Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Storybooks with Girl Characters: Part 1

Recently I've seen several posts on social media that tell about the dearth of children's storybooks that feature a female as the main character. I went through my own library of children's books, and yes, there are a lot more children's books out there with male main characters.

As a parent of both girls and boys, I want there to be good and fun books for my boys and my girls. Often the main character is an insect or animal and often they are also male, but there are good books with female main characters; you just have to look for them. I think it is important for little boys and girls to see characters of both sexes in the books that are read to them.

Here are three of my favorites. I'll do a couple more blog posts in the future to highlight more books for girls.

1. Rodeo Red written by Maripat Perkins and illustrated by Molly Idle. Published in 2015, this book has a cute little redhead who goes by the name of Rodeo Red. She dresses in cowboy gear, can swing a lasso, and is quite creative. When Sideswiping Slim shows up (her new baby brother), Rodeo Red has to figure out a way to keep him happy while also keeping her stuffed hound dog, Rusty, as her favorite sidekick. She and Rusty "had always been happier than two buttons on a new shirt."
Unfortunately, her little brother takes a liking to Rusty, and she has to find a way to get her stuffed dog back in her arms.

This book has darling illustrations and is fun to read. Little children will probably not understand the figures of speech, but my three-year-old grandson likes this book.

2. Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae! written by Brad Wilcox and illustrated by Julie Olsen is another book about a little cowgirl. Annie McRae has curly, red hair and a gap tooth grin. She is a happy girl who has wonderful parents who cheer her on with the words "Hip, hip, hooray for Annie McRae!" When her parents have a day when they don't cheer her, Annie gets very sad, but she figures out how to cheer for herself using the internal dialogue that her parents have given her.

The pictures are darling and Annie McRae is full of life. I love the facial expressions in this story. I was fortunate enough to take a college class from Brad Wilcox and he told us about the creation of this book. He is an author who truly cares about people. This book was published  in 2001 and is currently out of print although you can still find it online for a good price.

3. Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian was published in 1965, and it was my favorite picture book when I was little. I love the pictures in this book and how Balian uses text size and placement to complement the telling of this story. This book is about a red-headed little witch whose spells don't work right. She has a cat named Fred and this book has a surprise ending. This book completely delighted me when I was a girl, and luckily, it is still in print.

All three of these characters have red hair, and all are imaginative and strong.

Do you have a favorite children's book with a female lead?

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

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