Fiction for Early Readers

These books show girls and women using courage to think up different ways to solve problems. These stories feed our imagination and go beyond the limits of dreams and challenge traditional beliefs.
lives-of-women Juvenilefiction girl-power believe breaking-free
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Bloom

by Doreen Cronin

About the book:  From #1 New York Times bestselling author Doreen Cronin and Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator David Small comes a picture book about how an extraordinary “ordinary” girl can save a kingdom with the help of a mud fairy.A glass kingdom is no place for a Mud Fairy. Bloom and her mud fairy magic might be able to turn weeds into flowers and spin sand into glass, but the people of the kingdom ceaselessly complain about the trails of dirt and puddles of mud that seem to follow her every step, and finally they cast her out. But when the glass castle begins to crack, then cracks some more, the King and Queen in a panic search for the long-banished fairy, but they can’t find Bloom anywhere. Desperate to save their home, they send their meekest, most ordinary subject, a girl named Genevievewhose sole task until now has been to polish the Queen’s crystal sugar spoon—to coax any worthy fairy to come and save the kingdom. Genevieve finds Bloom exactly where the king and queen failed to see her, and Bloom knows exactly how to save the kingdom. But it will take the two girls working together, along with a mighty dollop of self-confidence—and some very messy hands—to accomplish the extraordinary.

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Doing Her Bit

by Erin Hagar

About the book:  Based on true events, this fictional story traces the history of the Women’s Land Army during World War I. Real-life “Farmerette” Helen Stevens trains to farm the land, negotiates a position for herself and other women, and does her bit for the war effort. This unique book celebrates the true grit of American men and women.From the Hardcover edition.

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Two Friends

by Dean Robbins

About the book:  Some people had rights, while others had none.Why shouldn't they have them, too?Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.The text by award-winning writer Dean Robbins teaches about the fight for women's and African Americans' rights in an accessible, engaging manner for young children. Two Friends is beautifully illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, the husband-and-wife team whose The Case for Loving received three starred reviews! Two Friends includes back matter with photos of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

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Drum Dream Girl

by Margarita Engle

About the book:  Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.         Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

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Chasing Freedom

by Nikki Grimes

About the book:  Nikki Grimes offers a glimpse into the inspiring lives of Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman, with breathtaking illustrations by Michele Wood! What if Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sat down over tea to reminisce about their extraordinary lives? What would they recall of their triumphs and struggles as they fought to achieve civil rights for African Americans and equal rights for women? And what other historical figures played parts in their stories? These questions led Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes to create Chasing Freedom, an engaging work of historical fiction about two of the nineteenth century's most powerful, and inspiring, American women. With breathtaking illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award winner Michele Wood, Chasing Freedom richly imagines the experiences of Tubman and Anthony, set against the backdrop of the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Women's Suffrage Movement. Additional back matter invites curious young readers to further explore this period in history--and the larger-than-life figures who lived it.

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Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible

by Ursula Vernon

About the book:  Sleeping Beauty gets a feisty, furry twist in this hilarious new comic series from the creator of DragonbreathHarriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you'll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather . . . dull. One day, though, Harriet's parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she's twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she's invincible until she's twelve! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey...until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.Perfect for fans of Babymouse and Chris Colfer's Land of Stories, this laugh-out-loud new comic hybrid series will turn everything you thought you knew about princesses on its head.

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A Pair of Twins

by Kavitha Mandana

About the book:  Lakshmi and Sundari are an unusual pair of twins with an unusual connection . . . But not everyone knows how special they are until they're both called upon to save the day. Kavitha Mandana tells this story with brilliance and warmth, while Nayantara Surendranath lends vibrancy to it with her magnificent artwork.

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Rosie Revere, Engineer

by Andrea Beaty

About the book:  Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Praise for Rosie Revere, Engineer "Comically detailed mixed-media illustrations that keep the mood light and emphasize Rosie’s creativity at every turn." —Publishers Weekly "The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray." —Kirkus Reviews  

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Princesses on the Run

by Smiljana Coh

About the book:  Even the prettiest dresses, latest toys, and friendliest elephant can't cure Princess Antonia's boredom. And when she becomes so bored, she decides to run away! Luckily, with friends like Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, a big adventure is sure to follow!2014 Amelia Bloomer Project Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth through 18

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Zephyr Takes Flight

by Steve Light

About the book:  Soar along on a clever girl’s flight of fancy in a whimsical ode to free spirits, inventiveness, and flying pigs.Zephyr is a girl who loves airplanes. She draws pictures of them, makes them out of paper, builds them out of junk, and hopes one day to fly one of her own. But when Gramma, Daddy, and Mom are too busy to play airplane with her, Zephyr’s excess enthusiasm gets her sent to her room — where she discovers a secret door that leads to the most wondrous place she’s ever seen! Lovers of flying machines and gadgets, along with adventurers of all kinds, will be buoyed by this lighthearted tale of a little girl who finds her wings.

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Every-Day Dress-Up

by Selina Alko

About the book:  It's no secret that little girls love playing dress up, but the little girl in this book ditches her princess duds in favor of costumes inspired by great women in history. Now dressing up is an adventure When, every day of the week, I am a daring new dame! From Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to chef extraordinaire Julia Child to queen of jazz Ella Fitzgerald, our protagonist pays homage to the women who came before her and imagines herself in their shoes. Maybe someday she'll inspire little girls with her own gown of greatness.

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Tìa Isa Wants a Car

by Meg Medina

About the book:  A little girl pitches in to help her tía save up for a big old car - and take the whole family to the beach - in a story told with warmth and sweetness.Tía Isa wants a car. A shiny green car the same color as the ocean, with wings like a swooping bird. A car to take the whole family to the beach. But saving is hard when everything goes into two piles - one for here and one for Helping Money, so that family members who live far away might join them someday. While Tía Isa saves, her niece does odd jobs for neighbors so she can add her earnings to the stack. But even with her help, will they ever have enough? Meg Medina’s simple, genuine story about keeping in mind those who are far away is written in lovely, lyrical prose and brought to life through Claudio Muñoz’s charming characters.

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Basketball Belles

by Sue Macy

About the book:  Raised on a cattle ranch, Agnes Morley was sent to Stanford University to learn to be a lady. Yet in no time she exchanged her breeches and spurs for bloomers and a basketball, and in April 1896 she made history. In a heart-pounding game against the University of California at Berkeley, Agnes led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women's basketball game, bringing national attention to women's basketball.

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Me . . . Jane

by Patrick McDonnell

About the book:  In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true.One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young--and young at heart.

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Pirate vs. Pirate

by Mary Quattlebaum

About the book:  Bad Bart is the biggest, burliest boy pirate in the Atlantic. Mean Mo is the maddest, mightiest girl pirate in the Pacific. When they meet in the middle, it's a no-holds-barred contest to see who is the best pirate in the world. They test who is brave enough to swim with sharks, who is strong enough to throw a cannonball, who can eat the most hard tack, and who has collected the most treasure. Again and again their respective crews proclaim, "Tie!" Bad Bart and Mean Mo stare each other down and . . . fall head over heads in love! This epic tale of the union of two pirate captains is told in seadog lingo and illustrated with of knockout oceanic battles.

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Signed, Abiah Rose

by Diane Browning

About the book:    Abiah Rose has always wanted to paint pictures.  “Best not, Abiah Rose,” everyone says. Serious painting is “not girl’s work.” Best not show your paintings. Best not sign them either. But still Abiah continues to make her mark on each of her paintings: a small, hidden rose.  A moving story of feminine strength and perseverance, Signed, Abiah Rose honors the everyday struggles of anonymous women artists whose only encouragement was their own inborn drive to create.

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Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book

by Jacinta Bunnell,Julie Novak

About the book:  Truly fun for all ages, this unique coloring book subversively and playfully examines the female gender stereotypes that pervade daily life. A diverse group of pictures reinforce positive gender roles throughout the book and show that girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, and healers. Some of the characters who show the new face of the feminine include Rapunzel, who now has power tools and Miss Muffet, who tells the spider off and considers a career as an arachnologist. Deconstructing the homogeneity of gender expression has never been so colorful.

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Summer Birds

by Margarita Engle

About the book:  In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings. This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.

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Mary's Penny

by Tanya Landman

About the book:  With whimsical illustrations, a feminist fable proves that brains outweigh brawn when three siblings enter a most enlightening competition.Long, long ago, in the golden, olden days, a farmer devised an ingenious competition to determine who should inherit his farm. Which of his children — Franz, Hans, or Mary — could fill the house with something that cost a mere penny? Did straw do the trick? Were feathers sufficient? Or did it take something a little more creative? Tanya Landman’s retelling of a traditional tale, illustrated with Richard Holland’s stylish artwork, reminds us that sometimes the greatest value can be had for only a penny.

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Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken

by Kate DiCamillo

About the book:  She longed for adventure. So she left her home and ventured out into the wide world. The pleasures and perils she met proved plentiful: marauding pirates on the majestic seas, a ferocious lion under the bright lights of the big top, a mysterious stranger in an exotic and bustling bazaar. Yet in the face of such daunting danger, our heroine . . . She was brave. She was fearless. She was feathered. She was a chicken. A not-so-chicken chicken. Her name?

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