Our Friends' Favorites: Books with Great Female Characters

Welcome to the first in a new series where we ask Common Sense Media friends and partners to share their top media picks. By Common Sense Media Editors
Our Friends' Favorites: Books with Great Female Characters

If you're reading this blog, chances are you care about finding great media for your kids and that you want to spread the word about books, movies, and other media that you love. That's why we're launching a new feature on the blog: Our Friends' Favorites, featuring recommendations from Common Sense Media's friends and partners.

The theme for this summer is books that celebrate strong, realistic girls and women, and the first pick comes from filmmaker/women's advocate Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Jennifer is the writer, director, and producer of the 2011 Sundance documentary film Miss Representation and the founder and CEO of MissRepresentation.org, a social action campaign and media organization established to help women and girls realize their full potential. (Check out the media literacy resources we developed with MissRepresentation.org here.) Here's what she has to say about her choice, Soar, Elinor!, by Tami Lewis Brown:

"Soar, Elinor! is my choice for a number of reasons. First, this book is a slice of history that isn't known to the average child or adult. Second, this story can empower girls to pursue their dreams while encouraging boys to respect girls and women and see them as their equals. Elinor Smith, at 17 years of age, was the youngest licensed pilot in the United States, male or female, and earned the respect of famous pilots like Charles Lindbergh. Soar, Elinor! is the wonderfully illustrated story of Smith's courageous feat of flying under all four of New York City's East River bridges nearly a century ago, capturing the boldness and spirit of her most famous moment beautifully."

What do you think? Share your thoughts on Soar, Elinor! -- or other suggestions for books with positive female role models -- in the comments below. To thank you for your participation, we'll send one of you a book of your choosing from our Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide. We'll email you on Monday, July 1, by 2 p.m. PDT if you've won! (And remember, we don't send emails to kids under 13!)

We look forward to hearing from you. Together, we can help our kids learn that there's more to a woman than her body and looks and improve the media landscape for our kids with healthy depictions of girls and women.

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Comments (8)

Adult written by RD.on.TYM069

Finally!!! I just found this cool page, Hope to read/see more updated posts here, b'cause for sure I'll be back for that, Keep me in-touch here.-->> get twitter followers
Adult written by 798104

I checked out a wonderful book called: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie J. Davis, Beth Clark (With). It's about a young woman who passed up the opportunity to leave for college after high school and go live among the children of Africa to care for them. What a selfless soul and wonderful role model!
Adult written by KitschWitch

A great favorite in my house is Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair". This is a fantasy book with references to a lot of great literary novels and characters (such as Jane Eyre). And the heroine is irresistible--gutsy, funny, ordinary-looking, clever and tough... no stereotypes here. This is the sort of book I read (to myself and my daughter) to remind us that women can do and be anything, and that it should just be taken for granted.
Parent of a 5, 7, and 9 year old written by caro73

Yes, yes yes! 'The Eyre Affair' by Jasper Fforde is probably my favourite book ever, and one I recommend to my senior English students. My own daughters are too young but I can't wait for them to be old enough to read it. The thing that is so great, apart from Thursday being such a fun and capable character (and I love how Landon supports and adores her despite the fact that their lives are continuously turned upside down) is that the metafictional structure behind the detecting and adventure is so clever. In the sequels, look out for Thursday's daughter who is a scientist genius as well as a surly teenager. Love her.
Parent of a 10 and 13 year old written by Sandra Smith

My daughter and I loved the book The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. The main charachter was a native american girl growing up in Minnesota. It is historical fiction but very strong female characters.
Adult written by MontessoriMo

I'd add Code Name Verity to the teen list. It's got great heroic young women and informs about women pilots' training in WWII England.
Parent written by Triple Threat Mommy

I LOVE reading the Anne of Green Gables series, and I can't wait for my daughters to read them. Anne is a feisty, strong girl who I saw a lot of myself in when I read the books as a 6th grader.


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