If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of strong, intelligent female heroines in books. (I was that person who, while reading the Divergent series, fist-pumped and hissed “YESSSSSS” like a crazy person. More than once. Often in public. #BookNerdProblems)
Lucky for us, there are plenty of stories out there featuring strong, brave, intelligent women. Children’s books, teen literature, adult fiction, biographies— there are plenty of volumes out there to satisfy. Women’s History Month may be drawing to a close, but your pursuit of great female protagonists shouldn’t!
I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer – A fantastic volume from Meltzer’s I Can Change the World series, all of which I love! The illustrations in this book are so charming, and the kid-friendly packaging of facts makes Earhart an accessible historical figure.
El Deafo by Cece Bell – This book has received a lot of attention lately as a result of being a 2015 Newbery Honor Book, and rightfully so. While Bell isn’t a historical figure, this autobiographical graphic novel makes it clear that she is worthy of role-model status for today’s young readers. Arresting illustrations pair with her life story of growing up deaf. I loved this book; I thought it was rich and real and something that both kids and adults can appreciate.
The Jewel by Amy Ewing - This book is the start to one of my new favorite YA series. Built on the dystopian issues and questions that Margaret Atwood raised in A Handmaid’s Tale, Ewing introduces us to a world wherein teenage girls are auctioned off to wealthy residents of The Jewel. Once sold to a rich family, our heroine Violet must learn to survive without compromising her own principles. I love that this book balances page-turning intrigue with great writing. It’s a great read for older teens who liked The Selection or Matched series, or who may have dabbled in Atwood already.
Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter - This book is a fictionalized account of the Egyptian princess Cleopatra Selene’s capture and imprisonment in Rome. If you have a passing interest in Ancient Rome and/or Ancient Egypt, this book features rich historical detail that will sweep you away to another time and place. Well-researched and based in fact, this story features fleshed out characters and plot to make Cleopatra Selene’s story real for readers.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – If you love a great romance but can’t stand love-stricken women who forget how to assemble an intelligent sentence, this book is for you. There’s also a television series out, for those of you who love a good screen adaptation. The heroine of this book, Claire Randall, is a nurse who has just finished serving in World War II. When she’s hurtled back in time by forces she can’t understand, she must suddenly navigate 1700s Scotland unequipped and alone. This book is the first in an epic and long-running series. I was completely engrossed for the last few-hundred pages. You’ll fall in love with these characters and the world Gabaldon builds!
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – I’m going to use the old cliché here, but this book really did make me laugh and cry. If you’re a fan of Poehler’s humor, she covers her career to date in this book, and touches on some personal topics beyond the stage as well. Poehler’s voice in this book is strong, hilarious, intelligent, and real—and the audiobook is a treat, too, with cameos by a number of her famous friends.
PS: The utlra cool lady pictured above is Ms. Marion Rock, the First Librarian at Carnegie Library in Oklahoma City (c. 1906).