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Girl Power

November 30, 2017
By Misty Teasdale - Book Bag , OVParent

"He's the strongest man in the world."

"Man, yes," said Pippi, "but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that."

From "Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren

Article Photos

Before that clever girl detective Nancy Drew came along, Pippi Longstocking was the first female hero of my childhood. Although the original book "Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren was published nearly 30 years before my birth, it was still popular in the late '70s and early '80s. Well over 30 years later, an artist's rendering of Pippi Longstocking adorns a wall in my office.

Pippi was the first strong female book character that I can remember. She was spunky and fearless. She was freakishly strong, and she lived by her own rules. I loved her intense boldness and the fact that she didn't suffer fools. Pippi was a kind and loyal friend to those she loved, but she simply would not tolerate pompous people or being condescended to. I wanted to be her! I can't lift a horse over my head like Pippi could, but I like to think a little bit of her rubbed off on me and that I'm a better person for having known her.

Parents can use picture books as a tool to help empower daughters by building their confidence and self-esteem from a young age. These books also can teach sons that females are worthy of their respect. Here are two more of my favorite "Girl Power!" picture books:

"The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch

At the beginning of this story, Elizabeth appears to be an average princess who wears fancy clothes and is thrilled to be preparing to marry a prince named Ronald. Then something terrible happens. A horrible dragon burns down her castle with his fiery breath. All of her fancy clothes are destroyed and the only thing she can find to wear is a paper bag. The worst part is that Prince Ronald is carried away by the dragon and locked up Rapunzel style. Elizabeth tracks the dragon down and uses her quick wit to outsmart him. She risks her life to rescue Ronald. Instead of being grateful, Ronald has the audacity to criticize her appearance and tell her that she smells like ashes. I won't spoil the end by telling you her response, but I will say it has earned her a space on my office wall ... just like Pippi.


"Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon"

by Patty Lovell

Molly Lou Melon's grandmother always gave her a lot of great advice. One of the things she told Molly was "Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you." Although she was the shortest girl in the first grade, Molly walked proud. Molly was a force to be reckoned with, and the world did look up to her. Her quirky personality even managed to win over the class bully. What truly makes Molly a great role model is that she is not ashamed of her flaws. She embraces them.


"Not All Princesses Dress in Pink" by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple

This colorful rhyming book was written by award-winning childrens book author Jane Yolen and her daughter. It serves to dispel the stereotypical princess label. Girls who play sports, get sweaty, use power tools and sometimes wear stinky socks are still worthy of a sparkly crown.

Misty Teasdale is the children's services coordinator for the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. She and her husband live in West Bellaire, where they are raising a dog, a rabbit, two turtles and one very strong-willed daughter.



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