I’m going to piggyback off a Twitter conversation started by David Kinney (Feminist Father) about all the books you should read to your daughter. He was inspired by this post by Carrots for Michaelmas. I just love the subtitle to her list: 10 Books You Must Read to Your Daughter (Or How to Keep Your Daughter from Ending Up Like that Horrid Girl in Twilight).
Sidenote: Just saw this Stephen King quote that made me smile: ”Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
Anywho, the original must-read list has some great classics and new classics, like Jane Eyre, Little House on the Prairie and Lord of the Rings, and some wise tweeter added The Handmaid’s Tale. I’d think that’s a tad mature, but whatever, save it for when she’s in high school. Here are a few I’d add:
- Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink
- Dealing with Dragons (and the rest of the Princess Cimorene set) – Patricia C. Wrede
- The Alanna Quartet – Tamora Pierce
- American Girls – Come on, history and girl power? Hard to resist…
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
What else would you add to a must-read list for parents requesting recommendations? In my opinion, the trick is not to avoid princesses, or romance (let’s just say the Alanna/John/George triangle occupied my adolescent imagination just as much as today’s tween thinks about Bella’s dilemma…), but to make sure the spectrum of books you read ultimately promotes creativity, confidence, self-sufficiency and all that good stuff.
When I look at my own list, I’m a little disappointed at how white it is. There must be some great YA books starring non-white heroines, right? House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros) comes to mind, and multi-cultural ensemble series (i.e. Animorphs, Babysitter’s Club, or Beacon Street Girls) usually have one or two non-white characters.
As an adult, my reading preferences are significantly more diverse than they ever were as a child. Is that because as an adult I’m curious about the experiences of people unlike me, and as a kid I wanted to see my experience (and appearance) reinforced in my books? Not sure, but I would love some diverse YA recommendations if you’ve got them!
Related Post: Game of Thrones took over my life for a solid month.
Related Post: New ways to bring Roald Dahl to young audiences.