10 Powerful Mighty Girl Books
The Georges Vanier Learning Commons has a great collection of Mighty Girl books: stories that depict smart, confident and courageous girls. To be sure, our books with male protagonists are equally as varied and powerful. Here’s a selection of titles that may help encourage youth to find their potential and harness some of their own indomitable spirit.
1. Four Feet, Two Sandals When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. As the girls go about their routines washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America the sandals remind them that friendship is what is most important.
2. Sadako’s Cranes Based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, Sadako’s Cranes tells the story of her battle with leukemia. When Sadako hears of a Japanese legend which says that a person who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish, she begins folding cranes. Her wish was simply to live.
3. Brave Girl This picture-book biography of Clara Lemlich, a spitfire who fought hard for better working conditions, is an engaging, informative introduction to her activism as well as to the deplorable state of the garment industry in the early 1900s. She began on a small scale to encourage her coworkers to strike, but at a union meeting, when even men wouldn’t call for a walkout, she rose and shouted to the large gathering that the time for a strike was now, inspiring tens of thousands of women to leave their stations in the factories.
4. The Sky of Afghanistan Beautifully illustrated and undeniably moving, this is the story of a little Afghan girl’s dreams of peace. As her country is wracked by war, a girl’s imagination drifts toward the idea of peace for her people and for her country. Her powerful dreams soon take wing and fill the homes and hearts of those around her, uniting a people in their common desire for peace.
5. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. But Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference.
7. Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven’t been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls’ school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community.8. Rosa She had not sought this moment but she was ready for it. When the policeman bent down to ask “Auntie, are you going to move?” all the strength of all the people through all those many years joined in her. She said, “No.”
9. Not All Princesses Dress In Pink Not all princesses dress in pink. Some play in bright red socks that stink, blue team jerseys that don’t quite fit, accessorized with a baseball mitt, and a sparkly crown! Princesses come in all kinds. Exuberant text from Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Yolen Stemple paired with charming illustrations prove that girls can jump in mud puddles and climb trees, play sports and make messes—all while wearing their tiaras! Not every girl has a passion for pink, but all young ladies will love this empowering affirmation of their importance and unlimited potential.
10. Wise At Heart An inspiring journey around the world in brilliant photographs and wise words, the perfect gift book for children or adults. With wisdom from more than 400 children and adults including Tom Hanks, Walter Cronkite and Jane Goodall, Wise at Heart will spark conversation and encourage discussions around the dinner table and in the classroom about the important things in life. Parents, grandparents and other caring adults will want to share this beautiful book and their own wisdom with the children around them.