I’ve been volunteering in my daughter’s school library for over 4 months now. My job is to help the kids pick out books. Not to choose topics, but to help them locate different subjects and authors and to use a shelf marker when browsing so books stay in order.
I usually start with, “What are you interested in reading today? We have lots of books on [insert holiday] and [insert season].” There are usually a few takers on those subjects. Also popular are the usual suspects — Curious George, Scooby Doo, Clifford, Maisy — and the occasional requests for animals and fish. However, the overwhelming answer for boys is football and superheroes. For girls, it’s princesses and fairy tales.
I found it interesting that girls never ask for books about superheroes, especially since I grew up watching Super Friends, so I asked my daughter about it. “Mom, I want to read about girls.” Fair enough. Most superheroes are guys. In fact, I could only find one Wonder Woman book in the entire Easy Reader superhero section at Barnes and Noble.
So I set out to see if I could find some superheroine books. It wasn’t easy, but I found a few great stories that my daughter and I really enjoyed. These girls and women are pretty amazing, even without capes. Ok, so one has wings and one sewed herself racing clothes, but you know what I mean. (All book links go to amazon.com)
My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?: My daughter really liked how Isabella imagined herself as great women in history: Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie and Elizabeth Blackwell. I like that she was learning about women who changed the world without needing a super power. There’s a similar book for boys, My Name Is Not Alexander, which is on our to-read list.
Ladybug Girl: I thought that this was going to be a superhero book, but it’s more about creative and imaginative play. When her mom and dad are too busy to play and her brother says she’s too little, Lulu becomes LadyBug Girl and invents her own fun. (She does save some ants in distress.) I still liked it and so did my daughter. We’ll definitely be checking out the other books in the series.
Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History This by far was my daughter’s favorite book of the three. It’s the story of Tillie Anderson who came to America from Sweden and worked as a seamstress before becoming an avid bicyclist. After realizing that her long skirts were getting in her way, she used her sewing skills to make a “shocking” pants outfit more suited to riding. Today she’s considered the world champion of women’s racing.
What are your favorite superheroine books? Share in the comments!