Do you want to raise strong, smart, ambitious and independent girls? Do you want to be the kind of woman who makes a difference in the world? READ. Read about women! Read from the Feminist Fiction Starter Guide.
As the oldest child of a typical Mormon family, growing up in Colorado, I never grew up with the word feminist. Then in college at BYU I heard the word thrown around as an almost ‘dirty’ word. It wasn’t until years later in graduate program at BYU that I came to understand feminist to mean someone who shares a common goal: to define, establish and achieve equal political economic, personal and social rights for women. And then I realized I AM a feminist. A staunch one at that! I had been raised to be a strong, independent woman who would think and act for herself, defending human rights for all and wanting others to have the same realization: feminism is a good thing.
So what shaped me all those years leading up to this epiphany? READING. Reading wonderful fiction that had female protagonists who got real stuff done. They overcame hard things, helped others who were down, they learned about boys, dating and heartbreak, they grew into their bodies over those awkward teenage years, and they conquered and achieved.
Last week I shared my first four picks for a Feminist Fiction Starter Guide; here are more picks for raising a strong, independent girl!
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS
by Scott O'Dell
This is a survival story at its heart, making Karana a real inspiration to girls. She was left behind by her tribe on their island and is forced to build shelter, find food, make weapons and fight her enemies, alone. This is a coming of age story giving insight to another culture and teaching some practical survival skills.
by Louisa May Alcott
There is such a range of women in this book that a young reader can learn from. Jo is my personal favorite, but there are so many life choices that each March sister faces that teach girls about growing up. You can be like Amy and aspire to have many wealthy beaus, or you could be like Meg and marry a good honest man, or you can be like Jo and seek a career and teaching job. This classic is a reflection on American life during the time of the Civil War and helps readers see options for the way they approach the world and relationships.
FOR OLDER READERS:
by Kathryn Stockett
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for those suffering from civil rights injustices. I could really connect to the various women’s stories and I wanted redemption and recourse for those wrongs against black women in the south. I think young girls need to recognize the issue of race in America and how to not be narrow minded or discriminate.
THE HUNGER GAMES
by Suzanne Collins
I love how Katniss is the protector of her family. I am also the oldest child and I would like to imagine I could begin a war all because I wanted to protect my little sister from a brutal death game. Katniss is bold and yet flawed and we get to see her grow, overcome obstacles, and accept the harder facts of life. She made me want to be a strong fighter but also someone who lived life passionately.
Others that I haven’t personally read but come highly recommended in this category (not all are appropriate for young girls, but all are pretty classic in feminist fiction):
PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See
BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julia Otsuka
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood
There's my list! What titles would you recommend for raising a strong girl?