Brave & Daring Girls

Southeast LibraryRead Feed

Brave & Daring Girls

Fiction for Ages 8 to 12

At the Southeast Library, our Kids’ Book Club meets once a month to discuss a book, enjoy snacks, and do an interactive activity (ages 8 to 12, last Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. – check out our calendar!). As much fun as the meetings are, my favorite part comes at the end: the participating kids vote on which book they will read and discuss the following month.

Over the months, the books we’ve read have varied in subject and genre, but one delightful pattern I’ve noticed is that the participants tend to choose – not exclusively, but quite frequently – books with brave, adventurous girls as main characters. So here, inspired by the kids’ book club, is a list of stories with courageous, daring, intelligent girls at their centers. Titles that have actually been chosen by the book club in previous months are noted with an asterisk (*).

*Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
It's 1899, and Serafina and her father secretly live deep, deep down in the basement of the massive Vanderbilt Estate, where her father is in charge of maintenance. For reasons Serafina doesn't quite understand, she and her father must live in there in secrecy -- otherwise, he assures her, they are in great danger. Serafina spends her days hiding and watching the estate residents from afar and her nights catching rats. But when children begin disappearing from the estate one by one, Serafina risks everything in order to solve the mystery. This genre-defying tale (is it historical fiction? fantasy? horror? thriller?) has plenty of fodder for discussion.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
This award-winning graphic novel follows Astrid, a 12-year-old Portland kid who has just recently become somewhat of a social outcast, through her summer at a roller derby camp, where she learns to jam, block, fall, believe in herself, and be a better friend. Plus, the derby fashion is on point. This is a great read-alike for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Drama and Smile, and Jennifer Holm's Sunny Side Up

*Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon
Set in a dystopian future, this is the story of 12-year-old Robyn Loxley, the curious, tinkering daughter of two members of Parliament. After returning home one night from a junkyard electronics forage, Robyn finds her house ransacked and her parents gone. Propelled into hiding and into action, she falls in with other kids in desperate situations as they bravely defy an oppressive, corrupt government of lead by the evil Governor Crown. This re-imagining of Robin Hood is an exciting first in a new series. 

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (*Ghosts of Tupelo Landing)
Found washed ashore as a baby in Tupelo Landing, a small North Carolina town, Mo LeBeau is raised by the mysterious Colonel and Miss Lana, the owner and hostess of a cafe, respectively. Mo is whip-smart and curious, so when a murder investigation arises in her town and the Colonel and Miss Lana become mixed up in it, Mo doesn't just sit back or feel sorry for herself; she and her best friend Dale take control, set up shop as detectives, and uncover important secrets about the pasts of their families, neighbors, and town. All of the characters in Tupelo Landing are interesting and quirky, and Mo is one of the most hilarious narrators I've ever spent time with.

*Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Emily's family moves a lot, so making friends is hard. But everywhere she goes, she can play her favorite game, Book Scavenger -- an interactive online book scavenger hunt. So Emily is over-the-moon when she moves to San Francisco, the home of the game's creator, Garrison Griswold. Better yet, it turns out that her new neighbor, James, is great at puzzles and down for hiding and searching for books with her. But when Griswold is mysteriously and brutally attacked and the future of Book Scavenger is uncertain, Emily and James find a very curious book at the site of the crime and must work to solve the most important puzzle of their lives. If you like mysteries, puzzles, games, and books, Book Scavenger was written for you.

The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle by Deva Fagan
Prunella is bad at being bad, but she wants to be bad so badly! She's a witch, but she can't produce proper curses and can't gain the respect of her fellow witches. Cast out of her community, she meets up with Barnaby, a thief who actually wants to be good. When together they discover that magic is slowly disappearing from the world they live in, Prunella and Barnaby set off on an adventure that reveals surprising truths about the nature of good and evil. 

*Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
With her wits as her guide, her hair as her lasso, and an unlikely friend -- Jack, of beanstalk fame -- at her side, Rapunzel saves the day in this graphic novel retelling of the classic fairy tale. Beautiful full-color artwork, a fun Western setting, and large doses of both humor and action will leave you wanting more, and luckily you can get it: check out the companion book, Calamity Jack

Lumberjanes, Volume  1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
Take a trip to the weirdest, coolest summer camp ever, where a diverse and quirky cast of campers and counselors form friendships, wind up on unintended adventures, and contend with the supernatural. Lumberjanes is being published as a single-issue comic series, and this book is the first collected volume (issues #1-4). The storylines are fast-paced and wacky, the characters are endearing, the art is fantastic, and the whole reading experience made me wish I could attend Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types. And if you can't get enough, don't worry; we have Lumberjanes, Volume 2: Friendship to the Max ready for you to check out next!

Happy reading!