For those of us who have daughters, I’m sure many of us have thought about how to raise strong girls. These are some of the best books for girls to help your daughter foster her own positive self-image and self-esteem.
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My toddler is already a little bookworm. She loves being read to and this normally very active, hard-to-sit-still kid will cuddle on my lap for an hour at a time reading with me. It’s bliss time for this mama, not to mention infinitely more relaxing than most of the rest of our day.
I pay attention to the books that come into our house whether we own them or they’re borrowed from the library. Kids are little sponges, and they like repetition. The more they hear a message, the more it will sink in. You never know what way these messages they get from the books we read to them will be reflected as they get bigger. I want the messages she gets from the books we read to be good ones.
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Books for raising strong daughters
This doesn’t mean the books have to be only positive or all have to have an obvious moral. There can be conflict, and we love silly books like all books by the brilliant Sandra Boynton. But with so much pressure on girls these days to look a certain way, and with this pressure being put on younger and younger girls, I want to help show my daughter different ways of being in the world.
The books below are all fantastic for raising strong daughters. There are a variety of books for daughters, from young toddlers up to middle school aged girls and beyond. We own half of them and read and reread them over and over. I don’t mind at all if what I am teaching my daughter through this repetition is to like herself, or that she can be a pilot or an engineer when she grows up.
Best books for girls
This was one of the first books from this list of best books for girls that I read to my daughter. She was maybe two weeks old. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get through it without tears (dang those postpartum hormones!). This book is a modern-day fairy-tale with wishes that the parent hopes for her little girl. The book was a gift from a friend who owns a bookstore. He really knows his stuff and picked a great one that I hadn’t heard of before! The illustrations in this book are beautiful too. I’ve already bought this one as a gift for other friends who have had daughters.
This book has 100 bedtime stories about 100 real women from the past and the present and it’s illustrated by female artists from around the world . Parents will find this book super interesting too and you will definitely learn something from reading it. It is the perfect before bed book to read to your daughter.
Violet the pilot is a classic underdog story about a science-loving little girl named Violet. She’s a spunky inventor who gets teased at school but ultimately saves the day. Your little ones will fall in love with Violet!
We’re a family that loves hiking so this title got me right away. I’m pretty sure some princesses do wear hiking boots! Our daughter has been hiking up in the Yukon about a month after she learned how to walk and she recently hiked with me in the Canadian Rockies on our family road trip. Do princesses climb trees or ride tricycles or do chores? You’ll have to read this one to find out.
This is an empowering book for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged girls. Toddlers and preschoolers generally don’t have too much trouble with self-esteem but they will love the enthusiasm in this book. When girls start going to school is when sometimes they need some help to keep up their positive self-image. Heck it would probably help all of us if we looked in the mirror every morning and said “I like myself!” This is a sweet and silly book that is body-positive and self-positive. A must read!
Next up on the list of best books for daughters is a book about having the courage to be yourself even when faced with a bully. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy and has a voice like “a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor.” She has some challenges when confronted with a bully at a new school but ultimately comes out victorious and with self-esteem intact. This is a good book for 4-8 year old girls.
We live in a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of young kids and are lucky to have some great neighbors. Our next-door neighbors have become friends and have introduced us to several great kids’ books since our daughter was born. One of these is Rosie Revere Engineer, which our toddler pronounces “Rosie Rear, Engine Ear”. We read this one several times a day; it’s definitely a favorite in our house. The Big Project Book for Bold Engineers is a companion activity book. There are STEM projects and activities that kids can do and it is an excellent add-on to the main book.
This is a good book for girls 8 and up. It is an ode to female inventors and is another book where the parents will learn as much as the kids you’re reading to. You’ll be inspired and entertained to read the real stories of the women who invented the windshield wiper and the chocolate chip cookie (where would we be without chocolate chip cookies??!). There are even stories of a ten-year-old inventor and an eleven-year-old inventor!
Final thoughts on these best books for girls
I have absolutely nothing against princess books and we have those too (though we do have more of the Paper Bag Princess variety!) My daughter doesn’t have to be an engineer or a pilot or invent something grand. She can have a more stereotypically female job or she can stay home and have the amazing, challenging job of raising children. I will be there to support her and have her back with what she chooses and where her life takes her. These best books for daughters present options and that’s what I want her to know she has.
If you have little ones that are learning how to read, check out my friend Lisa Tanner’s 393 page eBook Teaching Reading Through Play. It’s a lovely, gentle way to teach reading that your kids will love! And p.s., Lisa is a homeschooling mama of nine kids so she knows her stuff! ❤️
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Any other best books for girls you would add to this list? We’re always looking for more to read over here!