Published: 2019
Theme: Speaking Up
Best for: 9 to 12

“Different isn’t wrong,” Pixit said with such utter certainty that Mina couldn’t help but believe him…Mina said, “I just need to find a different way, a way that works for me.” To get to the point, this is a must-read, about the power of children to change the world, finding their own voice along the way. Very inspiring fantasy that’s not so fantastical in the end!

Published: 2018
Theme: Fantasy; Courage
Best for: Girls age 11 and up

“I’ve been looking for a way to find out more about my powers, about my destiny. This is the sign I’ve been waiting for, I’m sure of it. This is where I need to go.” She pointed at her rough drawing of the shrine…” A sequel to Sisters of Glass, and every bit as dramatic and compelling. Fantasy genre.

Published: 2007
Theme: Historical Fiction; French Revolution
Best for: 11 and up

“I know how to make needle lace and sew and hem and build a fire and tend it and clean the ashes out. I can make tea and toast and cook a chicken if I have to. I can empty chamber post and scrub floors…” This very well-written historical fiction about the French Revolution is based on a true incident…

Published: 2018
Theme: Sexual Preferences
Best for: Girls 11 and up

“In the end, this was about me, not them,” Robin said, tapping her chest. “And the people in my life could either accept that or they could live without me.” Ivy swallowed hard. “Did anyone choose to…well…” “Live without me?” An excellent peek in the confusion that a young gay teen experiences as her preferences begin to emerge…

Published: 2017
Theme: Courage, Fantasy
Best for: girls 11 and up

“We will rise. We will not, cannot, be controlled through fear or hatred, for we have hope. Those who greedily hoard their power will find it slips through their fingers like sand. We are free.” This is a very dramatic fantasy, with two fabulous heroines leading us to right some wrongs…

Published: 2018
Theme: Indian Mythology, Courage
Best for: 9 to 11

People are a lot like magical pockets. They’re far bigger on the inside than they appear on the outside. And it was like that with Aru. She found a place deep within her that had been hidden until now… The first in a series on Indian mythology, similar to Percy Jackson, but much funnier and much lighter, and much more girl-friendly…

Published: 2004
Theme: Indian culture, Dealing with Divorce
Best for: Girls 10 and up

“Lakshmi Auntie drops Sumai off with us a couple of days later, and scurries a protesting Ashwin away for a haircut…The day promises to turn from plain hot to furnace hot.” In this multicultural children’s book set in India, a young girl grapples with the divorce of her parents, and memory loss of a family friend.

Published: 2000
Theme: Women Heroines
Best for: 5 to 10

“In the dark time of the year, when the days are short and a cold wind blows from the north, a serpent came to live in an old cave on the mountain of Yung Ling…” From time to time, it’s great to read about a young girl who takes on the challenge of slaying the perennial serpent. This children’s book is a lovely collection of such stories.

Published: 2017
Theme: Resisting Prejudice
Best for: 10 and up

“I’d been taught that our Bamarre were lucky to be ruled by us. Otherwise they would have been conquered by others, who would have killed them all. With us, they were safe and had duties and food.” A great and timely fantasy children’s book exploring the injustice of nations dominating nations, and the ill consequences of prejudice…

Published: 2012
Theme: Healing Relationships
Best for: 10 and up

“I felt like I was speaking a part in some out-of-date play. Who in the world calls their grandmother “Grandmother?” But “Grandma” didn’t seem to fit.” This children’s book is about relationships – between parents, children, grandparents, and friends, showing the way that misunderstandings can create distance, and communication can create love and warmth.

Published: 1987
Theme: Historical Fiction
Best for: 9 – 12

“The title ‘Joint Reign’ is a foolishment and emphasizes what I have always contended: that men are more fortunate than women. Joint reign! It is I who inspects, examines, weighs and wrings her brain …” Coming on the heels of an historic election, it is interesting to go back in history and understand more about the obstacles women faced hundreds of years ago.

Published: 2016
Theme: Coming of Age Fairytale
Best for: 9 to 12 girls

“The first time I tried my hand at magic, I grew roses out of my nose. This was not my intention… Magic is unpredictable, finicky, and dangerous, especially in the wrong hands.” This children’s book is best thought of as a modern-day Grimm’s fairytale. It has all the elements of Grimm stories, including the grim part…

Published: 2015
Theme: Mystery
Best for: Girls 9 – 12

“Leila breathed in the heavy scent of masala, nicked with the sharp undercurrent of gobi and war my oily parathas. She knew most of the dishes on her plate, and was determined to try everything…” The best part of this children’s book is the ending, where the resolution unfolds so skillfully, that only then did I realize the mystery … .

Published: 1990
Theme: Light Mysteries
Best for: 8 to 10

“I did not write a long letter to Aunt Veronica. All I did was introduce myself and tell her that the only reason why I had not written before was that my father had never told me of her existence.” The earliest writing of Alexander McCall Smith, this series of mystery books for children is easy to read, silly, and good entertainment.

Published: 2015
Theme: Raising Chickens
Best for: 9 and up

“Mom says she has no intention of ever being a farmer, even though she knows how to drive a tractor and prune grapes.. But if I’m going to live on a farm, I guess I might as well be a farmer…”This is a totally lovable book, and a very likable heroine, who is trying her best to learn all about chickens, one chicken at a time.

Published: 2015
Theme: Resilience
Best for: Girls 9 and up

“This semester you will be taking a very difficult course… You will be learning all about How to Find Your Way…You will be graded on the following: pluck, enthusiasm, spirit of adventure, brilliance, and self-reliance.” The moment I saw the motto of “The Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents” I knew I’d love this children’s book. Quoting Amelia Earhart, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself,”…

Published: 2005
Theme: Coming of Age
Best for: 12 and up

‘Tiffany had never been able to find out much about the librarians. They were a bit like the wandering priests and teachers who went even into the smallest, loneliest villages…It was said they could tell what book you needed just by looking at you…” The mastery of this children’s book is the way everything is woven artfully into one exquisite whole, even while each part, each character, stands out clearly…

Published: 2014
Theme: Parental Love
Best for: 8 and up

“An ache spread through Lexie, blurring her thoughts and stabbing her heart. All she really knew was how desperately she missed Mama. Grandma blamed Mama for everything. It wasn’t fair.”
What makes good parenting? Is love enough, or is something else needed? We address this head on…

Published: 2010
Theme: Fairytale
Best for: 9 and up

“My name is Zita, and I am the thirteenth of thirteen princesses. My twelve sisters have become the subject of legend, even in faraway kingdoms, but I am sure that you have never heard of me.” Thus begins a wonderfully written children’s book, with an entrancing retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, one of the Grimm fairytales…

Published: 1993
Theme: African-American History
Best for: ages 8-11

Sarah looked at Addy. “You is coming to school, ain’t you?” “Momma say I can go,” Addy answered. “That’s good,” said Sarah. “We learn to read and write…You gonna like school. You’ll see.” Written in dialect, an African-American girl’s journey from slavery to freedom unfolds in this series of historical fiction children’s books.