Saturday, December 12, 2009

Books for Spirited Girls - Younger Edition, from Miss Ami

Pippi Longstocking was my hero growing up - a bit surprising since I was actually quite shy and reserved, and even my mother will tell you I was a fairly obedient child. I grew out of that, and have to say none of my daughters, including the one on the way, quite fits the "shy" description. The following are some picture book recommendations for the spirited young lady in your life, the one who speaks her own mind and does her own thing. Monday - barring the illnesses and power failures that threw us off this week - we will give some suggestions for older readers.

We absolutely have to start off with:

Mandatory reading for every young girl (and suggested reading as a warning for every young boy). I first heard this book read aloud as part of a sermon given by a rather unorthodox (but highly memorable) pastor when I was in college, and immediately bought my own copy. Many years later, I was corresponding with a very intelligent gentleman who was not getting the hint that I wanted him to ask me out. We were discussing books with great characters, and I countered his Louis Lamour with The Paper Bag Princess. He remarked that, if a woman were to rescue him from a dragon, he hoped he would at least know enough to offer dinner rather than a criticism of her appearance. I told him to let me know if he saw any marauding dragons.

He finally took the hint, and we were married the following spring. On the day of our wedding, this arrived in the mail from Canada:

Yes it's real, and no, you may not touch it. Or breathe on it. Ever. And the baby's middle name will be Elizabeth.

There are, of course, a million other great books out there for that independent young miss, such as:

This wonderful collection of poems celebrate the narrator's friendship with the "one of a kind" Danitra Brown. In addition to her spunk, you can't help fall in love with Danitra's sense of right and wrong and her commitment to her friends.

Pippi needs no introduction or explanation, I just had to push this edition. lauren Child's illustrations are a perfect match for the irrepressible heroine, and where the altered font on some of the words usually drives me crazy, as in the Geronimo Stilton books, it totally works here.

When Theodore Roosevelt was asked why he didn't "do something" about his oldest daughter Alice, the man who once led the Rough Riders and convinced Russia and Japan to make nice replied, "I can do one of two things. I can be President of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." I think Alice Roosevelt would make my top five list of people I wish I had known, and after reading this, she may make yours as well.

There are so many great twists on the Cinderella story, but this is one of my favorites. Edna, Ella's next door neighbor, finds herself in much the same situation, but is a bit more enterprising and self-sufficient than Ella. At the ball, she wins the attention of the handsome prince's slightly nerdy younger brother, and in the end I think she gets a much better deal.

I can't really talk about strong-minded females without mentioning Lola, can I? Any from this series are good, I like to follow this one up with a taste test of different foods. You could include a coupon for a dinner date at an ethnic restaurant, and have fun giving new names to unfamiliar foods.

I know as soon as I hit the pillow tonight I'm going to think of a dozen other books I should have mentioned, and I am sure you are thinking "I can't believe she didn't talk about ---." Please feel free to add your suggestions, because as I said, I have some spirited girls to buy for myself!

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