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Hot Topics! Reading List for...
Girls and Young Women...

Girls in Fiction

American Girl, by various authors

Kaya (box set with game) growing up in 1764, in a Native American household.  Also Welcome to Kaya's World
Felicity (box set with game) growing up in 1774, in colonial America.  Also Welcome to Felicity's World
Josephina (box set with game) growing up in 1824, in America's Southwest frontier.  Also Welcome to Josephina's World
Cécile and Marie-Grace (box set with game) growing up in the 1850's in New Orleans
Kirsten (box set with game) growing up in 1854, in pioneer America.  Also Welcome to Kirsten's World
Addy (box set with game) growing up in 1864, during America's Civil War.  Also Welcome to Addy's World
Samantha (box set with game) growing up in 1904, in turn-of-the-century America.  Also Welcome to Samantha's World
Rebecca (box set with game) growing up in 1914, on the lower East side of New York City
Kit (box set with game) growing up in 1934, during America's great depression.  Also Kit's World: A Girl's-Eye View of the Great Depression
Molly (box set with game) growing up in 1944, during World War II.  Also Welcome to Molly's World
Julie (box set with game) growing up in 1974, in San Francisco
American Girl histories, sets of 6 novels about a girl's life, and the companion book that describes daily life and activities...
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Barred from attending school, shopping at the market, or even playing in the streets of Kabul, Parvana is trapped inside her family's one-room home. That is, until the Taliban hauls away her father and Parvana realizes that it's up to her to become the "breadwinner" and disguise herself as a boy to support her mother, two sisters, and baby brother...
Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Dealing With Dragons
Searching for Dragons
Calling on Dragons
Talking to Dragons
Book of Enchantments - short stories featuring Princess Cimarone
Boxed set of Books 1-4
Cimorene, princess of Linderwall, is a classic tomboy heroine with classic tomboy strengths--all of which are perceived by those around her as defects...
Fair Weather by Richard Peck
Three farm children take on the 1893 Chicago World's Fair...
Half Magic by Edward Eager
The most popular of Eager's tales about four children who encounter magical coins, time-travel herb gardens, and other unlikely devices, in a warm, funny, original adventure
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy Eberhardt is the new kid--again. This time around it's Trace Middle School in humid Coconut Grove, Florida. But it's still the same old routine: table by himself at lunch, no real friends, and thick-headed bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. But if it wasn't for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls...
Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville
This fanciful story questions the value of beauty yet spins out of control after a promising start. Jennifer, a fifth-grader, agonizes over her appearance--"I'm just a kid in the plain brown wrapper"--and her schoolmates' taunts are doubly painful. After purchasing a toad from a mysterious shopkeeper Jennifer is amazed to discover...
Juniper by Monica Furlong
Ninnoc is the indulged only child of King Mark of Cornwall as Christianity is beginning to overcome the ancient Celtic religion of the Mother Goddess. She has abilities as a healer and the ambition to rule her father's small kingdom. She is sent to her unusual and unappealing godmother, who teaches her to become a doran, a sort of wise woman
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Yee's first novel examines child prodigies from a refreshing angle, showing the ups and downs of being a whiz kid. An excellent job of showing Millie's grown-up brain and her decidedly middle-school problems...
Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer
Packed with magic, valiant warriors, nasty villains, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, this story is also a poignant search for identity and family. Rowan is a fierce female protagonist with a good head on her shoulders. Girls and boys of all ages would be proud to name her as their heroine...
The Princess Diaries series, by Meg Cabot
        The Princess Diaries
        Princess in the Spotlight
        Princess in Love
        Princess in Waiting
        Project Princess
        Perfect Princess
Saving Lilly by Peg Kehret
A gifted girl takes on the project of saving an elephant from an abusive circus. One child can make a difference...
Tatterhood and Other Tales: Stories of Magic and Adventure by Ethel J. Phelps and Pamela Baldwin Ford
Fairy tales and legends...
Toliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady
A girl who disguises herself as a boy to deliver an urgent message to General Washington...
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister...
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching needs magic--fast! Her sticky little brother Wentworth has been spirited away by the evil Queen of faerie, and it’s up to her to get him back safely. Having already decided to grow up to be a witch, now all Tiffany has to do is find her power. But she quickly learns that it’s not all black cats and broomsticks...
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Forced to leave her sunny Caribbean home for the bleak Connecticut Colony, Kit Tyler is filled with trepidation. As they sail up the river to Kit's new home, the teasing and moodiness of a young sailor named Nat doesn't help. Still, her unsinkable spirit soon bobs back up. What this spirited teenager doesn't count on...
Young Wizard series, by Diane Duane
        So You Want to Be a Wizard
        Deep Wizardry
        High Wizardry
        The Wizards Dilemma
        A Wizard Abroad

Young Women in Fiction

The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
 The adventures of the Damarian king's daughter, Aerin...
The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley
British author Hanley pens a romantic royal tale of intrigue in the tradition of King Arthur. Princess Torina, "eyes sparkling, hair wild," is the only child of hard-hearted warrior King Kareed...
Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
After the nuclear holocaust of the Great White, the surviving humans condemn all Misfits (mutants) to either death by fire or exile to Obernewtyn, a remote mountain institution where mysterious experiments are performed on some exiles. Elspeth Gordie is a Misfit, struggling to hide her mutant mental abilities and earn a Normalcy Certificate (First book of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, followed by The Farseekers and Ashling)
by Sarah Beth Durst
Into the Wild and the sequel, Out of the Wild
What happens when fairy tale characters escape the wild, live among us, and have a daughter here?  12-year-old Julie finds out when the wild is wished free again, and things get really crazy...  A well-written story with a great heroine and a touch of sarcasm
by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness quartet - Alanna In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant (or Song of the Lioness Box Set)
The Immortals - Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, Realms of the Gods (or Immortals Box Set)
Protector of the Small - First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight
Daughter of the Lioness - Trickster's Choice, Trickster's Queen
Circle of Magic - Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Daja's Book, Briar's Book
The Circle Opens - Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass
The Circle Reforged - The Will of the Empress
Great quartets of fantasy, most featuring the same terrific female and male lead characters as they grow... (young adult themes, except Circle of Magic - about their lives as kids)
by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies, The Collector's Set: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty... Excellent stories for kids and adults alike -- you might even read them together!
Sabriel by Garth Nix
After receiving a cryptic message from her father, Abhorsen, 18-year-old Sabriel sets off into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands... (first in Sabriel trilogy, followed by Lirael and Abhorsen)
Wise Child by Monica Furlong
Orphaned by the death of her grandmother and her sailor-father's disappearance, Wise Child chooses to become the ward of Juniper, the village wisewoman who is healer, midwife and witch. Under Juniper's kind but stern tutelage, Wise Child thrives, learning herb lore, reading and basic survival in those difficult times...

Non-fiction for Young Girls

Adventurous Spirit: A Story About Ellen Swallow Richards by Ethlie Ann Vare
An interesting, accurate portrayal of the scientist's life. In this readable biography, Vare traces Richards's youth, education, and career as a chemist

Non-fiction for Girls and Young Women

Adventures and Challenges: Real Life Stories by Girls and Young Women by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
Not just for girls and young women, this book will inspire all young people to think more creatively
America's First Woman Chemist: Ellen Richards by E. M. Douty
Cool Careers for Girls in Law by Ceel Pasternak and Linda Thornburg
include attorneys who specialize in military, environmental, entertainment, family, labor, and corporate law; judge; court reporter; and paralegal; biographies explaining the women's training and education from youth to adulthood and how their work meshes with their personal lives
Cool Women, Hot Jobs... and how you can go for it, too! by Tina Schwager and Michele Schuerger
From fashion designer to space plasma physicist, from classical musician to fighter pilot, women are living and loving a wide variety of dream jobs, jobs that most girls aren't even aware of.  Here you'll find details about the job, how she got there, the fun (and not so fun) aspects of the job, and then a great section on getting to your dream job!
Dr. Mary Walker - The Little Lady in Pants by Charles M. Snyder
One of the first women doctors, Civil War heroine, women's dress reformer, published author, on the public speaking circuit in Europe and the US...
Girls and Young Women: 20 True Stories About Inventors Plus How You Can Be One Yourself by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
Not just for girls and young women, this book will inspire all young people to think more creatively
Girls and Young Women Entrepreneurs: True Stories About Starting and Running a Business Plus How You Can Do It Yourself by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
Real-life role models are profiled in this book--girls and young women who have successfully started and run their own businesses
Girls and Young Women Leading the Way: 20 True Stories About Leadership by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
First-person stories by 22 girls and young women prove that anyone can be a leader, regardless of gender or age. Includes a how-to "Leadership Handbook" section.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh
An outstanding collective biography of women and girls who changed the world with their inventions
Grace Hopper: Programming Pioneer by Nancy Whitelaw
Recounts the life of a navy rear admiral who contributed much to the field of computers and programming. Hopper's childhood interest in machines led to degrees in mathematics from Vassar and Yale and a brief teaching career. During World War II, she joined the WAVES, where she was assigned to the Mark I computer. Over the next 40 years, she worked to develop a language that could be easily understood by both humans and computers and became known as the grandmother of COBOL...
Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare by Tina Schwager and Michele Schuerger
In exciting, inspiring first-person stories, these intrepid young women (and 21 more, ranging in age from 14 to 24) tell of their daring feats from extreme sports to ground-breaking, history-making achievements...
Madame Curie: A Biography by Eve Curie
The remarkable life and astonishing mind of one of the greatest scientists of the century, written by her daughter, it remains a landmark and an inspiration for students, scientists, and young women everywhere
Outrageous Women in History
Outrageous Women of Ancient Times by Vicki León
Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages by Vicki León
Outrageous Women of the Renaissance by Vicki León
Uppity Women of Ancient Times by Vicki León
Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki León
Uppity Women of the Renaissance by Vicki León
Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times by Vicki León
Uppity Women of the New World by Vicki León
Outrageous Women of Colonial America by Mary Rodd Furbee
Outrageous Women of the American Frontier by Mary Rodd Furbee
Outrageous Women of Civil War Times by Mary Rodd Furbee
The Sky's The Limit: Stories of Discovery by Women and Girls by Catherine Thimmesh
Despite their glaring absence from history books, women have been responsible for countless remarkable discoveries, from the X and Y chromosomes to a 3.5 million-year-old hominid skull to the dark matter of the universe...
Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
True life story of Lalu Nathoy, a young Chinese girl sold into slavery in 1871 by her poverty-stricken family and auctioned off in the American West. McCunn tells the gripping tale of how Lalu struggled out of servitude to achieve a life of freedom and dignity as a pioneer woman...
Women and Numbers: Lives of Women Mathematicians Plus Discovery Activities by Teri Perl
Well-written and interesting biographies, presented in their historical context. Each biography is followed by an activity or investigation

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Last updated December 01, 2020

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