Saturday, August 10, 2013

August Picture Books 10 for 10 2013

Thanks, authors, for these inspiring Girl Power stories!  The Idea of “Girl Power” hitting home for me (with my own little ball of fire around the house these days) has inspired me to choose the August Picture Book 10 for 10 List this year with an emphasis on strong girl characters.  There are some new (and not so new) books that I cheer because of how they emphasize girls who are not in the “pink” state of mind.  Hooray for authors that choose the road less traveled these days and tell of adventure-minded girls.  Our adventure seeking girls deserve to have characters to look up to in stories.  I also tried to include a blend of fiction and informational text.  And so, here is my list for 2013 August Picture Book 10 for 10:

Thank you, Shana Corey for writing and Hadley Hooper for illustrating, Here Come the Girl Scouts  (2012).  The book is special because it tells of the adventurous thinking of Juilette Gordon Low, visionary founder of the Girl Scouts.  She was someone who made a difference to the world.  Why shouldn’t girls be able to do what the boys are doing?

Thank you, Kate Messner for writing and Brian Floca for illustrating Marty McGuire (2011).  The star is an adventure-minded little lady-Marty who is non-traditional and non-interested in all things princess.  Kate Messner wrote about her in a way that lets little girls know it’s ok if you don’t want to think like a princess.  She emphasizes the importance of a character who thinks outside the box-as we should be taking this approach with girls as well as boys.   

Thank you Corey Rosen Schwartz for writing and Dan Santat for illustrating The Three Ninja Pigs (2012).  When I first started reading it, I thought it was just another ninja book for boys-but (no spoiling intended), when I found out the third pig was a girl, I was impressed.  I started following Corey on Twitter (@coreyPBNinja) and got into a conversation with her about the girl power idea.  She shared with me that her daughter was the one that inspired her to make the third pig a girl!  And, Corey mentioned, that she was only 5 at the time.  Yay!  “Girl Power!” 

Thank you, Jane O’Connor for writing and Robin Priess Glasser for illustrating Fancy Nancy (2007).  Now, I know you’ve got to be thinking-girl power? and Fancy Nancy don’t mix-but actually, they do!  Because, Nancy is an inspirational character to girls as she is investigating her world and making sense of the wonderful words in it.  There are many, many Nancy stories around now.  So many that they have created a fancy world website. 

Thank you, Helen Recorvits for writing and Gabi Swiatkowska for illustrating My Name is Yoon (2003).  I picked this book because we have many girls (and boys) immigrating near our area these days.  I think it would inspire the girls to know that in their transition, they will adjust and need to hold on to what makes them special. 

Thank you, Alan Madison for writing and Kevin Hawkes for illustrating Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly (2010) because it’s inspirational!   Velma lives in the shadows of her older sisters but things change the day the butterfly lands on her finger and she turns into a nature lover.  It also reminds me that we need to know our students well and we must try our best to tap their interests as they enter our classrooms.

Thank you, Denise Brennan-Nelson & Rosemarie Brennan for writing and Cyd Moore for illustrating Willow (2008).  I picked Willow because she’s inspirational girl character too.  When I read this book, I could relate to her because I think I was sort of like her as a little girl-doing things in a non-traditional way and inspiring her teacher to use imagination and think of the possibilities.  

Thank you, Tanya Lee Stone for writing and Marjorie Priceman for illustrating Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors.  It’s the true story of Doctor Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor.  She was a persistent lady who would not give up on becoming a doctor (rejected 26 times for med school) and led the way for women to enter the medical profession.  Thank goodness for her perserverance!

Thank you Jesse Hartland for writing and illustrating Bon Apetit! (2012)  I picked this book because as a little girl, I remember my grandma watching Julia Child cooking every Sunday!  Julia was one of my gram’s favorites.  I am inspired by the many delicious facts that make up Julia’s story.  She was a great cook and a very interesting person.  

Thank you, Jennifer Fosberry for writing and Mike Litwin for illustrating My Name is Not Isabella (2010).  I like this story because Isabella shares her dreams of characteristics she sees in strong women as well as herself.  The women she aspires to in the story are Sally Ride, Annie Oakley and Rosa Parks to name a few but the one she is most inspired by is…I leave it to you to read and find out.   There is now a companion book for boys entitled, My Name is Not Alexander (I still need to read it).   I have decided Isabella will be my school year opening read aloud.  I found a poster and dream cards at this site:  I will print the cards and record the dreams of the students and post them to a bulletin board for others to read!  All goals begin with a dream!  What’s your dream this year?

As I close on this adventure of my 10 for 10 strong girl characters, I am glad I chose the “girl power” theme this year.  I think more authors are realizing that girl characters no longer have to be a part of the princess profile.  And, as we’ve seen through history, there are many more strong women who deserve to have their story told.  These women inspire me and I feel blessed that they have blazed a trail for me, my daughter and future generations of women.  What books could you recommend with strong girl characters?

Speaking of two inspiring women, I’d like to offer a special thank you to Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for hosting the August Picture Book 10 for 10.  You are both motivational forces in fostering a love of children’s literature.  You can also follow the event on Twitter at #pb10for10 –happy reading and spending everyone.


  1. What a great list of some favs (for me) and some newbies too (for me). I love the idea of strong characters (female and males) that can serve as role models for characters in our own lives.

  2. My Name is Not Isabella is one of Isabelle's favorite books! Have you read it to Nattie yet? Isabelle likes to fill in some of the words thanks to the great repetitive nature of the text!

    LOVE the theme for this list. There are a few titles I don't know that I'm going to buy!

  3. I really need to find VELMA - where have I been for two years?

    Thanks for a fun GIRL list!

  4. So nice to see some non-princess girl books! Thank you.

    Here's my list: Top Ten Edgy Picture Books.

  5. What a great theme, and I love the thread of thanks that you've woven through each book's description. This list would be a good one for our elementary school guidance counselor--will pass it along!

  6. Great list. Love the theme. My list for the library is getting longer and longer.

  7. Love your theme and your list. There are a few on here I haven't read, but will now!

  8. Love your theme and your list! Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett is also a good one for strong girl characters. Thanks for some great recommendations!

  9. Amy,
    Yay to girl power! What a wonderful collection of strong girl characters. So many of these title I just love: My Name is Not Isabella, My Name is Yoon, and Marty McGuire. So many of these titles I now want to read! My #tbr stack is growing.



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