Friday, May 29, 2009

5 books that every little girl should own

1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is the classic, of course. It's the book that tells us "all girls are princesses." More importantly, it shows girls what it means to be a true princess, to be brave and kind even in the face of cruelty and suffering. This is a book that will grow up with you; it's as enjoyable at age seven as at forty. As much an example of good and gracious living as a lovely story, this book should be read often by every girl.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

There's something about this book that makes it always fresh. It became my instant favorite when I first read it at age 10, and I love it even more now than I did then. Every girl relates best to one of the four sisters- Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (I was always a Meg girl myself). This book is a continual inspiration that it is not enough to settle for being a nice person, but to instead improve oneself and grow in goodness to become an excellent human being. It's also a charming story of love and friendship, and of four girls growing up long ago. I have yet to meet a girl who didn't love it. I also recommend the rest of the series; Little Men and Jo's Boys are an enjoyable continuation of the March saga.

3. Peter Pan by James M. Barrie

Don't tell me it's a boy's book. It's not. Read about Wendy mothering Peter and her darling Lost Boys, about her heartache over Peter as she grows up without him, and you will see that this book speaks to any girl's heart. Also read about the daring sword fights and madcap adventures and you will see that it satisfies every girl's longing for adventure. Peter Pan is clever and fun, a celebration of childhood innocence. It is also a hauntingly beautiful reminder that time can not be stopped and that growing up is inevitable. It gives voice to ideas that children often feel but can't explain, making it an obvious favorite for children and adults alike.

One crucial point: when you read this book, you simply must find the edition illustrated by Scott Gustafson. His artwork makes the story come alive. No other edition can compare.

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

For one thing, this is the book that shows girls that science is fascinating. It also introduces us to the exceptional Meg Murry, who can't fit in no matter how hard she tries- and finally learns to like herself just as she is. It is a stunning portrait of family loyalty. It encourages readers to fight evil and injustice with an abundance of good. Finally, its message that love can overcome all obstacles will resonate with readers of any age, making this book a perennial favorite. I recommend the sequel A Swiftly Tilting Planet as well.

5. Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This book is so underappreciated that very few people have heard of it, yet it is a beautiful work that can stand alone apart from the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series. It tells the story of Rilla, who comes of age during World War I. She matures from a spoiled child to a wise, caring young woman through her often comic and sometimes tragic adventures. You will enjoy the hilarious vignettes of daily life in the early 1900s and Montgomery's astute understanding of human nature. The depth and beauty of this novel, the best in the Anne series, merit the status of a classic.

Are these the same books you would have on your list? What other books should every little girl own?

1 comment:

  1. Peter Pan is not not a boy's book. I appreciate that it can be very enjoyable for girls, but it is still a great read for a young boy. It's good for boys and girls.
    Wrinkle in Time isn't bad for boys either.