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  • Writer's pictureAmy L. Sullivan

Authors Reveal Their Favorite Children’s Picture Books

A year ago, I looked at my daughters’ bookshelf and noticed it resembled a TV listing.

Of course we owned the classics, but our bookshelf also contained a disproportionate amount of books on premade princesses, talking ponies, multiple fairies, a girl who liked to dress-up named Nancy, and let’s not forget the ever popular shopping bag and friends with bulging eyes (oh beloved Shopkins, you are just plain strange).

We owned children’s Bibles and a handful of Christian reads, but as I stared at the shelf, I noticed our family was missing picture books which contained strong female protagonists. Where were the stories of girls who liked adventure and science? Where were the characters who showed bravery and kindness? Where were the main characters who loved God?

Books about strong girls are out there.

These books may not stare at us from the endcap of our favorite book seller, but they exist. Just ask today’s panel of experts: Teri Lynne, Tracy, Kate, Jessie, and Danielle. Not only do the following authors know something about raising girls, but they have agreed to share today about the picture books that have impacted them.


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Here we go! From Teri Lynne Underwood, founder of Prayers for Our Girls:


The Princess and the Kiss remains one of our favorite books—and my girl is now 16! The message of purity is, of course, one we wanted to instill in our girl from the beginning. But more than that, I love the way the book teaches how big decisions are often a series of small decisions, a daily choice to pursue godliness in every way.

Teri Lynne Underwood is a worship leader’s wife and cheerleader’s mom who writes in between loads of laundry and mourning the end of Downton Abbey. Blog || Prayers for Girls || Instagram || Facebook

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Owl Moon is about a little girl and her dad who go out on a snowy night in search of an elusive Great Horned Owl. While on their journey she learns how to be brave, be persistence, and have hope. This is one of my favorite books because it reminds us how children love exploring nature and that the adventure is that much sweeter when sharing it with a parent.

Tracy is an engineer, mom, and author of the book She Loves Science: A Mother’s Guide to Nurturing the Curiosity, Confidence, and Creativity of Her Daughter, and she writes of her daughter’s science adventures on her blog.

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From Kate Motaung, author of Letters to Grief:


Our family adores the Jamela books by Niki Daly, including Where’s Jamela?, Happy Birthday, Jamela, and Jamela’s Dress. Our favorite book is What’s Cooking, Jamela? — a story about the time Jamela saved her chicken, Christmas, from becoming Christmas dinner. The Jamela series is set in South Africa and gives a glimpse into township culture through fun-loving characters and humorous sticky situations.

Kate Motaung is author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and writes at Heading Home.

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From Jessie Clemence, author of a slew of must-reads:


When I was a little girl I loved Strawberry Shortcake and the Winter That Would Not End, by Alexandra Wallner. Worried because the never-ending winter is seriously messing with their berry crops, the Strawberry Kids band together to go get the Ice Crystal back from the nasty badger who stole it. Strawberry Shortcake leads the way with bravery and kindness, of course, making sure the winter ends and the badger finds new friends. The writing and illustrations are classic, true to their 1982 origins.

Jessie Clemence is a writer and blogger from southwest Michigan. You can find her at jessieclemence.com.

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From Danielle Ayers Jones, author of Celebrate! Holiday Picture Books for Children:


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Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Alice’s grandfather tells her when she grows up she must do something to make the world more beautiful, but Alice doesn’t know what it could be. In the meantime she grows up, becomes a librarian, and then travels the world. But when she buys an old house by the sea, she discovers exactly what that beauty will be.

Danielle Ayers Jones seeks to find beauty in the everyday, joy in hardship, and encouragement in unexpected places, and you can find her blogging, and on Instagram and Twitter.

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Over the last six months, I’ve worked hard to include more girl-centered reads on our bookshelves. Here is a sampling of our favorites.


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But I am always looking to add to my list. Here’s the part where you come in. Recommend away, my friends! Hey, and make sure to click around some of the links from our guests. Each of the authors listed are working on fun projects.

What picture books inspire your girl? What picture books inspire you? Any long ago or current favorites?

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