Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This One’s for the Girls… Older Girls!

From girly girl picture books to something for an older audience. The picture books were all about pink, frills and princesses. These titles are equally for the girls, but these heroines are feisty and adventurous. They’re tough, but caring; they struggle; they learn; they grow. Their stories are those “coming of age” ones I love so much. And two authors are must reads in this category.

Shannon Hale:
Her website has reading guides on each book and her blog is always interesting!
Princess Academy (Gr. 4 and up)- Do not be dissuaded by the word “princess” in the title. This is about a girl finding out who she is, her worth in her father’s eyes (allegory alert!), and much more. Love it!
Goose Girl (Gr. 6 and up)- This is a modern take on the Grimm fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen. Enna Burning and River Secrets (and a fourth on the way!) in the Bayern series round out the stories of Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee and her friends.
Book of a Thousand Days (Gr. 6 and up)- This is another retelling of a Grimm fairy tale. Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren are shut in a tower for seven years because the lady refuses to marry a man she despises. Eventually they escape, but the story’s just beginning.

Alison Croggon:
The Books of Pellinor (Gr. 6 and up)- I describe this to people as “the female version of the Lord of the Rings”. Croggon isn’t Tolkien, but she’s better than a lot of recent imitators. These books are more challenging, but it’s well worth the effort! Maerad of Pellinor discovers she’s a bard. What all that entails would be too difficult to summarize, but with the help of her mentor, Cadvan, Maerad begins to discover her calling. Like Frodo in TLotR, Maerad is the “Chosen One”. Yes, this is a battle between good and evil (the Light and Dark). Maerad faces many obstacles. What I love about this character is that Maerad uses these as growing opportunities. This story begins with The Naming and continues in The Riddle, The Crow (which focuses on a secondary character from the previous books), and will conclude in the fourth book, The Singing, to be released sometime in 2008.

These two women can write! They pull you into their character’s world. I’ve recommended these books, particularly the Shannon Hale ones, to readers from 4th grade to my mom’s age (love you mom!) and every single woman has told me they loved them!

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