40 Children’s Books with Strong Female Characters

If you’re looking for strong female characters to be role models for your girls, then have we got plenty to choose from! These amazing girls and women show that true strength comes in many forms.

Ogre Enchanted

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him. But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre! Stuck in this new and confusing form, Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal — or else be stuck as an ogre forever. But this clever heroine is determined to defy expectations and outwit the fairy’s curse.

Ella Enchanted

At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift — the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate…

Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki — and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly. But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny. Now the spirited Perry must overcome deeply rooted prejudice — including her own — to heal her broken country.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

The two princesses of Bamarre couldn’t be more different. Princess Addie is fearful and shy. Her deepest wish is for safety. Princess Meryl is bold and brave. Her deepest wish is to save the kingdom of Bamarre. They are sisters, and they mean the world to each other. Then disaster strikes, and Addie — terrified and unprepared — sets out on a perilous quest. In her path are monsters of Bamarre: ogres, specters, gryphons, and dragons. Addie must battle them, but time is running out, and the sisters’ lives — and Barmarre’s fate — hang in the balance.

City of Islands

Twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean. Then Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures that haven’t existed in the city for centuries — all humming with a powerful spell-song. Convinced her discovery will earn her the opportunity to study magic, Mara shares them with the Lady. But instead of a reward, the Lady gives Mara a new challenge: to sneak into the island fortress, the Winter Blade. Now Mara must dive deeper than ever before to survive her mission. The chilling truths that Mara uncovers along the way, about her past as well as about the secrets of her beloved city, are more dangerous — and magical — than she ever imagined.

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil #2: A World Without Princes

The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After

The School for Good and Evil #4: Quests for Glory

The School for Good and Evil #5: A Crystal of Time

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil. The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed — Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?

The Lost Frost Girl

With a name like hers, Owl never expected her life to be normal, at home or at school. But when Owl finds out that she is Jack Frost’s daughter, her world shifts beyond what she could ever imagine. Determined to meet him, Owl delves into Jack’s wonderful world of winter and magic — the kind of place she thought only existed in fairy tales. And as she notices frost patterns appearing on her skin and her tears turning to ice, Owl starts to wonder if being Jack Frost’s daughter means that she has powers of her very own.

Sisters of Glass

Daughters of Steel

Halan is a powerless princess. She is heir to the Magi Kingdom, a blazing desert land ruled by ancient magic. But unlike every royal before her, Halan has no magical powers of her own. Nalah is a powerful pauper. The glassblower’s daughter, she lives in the land of New Hadar, where magic is strictly outlawed. But Nalah has a powerful force growing within her — one she can’t always control. One girl fears magic, one worships it. But when a legendary mirror connects them, Nalah and Halan finally meet — and must work together to save their two worlds, before everything they know is shattered forever.

One Amazing Elephant

Twelve-year-old Lily Pruitt loves her grandparents, but she doesn’t love the circus — and the circus is their life. She’s perfectly happy to stay with her father, away from her neglectful mother and her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace. Then Grandpa Bill dies, and both Lily and Queenie Grace are devastated. When Lily travels to Florida for the funeral, she keeps her distance from the elephant. But the two are mourning the same man — and form a bond born of loss. And when Queenie Grace faces danger, Lily must come up with a plan to help save her friend.

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration — but, once again, she is told she’s too young.

Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas — witches of Mexican ancestry — who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business — even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort

When Maggie discovers that a pillow in the back of her pillow fort mysteriously leads right into her best friend Abby’s pillow fort, the two friends are suddenly just an arm’s length away. Soon they’re adding links and building more forts, until Maggie looks behind one pillow too many and finds herself face-to-face with…the authorities. Turns out a massive network of linked-up pillow and sofa forts already spans the globe, and the kids who run it are not happy with Maggie and Abby. With just three days to pass their outrageous entrance requirements or lose the links forever, Maggie and Abby pull out all the stops to try to save their network. But can their friendship — and their scrappy homemade network — survive the mission?

Evangeline of the Bayou

Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills so she can finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors. But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Mya in the Middle

Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is boot-scootin’ excited for the best week of the whole school year — SPIRIT WEEK! She and her megapopular best friend, Naomi Jackson, even made a pinky promise to be Spirit Week partners so they can win the big prize: special VIP tickets to the Fall Festival! But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate — the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it. Good gravy. Now Naomi is friend-ending mad at Mya for breaking a promise — even though Mya couldn’t help it — and everyone at school is calling Mya names. Can Mya work with Mean Connie to win the VIP tickets and get her best friend back?

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting #2: Beasts & Geeks

When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson’s Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman’s minions and Kelly learns there’s a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch.

Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob’s nightmares to life. But when the monsters’ trail leads to her school’s big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world — without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends.

June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny

June Sparrow and her best friend — a miniature pig named Indigo Bunting — have always been just fine on their own. June is a wealthy orphan who’s lived in New York City her whole life. But on June’s twelfth birthday, she suddenly loses her fortune and is forced to move in with an aunt she’s never even met, in the tiny town of Red Bank, South Dakota, a place so small that it doesn’t even have a traffic light.

When June finds a mysterious Penny Book that her mother used to keep, she is instantly intrigued by what her mother called the Big One, the rarest and most valuable of all pennies. Finding it could be June’s ticket back to New York and her old life. But the only guide June and Indigo have is a cryptic list her mom left behind. To decode the list and find the Big One, June and Indigo enlist the help of some new friends in Red Bank and turn the town upside down in their search. But the most surprising mystery of all may be what brought June to Red Bank in the first place — and what is most valuable to her in the end.

The Summer of Bad Ideas

Twelve-year-old Edie and her impossibly cool cousin, Rae, set out to complete a mysterious list of “Good Ideas for Summertime” that their eccentric late grandmother wrote back when she was their age. But good ideas? Most of them seem like bad ideas. Reckless. Foolish. Ridiculous. Still, by accomplishing everything on the list, rule-abiding Edie feels certain that she can become the effortlessly brave adventurer she dreams of being, just like her daring cousin and bold grandmother. For this one summer at least, bad ideas are the best shot she has at becoming who she wants to be. Bad Idea Number One: It’s time for a new set of rules.

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City

A little pig in a big city leads to lots of trouble! Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old football jersey — a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm. Her name is Hamlet. The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And whoever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.

Dog Days in the City

Anytime Josie Shilling’s large family gets too chaotic, volunteering at the local animal clinic is the one place she can escape — and she loves working with the animals. But when a box mysteriously appears on the clinic’s front steps, Josie suddenly becomes responsible for seven adorable puppies! Taking care of her pig, Hamlet, last fall was a bit harder than she thought. So how is she ever going to handle a whole litter of mischievous pups and find the right homes for them all? This summer will bring big changes for Josie as she learns about growing up, letting go, and loving your pack no matter what.

The Countdown Conspiracy

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission — and everyone’s lives — are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Seismic Seven

Brianna Dobson has been chosen to work with world-renowned geologist Dr. Grier in Yellowstone National Park for the summer, and she couldn’t be more excited! But then Dr. Grier tells her and the other kids on the project the real reason she’s invited them to Yellowstone: a massive supervolcano in the park is about to erupt — and if they can’t stop it, Earth will be plunged into an endless winter, and civilization will be destroyed. Bri and her new friends are ready and willing to help stop the eruption, but unexpected dangers threaten to foil their efforts. Will the Seismic Seven be able to defy nature and save the world?

The Ramona series

Kids everywhere feel connected to Ramona’s unique way of looking at the world as she tries to adjust to new teachers, encounters bullies at school, and puts up with her bossy older sister. The scrapes she gets herself into — like wearing pajamas to school or accidentally making egg yolk shampoo — are funny and heartwarming, and sometimes embarrassing. No matter what, Ramona’s lively, curious spirit shines through.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl — and herself — than first meets the eye.

Inside Out and Back Again

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.

Margot and Mateo Save the World

When Margot Blumenthal removes a bright blue slug alien attached to Mateo Flores’s back, the school play co-stars know it’s definitely not going to be a regular day at West Cove Middle School. They reluctantly team up and soon discover that the mayor and countless other adults, including Mateo’s dad, are infected — which means that West Cove, and possibly all of Earth, is in danger. What will they (and their new scientist friend) do? Ditch class and protect humankind, of course — because one unexcused absence doesn’t matter when the world is at stake!

Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

In the absurd land of Nth, Thisby Thestoop can be found within the forlorn walls of Castle Grimstone, down the precarious steps of the Black Mountain dungeon. When the much too good-looking Princess Iphigenia winds up lost in the tunnels of the dungeon — without her guards, her staff, or her younger twin brother — it’s up to Thisby to guide the princess safely past the hoards of minotaurs, wyverns, ghouls, and who-knows-what-else. If they’re going to rescue the missing prince, stop a mounting war, and keep safe all the creatures who call the mountain dungeon home, Thisby and Princess Iphigenia will have to learn how to trust each other.

Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere

Olga: We’re Out of Here!

When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science — learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!

Just Like Jackie

For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it’s just been her and Grandpa. He taught her about cars, baseball, and everything else worth knowing. But Grandpa’s memory has been getting bad — so bad that he sometimes can’t even remember Robbie’s name. She’s sure that she’s making things worse by getting in trouble at school, but she can’t resist using her fists when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom.

Now she’s stuck in group guidance — and to make things even worse, Alex Carter is there too. There’s no way Robbie’s going to open up about her life to some therapy group, especially not with Alex in the room. Besides, if she told anyone how forgetful Grandpa’s been getting lately, they’d take her away from him. He’s the only family she has — and it’s up to her to keep them together, no matter what.

Echo’s Sister

Twelve-year-old El has planned on making her first week at a new school fantastic. She won’t go by her given name, Laughter. She’ll sit in the back of the classroom where she can make new friends. She won’t even have time to think about all the fun her old friends are having without her. Everything will be great. But when her dad picks her up after school and tells her that her younger sister, Echo, has a life-threatening illness, her world is suddenly turned upside down. And with her parents now pressed for time and money, El feels lost and powerless. Then she befriends Octavius, the only other kid in school who gets what she’s going through. As El begins to adjust to her new life, she soon finds that maybe a little hope and a lot of love can overcome any obstacle.

Positively Izzy

Middle school is all about labels. Izzy is the dreamer. There’s nothing Izzy loves more than acting in skits and making up funny stories. The downside? She can never quite focus enough to get her schoolwork done. Bri is the brain. But she wants people to see there’s more to her than just a report card full of As. At the same time, she wishes her mom would accept her the way she is and stop bugging her to “break out of her shell” and join drama club. The girls’ lives converge in unexpected ways on the day of a school talent show, which turns out to be even more dramatic than either Bri or Izzy could have imagined.

Bobbie Mendoza Saves the World (Again)

Some nasty imaginary creatures have just escaped into the real world, and it’s an emergency! Bobbie and her friends must take on unicorns, farting spiders, a giant nightmare squid, and a scary Viking bounty hunter who is determined to land the whole gang in Trans-Dimensional prison. But Bobbie will learn that sometimes the things that scare us most aren’t actually so terrifying once you’ve faced them.

A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem #1: A Dastardly Plot

It’s 1883 — the Age of Invention! A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a land of limitless opportunity. And it all happens at the world famous Inventor’s Guild headquarters in New York City — a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck can find you rubbing elbows with these gods of industry who will usher humanity into the future. Unless, of course, you’re a woman.

Molly Pepper, daughter of brilliant but unknown inventor Cassandra Pepper, lives with her mother in New York. By day, they make ends meet running a pickle shop; but by night, they toil and dream of Cassandra taking her place among the most famous inventors in America. In an attempt to find a way to exhibit Cass’s work at the World’s Fair, they break into the Inventor’s Guild, where they discover a mysterious plot to destroy New York. The evidence points to the involvement of one of the world’s most famous inventors, and now it’s up to Molly, Cassandra, and a shop hand named Emmett Lee to uncover the truth — even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.