Henkes, Kevin. Chester’s Way. 1988. Greenwillow. Ages 3-7.The mouse Lilly is one of the bravest, most flamboyant young females around. She rescues her friends from bullies, teaches them how to do wheelies, and always carries a loaded squirt gun. Everyone should meet her!
Pinkney, Brian. JoJo’s Flying Side Kick. 1995. Simon & Schuster. Ages 3-7.In order to earn her yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, young JoJo must break a board with a flying side-kick. With the help of her family, she masters her fears and succeeds. A real winner.
Nash, Ogden. The Adventures of Isabel. Illustrated by James Marshall. 1991. Little, Brown. Ages 3-8.In this funny poem, Isabel conquers a bear, a witch, a giant, a doctor, and a nightmare. The pictures will make children laugh while they learn to banish their own nightmares. Not to be missed.
Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. 1989. Philomel. Ages 4-8.Exquisite illustrations accompany this Chinese folktale about a girl who outwits a nasty wolf and saves her sisters. Winner of the Caldecott Medal.
Thompson, Kay. Eloise. Illustrated by Hilary Knight. 1955. Simon & Schuster. Ages 4-8.Eloise is one of a kind. She tears around the Plaza Hotel in New York, driving adults crazy and having a terrific time. It is no surprise that this incorrigible girl has been popular for more than forty years.
Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. 1994. Dutton. Ages 4-9.Tennessee-born Angelica Longrider, known as Swamp Angel, is a wonderfully outlandish addition to American tall tales. Building her first log cabin at age two is just the beginning of her incredible career. Witty folk art captures the larger-than-life heroine. A Caldecott Honor book.
Krull, Kathleen. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman. Illustrated by David Diaz. 1996. Harcourt Brace.
Striking illustrations portray the life of Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio to become a great runner and win three Olympic gold medals. A powerful, inspiring story.
Pomerantz, Charlotte. The Outside Dog. Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. 1993. HarperCollins. Ages 5-8.A charming beginning reader about a Puerto Rican girl who is determined to have a dog, despite her grandfather’s objections.
LeGuin, Ursula K. A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back. Illustrated by Julie Downing. 1992. Orchard. Ages 5-9.With the help of a magical horse, a brave girl sets off to rescue her brother who has been stolen by trolls. A beautifully illustrated tale of courage and love.
Hesse, Karen. Sable. Illustrated by Marcia Sewall. 1994. Henry Holt. Ages 6-10.More than anything, Tate wants to keep the stray dog that shows up at her mountain home. With persistence and hard work, the girl succeeds. A heartwarming novel for younger readers.
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. 1985. Harper & Row. Ages 6-10.This small gem tells the story of two children and the quiet, strong woman who they hope will marry their father. Perfect for reading aloud. Winner of the Newbery Medal.
Fenner, Carol. Yolonda’s Genius. 1995. McElderry. Ages 10-13.A large and confident girl, Yolonda draws on all of her many talents to help her younger brother pursue his musical dream in this outstanding novel. A Newbery Honor book.
O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. 1960. Houghton Mifflin. Ages 9-12.In this modern classic, twelve-year-old Karana must survive alone for years on a California island. Winner of the Newbery Medal.
Lauber, Patricia. Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart. 1988. Scholastic. Ages 9-13.Amelia Earhart broke barriers for women while she broke men’s flying records. This biography describes her fascinating life from childhood to her mysterious disappearance.
Wrede, Patricia C. Dealing with Dragons. 1990. Harcourt Brace. Ages 10-13.Cimorene finds being a princess so boring that she takes a job working for a dragon! The first in a popular, funny series.
Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. 1990. Orchard. Ages 10-14."Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty," opens this thrilling tale of a proper young lady who changes when she gets caught up in a mutiny. A top-notch adventure. A Newbery Honor book.
Freedman, Russell. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. 1993. Clarion. Ages 11-14.Award-winning biographer Russell Freedman conveys the greatness of Eleanor Roosevelt through his lively writing and an extensive array of photographs. Highly recommended. A Newbery Honor book.
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. 1989. Knopf. Ages 12-14.Set in contemporary Pakistan, this gripping novel follows the fate of Shabanu, an adolescent girl from a nomadic tribe who rebels against her arranged marriage. A Newbery Honor book.