To celebrate Day of the Girl, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of our favorite childhood reads that feature awesome female protagonists. From classic picture books to more modern fare, our girl heroes are worth revisiting with the special girls in your life. We’d love to know your suggestions — leave them in the comments or tweet them to us @ProsperityCndle!
Ramona Quimby from Beverly Clearly’s Ramona series. Ramona is a bright, brave, spunky, and, yes, sometimes rambunctious young girl. She’s quick to create her own words, explore the world around her, and show off to her friends — sometimes to her own detriment. Remember the famous passage in which Ramona, while goofing around in the school lunchroom, cracks a raw egg on her head? Ramona teaches girls it’s okay to be just a little bit offbeat.
Harriet M. Welsch from Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy. Harriet’s headstrong, precocious nature and talent for getting into serious trouble (getting caught spying, letting her often unflattering observations fall into the hands of the ‘observees’) make her one of the most beloved girl characters of all time. She’s got a ton of imagination and ambition, and faces the bullying she receives from her classmates honestly and emotionally.
Caddie Woodlawn from Carol Ryrie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn. It was pretty tough to be a tomboy back in the 1860′s — Caddie was expected to want to learn homemaking and sewing skills, but she’d rather be getting into adventures with her brothers. Caddie’s father, whom she adores, encourages Caddie to explore the world and be herself.
Nancy Drew from Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series. The character of Nancy Drew first appeared in the 1930s, and she’s been solving mysteries ever since (with the help of some ghostwriters along the way). The Nancy books are iconic, and most of us remember reading our mother’s copies in our youth and aspiring to be as savvy, sharp, and adventurous as she was. Nancy Drew has even been cited as a formative influence by Hilary Rodham Clinton!
Hermione Granger from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Hermoine is a wonderful role model for young girls. She’s a loyal friend and the smartest girl in her class — luckily for Harry and Ron, who would’ve had a hard time getting out of some serious scrapes without her wits and wiles! One of her more endearing traits is her passion for house elves’ rights, leading her to form S.P.E.W. (the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). Despite the disinterest of her friends — as well as the house elves themselves — Hermione remains a passionate activist on their behalf.
Kristy Thomas from Ann M. Martin’s Babysitters Club series. Kristy was an entrepreneurial young girl’s dream: at 13, she had successfully founded her own business and made enough money to pay her older brother to drive her to meetings! Kristy was also extremely civic-minded — she and her friends were always organizing parties, parades, daycamps, and other events for the children of their fictional Connecticut town.
Alice Rumphius from Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius. As a young child, Alice’s grandfather imparts upon her an important goal: “you must do something to make the world more beautiful.” As an adult, she begins her journey of making the world a better place by scattering lupine seeds all over her small seaside town. The seeds flourish and the town is soon covered in lupines, making Alice’s corner of the world truly beautiful.
For more strong female protagonists, check out The Atlantic Wire’s Greatest Girl Characters of Young Adult Literature.