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  • Writer's pictureAmy L. Sullivan

Strong Girls Can: Picture Books That Inspire Girls


In the Sullivan house, our girls like to build new inventions out of string and rocks, and we like worms (at least the six-year-old does). We have a tae kwon do, yellow belt who resides in a room with pink polka dots on the walls, and a girl who marches out to the front porch every morning to stare at the moths still lingering around. We have a daughter we have nicknamed Safety Joe and another daughter who would throw herself from a moving car.

The interests of my girls can be captured in the pages of picture books. That’s the beauty of books. It’s the idea that there are others like you, others who share your same interests and live out the dreams bouncing around your head. Girls who may not be real but who have stories readers like to imagine for themselves.

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Welcome to our #StrongGirlsCan summer series! It’s a place where we talk about all things girl. This week’s focus is books that inspire girls. Read on to find out about some of the Sullivan girls’ favorite picture book characters (who also happen to be strong girls!).

Strong girls build. Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty. This gem recently found its way into our mailbox and heart (thank you, Aunt Sara!). The main character, Rosie, builds a heli-o-cheese-copter that only flies for a moment and then crashes to the ground. Rosie declares her invention a failure, but her aunt deems the heli-o-cheese-copter a success.

Strong girls take tae kwon do. JoJo’s Flying Sidekick by Brian Pinkney. JoJo’s family tries to give her advice on how-to earn her yellow belt. Yellow belts = very big deal!

Strong girls study butterflies. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Allan Madison. Perfect if you have a butterfly lover in your house—we do, we do! This sweet book about everything butterfly and adorable Velma Gratch, will be an instant hit.

Strong girls make mistakes. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubenstein. Great read for all budding perfectionists. Beatrice never ever makes mistakes, until she does, eeek.

Strong girls keep going, even when it is hard. Keep Climbing, Girl by Beah E. Richards. Important message about preserving accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

Strong girls love worms. Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler. Winnie Finn loves wiggly earthworms and wants to enter one in Quincy County Fair.

Strong girls take risks. Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marrisa Moss. In the 1920s and 1930s, girls didn’t fly, but that didn’t stop Maggie Gee from dreaming of the wide-open skies.

Strong girls play baseball. Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan. Yay for the women athletes who have encouraged us throughout the years! This book is based on memories of actual players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Your turn. Do you have a favorite picture book character? 

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