What makes our favourite female characters so special? This roundup celebrates book girls who break the mould. Some refuse to be restricted by gender roles. Others teach us there’s more to being strong than acting tough. All make great role models and deserve to be read again and again.
Cather Avery | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is the shy and nerdy shadow of her confident twin sister, Wren. At university, she would rather stay in her room to write than party with her classmates. Cath knows the magic of books – how you can lose yourself in enchanted worlds and fall in love with the characters. Although she feels out of place at uni, Cath eventually leaves her comfort zone to make new friends. A standout moment is when she listens to her emotional needs and talks to her new boyfriend about her physical boundaries. Cath teaches us you don’t have to fit the “cool” group to be happy. Accepting yourself and trusting your gut are key to being your best.
Katniss Everdeen | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss has been her family’s protector and provider almost all her life. She is a stone cold hunter who never shows weakness. Katniss is forced to fight for survival in the Hunger Games – a yearly death match for the Capitol’s entertainment. Although she must rely on her killer instincts to stay alive, she listens to her heart and finds friendship in unlikely places. Katniss and fellow contestant, Peeta, rebel against the Capitol’s power by sharing victory instead of fighting to the death. As the new figurehead for revolution, Katniss grows into an empowering leader who knows the strength in kindness. She shows us the importance of joining together to stand for our beliefs. She proves that girls can be gentle carers at the same time as inspiring leaders.
Violet Baudelaire | A Series of Unfortunate Events
After being orphaned by a fire, Violet and her siblings are adopted by a murderous villain desperate to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. The children must use their unique talents to escape danger. Violet is an inventor with an extraordinary imagination. Using only the unlikely items within arm’s reach, she can whip up a contraption to solve any problem. She always thinks outside the box and sees the silver lining. She knows that together, she and her siblings are strong enough to take on the world. Combining manual labour, creativity, and intelligence, Violet uses both her brain and her hands to create genius solutions.
Hermione Granger | Harry Potter by JK Rowling
When first introduced to Hermione at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she is a goody-two-shoes and know-it-all. As we learn more about her, we discover a smart and savvy girl with amazing integrity. Hermione is hungry to learn. She devours books and when given a time travel device, uses it to take even more classes. However, Hermione sacrifices being top of the class to help her friends when adventure calls. She keeps a level head and remembers her research even in the face of danger. When the time comes to take a stand against evil, her love of books combines with boundless courage to form an unstoppable heroine. Hermione reminds us that brain power is a force to be reckoned with.
Anne Shirley | Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Before being adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Anne lived in a dreary orphanage. Despite her sad past, Anne sees every fresh day as an opportunity to dream big. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, she soaks up every bit of beauty the world has to offer. Anne will try anything once, learning from her mistakes and making new friends along the way. While her adoptive family finds her spiritedness exhausting at times, her determination to live life to its fullest is contagious. Anne sees herself as her male colleagues’ equal and fights her way to the top of her class. While Anne’s thoughts are often off with the fairies, she works hard for academic success. She reminds us that nothing should come between us and our dreams. There’s no such thing as failure on the winding road to growing up.
Lucy Pevensie | The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Lucy is the first Pevensie child to enter the magical land of Narnia through the enchanted wardrobe. Her gentle manner and open heart allow her to make trusted allies among the Narnian creatures. After helping to defeat the evil White Witch, she becomes a Queen of Narnia and goes down in history as Lucy the Valiant. Lucy has an instinct for right and wrong, and always fights for truth and fairness. In battle, she uses a vial of magicial potion to heal the wounded. She proves how tenderness and trust can be just as powerful leadership qualities as knowledge and bravery. This little girl helped to save an entire world with nothing but a sound moral compass. Lucy reminds us not to underestimate simple acts of kindness, and to stay true to what we know is right.
Can you think of some other book girls who break the mould? I hope this roundup leaves you feeling inspired. Being a girl is never as simple as being feminine – girls can be and do anything they dream.