Throughout my K-12 education, I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to a collection of wonderful novels. Below are five of the novels I have read that range in reading level that every girl should try and read. They cover a myriad of topics including feminism, friendship and supporting others, strength, etc...
1. "The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch
This book is about a young girl named Princess Elizabeth who goes on the quest to save Prince Ronald from a dragon attack. It is a children's book meant for elementary-school children, and very simply, it effectively reverses the roles of the traditional "damsel in distress" role that many fairy tales commonly convey. It is an inspiring book for young girls and boys alike, and it makes a wonderful Christmas present for young girls!
2. "The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes
This book is about a young girl named Wanda Petronski who is bullied by her classmates for wearing the same dress everyday. However, the book shifts to discuss her friend Maddie, who struggles to stand up for Wanda until it's too late. The story discusses the importance of not being a bystander and what true friendship really means. It won the Newbery Honor Award and is a must-read for young girls.
3. "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott
One of my favorite childhood books, "Little Women" is a classic novel about four sisters who discover their individual identities and learn what is truly important to each of them in life. It is a coming-of-age novel that discusses the ups and downs of their lives and how each young woman deals with personal struggles in different ways.
4. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
Published in 1960 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a classic novel that discusses feminist protagonist, Scout Finch, who strives to achieve racial and gender equality in the midst of the Great Depression. It is beautifully written and is definitely a must-read!
5. "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur
This collection of poems by Rupi Kaur is about love, courage, sexuality, and learning of the self, and it is absolutely phenomenal. I absolutely recommend it to high school and college students. One example of her poems is the following:
...you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but I was not made with a fire in my belly
so I could be put out
I was not made with a lightness in my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
I was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget but
not easy for the mind to follow.