Last month, Warner Bros. released a movie about Wonder Woman. For many girls who read the comics, watched the cartoons or followed her adventures on television, it was inspiring to see this strong and powerful character on the big screen, as she is one of only a few female superheroes in an otherwise male-dominated genre. Here are some books that celebrate strong women and hopefully instill in every girl the belief that they, too, can perform heroic acts.
My First Book of Girl Power
Downtown Bookworks, $12.99
by Julie Merberg
This board book is the perfect introduction for early readers to the world of super heroines. Readers will enjoy learning about well-known figures like Wonder Woman and Supergirl, as well as some lesser-known ones like Mera, a mermaid-like heroine who can live on both land and sea, and Bumblebee, who can shrink down to the size of a bumblebee. The book highlights the qualities that make these women extraordinary, putting in bold letters the attributes and skills they possess. The simple text emphasizes the ways these women harness their powers for good causes. In the case of Supergirl, she uses her great strength to help people in distress. The book celebrates the uniqueness and cleverness of these women and transmits a message that intelligence and creativity are as important and powerful as physical strength. The book includes bright illustrations and shows the superwomen in action, which will hopefully inspire girls to develop their own super powers.
Princess in Black series
Candlewick Books, $9.50
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
We usually define or perceive a superhero as someone who saves and helps others. At the other end of the spectrum, traditionally, we have been presented with the opposite image of princesses, who are delicate and weak and must always be saved. This book flips both stereotypes on their head by introducing readers to Magnolia, a princess who secretly likes to wear black and save the day. When trouble calls, she transforms into Princess Black and figures out the best way to make things right. The short text and sentences lend themselves well to capturing the adventures of this action-driven character. Readers will appreciate Magnolia’s sassy attitude and the way she is illustrated. Her short, roundish body type contributes towards breaking down the typical representation of female heroines and princesses as tall and slim. The text continually challenges traditional views; highlighting the ways that Princess Black does things that princesses are told they shouldn’t, like sliding down chutes or climbing over high walls. The plots of the four books in the series are funny and fresh, as Princess Black finds herself in superhero mode to defend her kingdom and friends from a variety of monsters living in neighbouring Monster Land. She will provide young readers with a fresh perspective on how we think of princesses.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
$35 USD, rebelgirls.co
by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
The main appeal of superheroes for children is the idea of having a secret superpower. Many children go through phases where they idolize these fictional characters and want to be like them. It is equally important to share with children that superheroes exist in real life. Every day there are those who confront injustice through generosity, compassion and courage. It is particularly important to highlight women in these roles since their contributions to society have not been as valued throughout history and their heroic stories too often remain untold. This book features short biographies of women who have broken down barriers, shown courage through their actions, and have had the confidence to defy convention and pave their own path in life. The book provides several examples of female painters, athletes, musicians, inventors, politicians, activists and more who have pushed the boundaries and created change their societies and areas of work. It offers a wide historical range, introducing readers to women like Queen Elizabeth I, the rock star Joan Jett and tennis pro Serena Williams. The one-page stories about each woman are accompanied by bright and beautiful illustrations created by 60 female artists. The illustrations convey that beauty, intelligence and kindness come in all shapes and sizes, and that each person should celebrate his/her uniqueness. This 100 stories will have children dreaming about their brilliant futures and how they can use their special qualities and talents as gifts for making the world a better place.