8 Empowering Books Every Strong, Smart Girl Needs to Own

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During these past few months of blogging, I’ve been pretty transparent about my girl power attitude and my determination to raise my daughter to be strong and self-confident. (If you’re new to the site, you can see what I’m talking about here, here, or here.)

Books have played an enormous part in the process.

I live for books with strong female protagonists, but there are a few in Baby Bird’s collection that have really struck a chord with me. Some we’ve read over and over. Others I’m keeping until she’s older. All will help me teach Baby Bird that she’s powerful, wonderful, and more than capable of saving the world.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion. In most versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Red and Grannie are rescued by a woodcutter. In this gorgeously illustrated book by Alex T. Smith, Little Red saves herself and her auntie, Rosie. More importantly, she teaches the lion the valuable lesson of asking for what you want instead of using deception to get it. Little Red is fearless, sassy, and funny, and the book is the perfect vehicle to show little girls that they can win against the lions in their lives.

Dream Big, Little Pig. Poppy is a pig with her sights set high, but she takes some knocks while trying to follow her dreams. With the encouragement of her family, she learns not to give up on herself, and that she can do anything as long as she keeps trying.

Me I Am. It’s not all about girl power, but “Me I Am” still deserves a place on this list. Jack Prelutsky’s work is a celebration of individuality and diversity. It’s perfect for teaching my child the beauty of being herself.

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink. I talk to Baby Bird all the time about doing anything and everything she sets her mind to. This book will help me reinforce that she can still be a princess and play in mud, love math, or kick butt. Note: This is not an anti-princess book.

Grace for President. We haven’t gotten into this one yet (Baby Bird’s a bit too young for the particulars of politics), but it’ll be a go-to in years to come. Kelly DiPucchio’s work will help me teach her about the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought — all of which she needs to rise to the top.

I Like Myself! This is an ode to self-esteem, and it encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves. I want Baby Bird to love her curly hair, brown skin, and beautiful mind, so this book is perfect for us.

Beautiful. Beautiful girls are empowered, smart, and strong. Beautiful girls are bold, kind, and aren’t afraid to live loudly. Stacy McAnulty’s book teaches kids that “beautiful” doesn’t fit neatly into a box, and that they don’t have to conform into stereotypes or gender roles.

Corduroy. OK, I know this doesn’t fit the theme, but I really love this book. Yes, Corduroy is the primary character, but he’s saved by a loving little brown girl who’s financially responsible. (Gotta love a child who can pay her own way.) Plus, her mom’s posture is INSANE. Two strong women, one rocking book.

There’s so much to appreciate here.

Scene from

Her back is ramrod straight!

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Eight Empowering Books Every Strong, Smart Girl Needs to Own

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