — and Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton, of Maine, writes back. After exchanging letters, Sarah decides to come for a month to meet the family, writing, "I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall, and Tell them I sing." Now Anna and Caleb are full of anticipation. What will Sarah be like? And will she like them enough to stay? This Newbery Medal-winning book explores grief and love, and ends with a sweet celebration of a new family.

Beezus and Ramona

Beezus and Ramona

Written by: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Recommended Age: 7 - 11

Ramona doesn’t set out to be trouble, especially not to her beloved big sister, Beezus. It’s just that, once her imagination gets going, she can’t seem to stop... In this volume, Ramona takes single bites out of a whole box of apples, “accidentally” invites fifteen kindergarten classmates to a party, and antagonizes a librarian. But when she threatens to ruin Beezus’ birthday party, it’s time that Ramona — and Beezus — learn some truths about what it means to have a sister. Both older and younger sisters will appreciate this book that honestly and lovingly portrays the ups and downs of a sibling relationship. Fans of Ramona will also want to check out the Ramona Quimby Box Set, which includes all eight Ramona books.

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web

Written by: E. B. White
Illustrated by: Garth Williams
Recommended Age: 7 - 12

It all starts with a runty pig, rescued by a determined farm girl, who meets an extraordinary spider. When Wilbur realizes that the ultimate fate of most pigs is being slaughtered for meat, he and his new spider friend Charlotte set out to make Wilbur stand out. Even as their plan succeeds, though, Charlotte is aware of a sad truth: spiders don't live as long as pigs do... The story of Wilbur, Charlotte, and the compassionate Fern is considered one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. The heartfelt story about compassion, community, and celebrating — and then mourning — a friendship became an instant classic, and it’s sure to touch your own Mighty Girl just as deeply as it did its first readers. Fans of the book can also check out the live action film adaptation (age 4 and up).

Matilda

Matilda

Written by: Roald Dahl
Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
Recommended Age: 7 - 12

Smart, sensitive Matilda is stuck with a family that doesn’t appreciate her — and a headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who’s determined to break the will of every child in her school. Fortunately, her teacher, Miss Honey, sees her tremendous potential. But when it turns out that Miss Honey is just as beaten down by Miss Trunchbull as her students, Matilda is determined to see justice done. Is there a way to end Miss Trunchbull's reign of terror at the school, help Miss Honey regain her rightful inheritance, and even find a solution to Matilda's unpleasant home life? Full of Roald Dahl's trademark clever and wacky humor, this is a terrific book for reading alone or aloud. Fans of Matilda can also check out the film adaptation for age 8 and up.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Written by: E.L. Konigsburg
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

When 12-year-old Claudia who decides to run away from home, she brings her little brother Jamie along for the ride, and chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as their new home. The pair quickly settle into living secretly in the museum, but when a new exhibit arrives, the children fall into the middle of a mystery that takes them on another grand adventure — one which will make young readers look at museums in a whole different light! This Newbery Award-winning novel is a classic, suspenseful read that stands the test of time.

All-of-a-Kind Family

All-of-a-Kind Family

Written by: Sydney Taylor
Illustrated by: Helen John
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Five busy and mischievous girls are the stars of this book, which is the first of a series. It’s pre-World War I, and Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie share a single room in the apartment rented by their parents. The girls all wear matching clothes, but each of them has a distinct personality, and all of them love their imaginative adventures! Life as poor Jewish immigrants isn’t easy, but the girls barely notice as they find creative fun inn the library, the market, their Papa’s shop, and even dusting the front room of their apartment. Details about life during the early 1900s and references to Jewish traditions and holidays will fascinate young readers. Full of imagination, love, and fun, this book is sure to be a favorite.

Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter

Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter

Written by: Astrid Lindgren
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Ronia is the proud and beloved daughter of Matt, the leader of a band of robbers — but she’s most at home alone in the quiet of the forest. There, she meets Birk, the son of Matt’s rival, who also prefers time wandering the woods to life in a robber band. But when Matt discovers their friendship, Ronia will have hard decisions to make: does she side with her father or her friend... or is there a way to manage both? In addition to the wilderness adventure, kids will enjoy the intriguing questions about friendship, family, and loyalty raised by this story. Fans of Pippi Longstocking will want to check out this fun coming-of-age adventure.

Number the Stars

Number the Stars

Written by: Lois Lowry
Recommended Age: 9 and up

It’s Denmark in 1943, and word is leaking out that the Nazis intend to detain the Danish Jews before shipping them to concentration camps. 10-year-old Annemarie doesn’t know why anyone would want to hurt her neighbors, including her best friend, Ellen Rosen, who Annemarie’s family conceals as one of their own. But with the Nazis determined to root out the Jewish population, the community realizes that they have to do more. It will take the efforts of the Danish Resistance — and the entire community — to see the Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, safe on Sweden’s shores. This beautiful story of the heroism of ordinary people is sure to be thought-provoking.

The Westing Game

The Westing Game

Written by: Ellen Raskin
Recommended Age: 9 and up

Sixteen people — including one extremely smart 13-year-old girl, Turtle — are offered the opportunity to live in an exclusive condo. Shortly after, they discover that they are also invited to the reading of Sam Westing’s will, where two million dollars rest on finding Westing’s murderer before the other potential heirs! The contestants are paired up, seemingly at random, but suspicions, lies, and alliances flurry through the group as Westing gets to play one last game. This complex, layered mystery story, full of intriguing and unique characters, will keep your Mighty Girl — and you! — guessing to the very end.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Recommended Age: 9 - 13

16-year-old Kit Tyler migrates to colonial Connecticut from her home in Barbados in 1687 but feels lost in this new home as the other colonists don’t trust a girl with so much spunk and spirit. Soon, Kit finds a friend in Hannah Tupper, an old Quaker woman. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah is soon complicated by the fact that the colonists believe Hannah to be a witch and now Kit may also be guilty by association. In this Newbery Award-winning novel, readers will discover a heroine to admire for both her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

Journey to Topaz

Journey to Topaz

Written by: Yoshiko Uchida
Illustrated by: Donald Carrick
Recommended Age: 9 and up

11-year-old Yuki is spending her days in a dusty Japanese internment camp in the middle of World War II. Her father, who was arrested for questioning by the FBI, is a prisoner miles away, while the rest of the family struggles with meager supplies in a camp ringed by barbed wire and armed soldiers. And yet, even within these terrible times and intimidating fences, Yuki finds friendship, courage, and love. Based on Uchida’s own experiences, this story will open your Mighty Girl’s eyes to a lesser-known aspect of American history.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time

Written by: Madeleine L'Engle
Recommended Age: 9 and up

People in town think Meg is a loose cannon, her brother Charles Wallace is dumb, and her father ran off and left their scientist mother — but Meg doesn’t believe a word of any of it. So when an unexpected stranger appears in their kitchen and tells Meg about a tesseract — the “wrinkle in time” which her father was researching for the government — Meg decides to set off through space and time to find him. Her adventures with Charles Wallace and neighbor Calvin will require all of their strengths to accomplish! A Wrinkle in Time is the first of a quintet of science fiction classics, which are also available in a box set. There is also an excellent graphic novel adaptation by Hope Larson.

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up In Siberia

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up In Siberia

Written by: Esther Hautzig
Recommended Age: 10 and up

10-year-old Esther Rudomin is aware that Russia is part of a worldwide conflict, but World War II doesn't seem to affect her or her family. Then, in June 1942, her family is arrested by the Russians, declared "capitalists and enemies of the people," and "relocated" in packed cattle cars to a forced labor camp in Siberia. It's a particular shock for Esther, who is used to being the spoiled only child of a wealthy family, but with her family by her side, she discovers unexpected wellsprings of strength and self-reliance within herself. Based on the real story of author Esther Hautzig's exile experience, this emotional novel introduces readers to a piece of little-known World War II history.

Homecoming

Homecoming

Written by: Cynthia Voigt
Recommended Age: 10 - 14

Dicey’s mother wrestles with mental illness, so Dicey grew up fast to take care of her younger siblings, but when hours pass waiting for her in their car at the mall, Dicey realizes that things are about to get even tougher. If they admit they’ve been abandoned, they’ll be sent to foster care — and what are the chances one home will take all four of them? But Dicey remembers where their rich aunt lives; if they can get there, maybe they can build a new home. She has $11 in her pocket, three younger kids to take care of, and over 100 miles to travel, but if she makes it, it will all be worth it. Readers of this moving National Book Award finalist title about one girl's courage against impossible odds can continue the story in the Newbery Award-winning sequel, Dicey’s Song.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Written by: Mildred D. Taylor
Recommended Age: 10 and up

It’s taken all the love and determination that 9-year-old Cassie’s family has to protect her from the awareness of racism and violence in the 1930s Deep South. But when night riders start threatening African-Americans in her community, the truth can’t be hidden any longer. Cassie will have to harden her heart, but in the process, she’ll gain new perspective on her father’s deep attachment to the precious land they own. Set in Depression-Era Mississippi, this stunning novel that shows prejudice and violence through the eyes of an innocent will bring a new perspective to young readers, but it's primarily a story of one family's pride, integrity, and love for one another.

The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown

Written by: Robin McKinley
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Aerin is the king of Damar’s only child; she should be his heir, but because her mother was a witchwoman from the North, Damarians don’t trust her. But Aerin’s destiny is to battle the black dragon, Maur; meet the wizard Luthe, who gives her both the Blue Sword, Gonturan, and the truth about her mother; and face the evil mage, Agsded, who has taken the Hero’s Crown — the secret strength of Damar itself. This Newbery Award-winning novel features a complex and daring main character and an intriguing fantasy world. Fans of this book can also check out the sequel, The Blue Sword.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird

Written by: Harper Lee
Recommended Age: 12 and up

In a Southern US town, Scout Finch grows up carefree — until her father becomes involved in the legal defense of a black man accused of raping a white woman. With the town in an uproar, Atticus Finch's choice is both daring and dangerous, but he reminds his daughter that true courage is "when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what." Through the eyes of Scout, the reader sees the worst of Maycomb — racism, violence, and injustice — but also the best — compassion, determination, and, above all, the importance of standing up for what you believe is right. Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the perfect opening to talk about prejudice, hope, and the beauty in the world around us.

Julie of the Wolves

Julie of the Wolves

Written by: Jean Craighead George
Illustrated by: John Schoenherr
Recommended Age: 10 and up

13-year-old Julie is torn between being Miyax, who follows her family’s traditional Inupiat Alaskan ways, and being Julie, the modernized teenager. But when her arranged marriage becomes outright dangerous, Julie runs away, determined to reach her pen pal’s San Francisco home. With no food or shelter, though, and no one to help her except a pack of wolves, Julie begins to see the value of the traditions that she’d previously disdained. When she makes it to her destination, she'll have to figure out how to blend both sides of her self. This Newbery Medal tale that celebrates individuality and self-sufficiency is sure to appeal to any adventurous Mighty Girl; they can follow Julie’s story further in the sequel, Julie.

Farewell to Manzanar

Farewell to Manzanar

Recommended Age: 12 and up

Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old when her family was moved to the Manzanar internment camp. There, she lived with with 10,000 other Japanese Americans, both recent immigrants and natural born citizens like her. She remembers the bizarre juxtaposition of barbed wire, spotlights, and armed guards with sock hops, baton twirling lessons, and a dance band that played hit songs — except for the current #1 on the charts, 'Don't Fence Me In.' This touching first-hand look at the internment experience raises questions about cultural pride versus assimilation; what cost a country is willing to pay for security; and how people can maintain their identities and their dignity under the force of prejudice and oppression.

Where The Lilies Bloom

Where The Lilies Bloom

Recommended Age: 13 and up

Mary Call promised her dying father that she would keep her brothers and sisters together, living in the Appalachian mountains that were so dear to him. At first, it seems like she can manage, but as it gets more and more complicated to prevent people from discovering his death — and as the landlord who holds the title to their home pursues his courtship of her sister even more ardently — Mary Call will have to find new reserves of determination and cleverness to fulfill her promise. This National Book Award finalist, full of the cadence of Appalachian speech, will captivate your Mighty Girl.

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street

Written by: Sandra Cisneros
Recommended Age: 14 and up

Esperanza Cordero is a Latina girl coming of age in a world that’s full of joy and laughter, but also oppression and struggle. In a series of vignettes, many in free verse, she decides that the house on Mango Street is only temporary, a place she must stay until she can find a better life, away from the poor neighborhood where she grew up. At the same time, she is determined not to forget those who she leaves behind, but to come back and help lift them out of poverty as well. Full of clever, funny observations and insightful views of gender roles and culture, this remarkable novel is sure to fascinate teen readers.

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