When I was a child I loved whiling away the hours reading about girls my own age... except these girls' lives were much more exciting than mine! They were spies, princesses, lived on islands and such. To a reader like me, no question about it — they were cool. Here's a list featuring them, coolest of the cool girls.
by E. L. Konigsburg
I think most people can identify with Claudia Kincaid in this 1968 Newberry Medal winner. She's 12, she's smart, and she feels her parents don't appreciate her. So she runs away. But not just to Grandma's, like I did when I was 12 — instead, she runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Joined by her younger brother, not only do they share some adventures, but they also uncover a museum mystery.
by Dodie Smith
I envied Cassandra Mortmain so even though she was poor. You see, she lived in a castle — a crumbling castle, but a castle nonetheless. To my 12-year-old mind, I don't think there could have been any place more glamorous... and still think that, even now!
by Madeleine L'Engle
People who are extraordinary, by definition, don't fit in. The main character of this book, Meg Murray, is an extraordinarily intelligent and thoughtful person who struggles with real issues such as making friends. When her father, a brilliant scientist, needs help, Meg learns that the very qualities that make it hard for her to relate to her peers also make her the one person who can come to his aid. Meg is such a well-written, real character, and the story so exciting, this book might just turn a young reader on to fantasy or sci-fi books in general. Note that this is the first in a quintet of related books — A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time follow, though only the first three books are about Meg.
by David A. Adler, illustrated by Susanna Natti
If you love Nancy Drew, you will love Cam Jansen. Cam has a photographic memory and uses it and her insatiable curiosity to solve mysteries.
by Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by Julie Doucet, introduction by Jane Smiley
Jo March, the outspoken tomboy, has to be one of the best characters in all of literature. I have read this classic so many times I feel like I know Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth. I have grown so protective of the March sisters it's like they are members of my own family.
written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton
If you haven't read this adorable book then you are probably wondering why I included it on a list about cool female characters in children's books. It's because the steam shovel's name is Mary Ann. If you haven't read this charming story, what are you waiting for?
by Louise Fitzhugh
Flashlight Worthy says:
Leah, the maker of this list, didn't include this book... but so many people suggested it I feel it's my duty to tack it on. :-)
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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