The first reference of its kind, Great Books for Girls is an invaluable
list of more than six hundred titles--picture books, novels, mysteries,
biographies, folktales, sports books, and more--that will encourage,
challenge, and ultimately nurture in girls the strong qualities our culture
so often suppresses.
Kathleen Odean, a librarian and former member of the
prestigious Caldecott and Newbery Award committees, has gathered and
annotated a list of books starring bold, confident heroines for children
from toddlers to age fourteen. Here are old favorites such as Eloise,
Harriet the Spy, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Ramona the Pest; new
inspirations such as Cinder Edna, Sheila Rae the Brave, Herculeah Jones,
and Princess Smartypants; and real-life admirable women such as Eleanor of
Aquitaine, Jane Goodall, Toni Morrison, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Helen
In these books, girls and women are creative, capable, articulate, and
intelligent, solving problems, facing challenges, resolving conflicts, and
going on quests. They are not sidekicks or tokens, waiting to be rescued;
they are doing the rescuing. Nor are they waiting for a male to provide a
happy ending; they are fashioning their own stories and their own endings.
Packed with expert guidance,Great Books for Girls is an essential volume
that will give girls of all ages the power of hope.
Kathleen Odean has been a children's librarian for fifteen years, first in
California and now at Moses Brown School, a Friends school in Providence,
Rhode Island. She grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and graduated
from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Odean then lived in
Berkeley, California for eight years, where she earned a Master's of
Library and Information Science as well as an M.A. in Folklore at
University of California.
Her peers across the country recognize Odean as an expert in children's
literature. She was recently elected to the Caldecott Award Committee by
her fellow children's librarians and was also a member of the 1991 Newbery
Award Committee. From 1991 through 1993, she served on the Notable
Children's Book Committee of the American Library Association, a national
committee of nine which evaluates all of the year's children's books.
Odean has also been a reviewer of children's books for School Library
Journal since 1985.
The author of the groundbreaking work Great Books for Girls: More Than 600
Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women (Ballantine Books,
1997) and High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops: Wall Street Slang
(Henry Holt Owl Paperbacks, 1989) on the folklore and slang of the stock
market, Odean has also done some free-lance writing.
Odean has been talking about the importance of books in children's lives
on NBC-TV's Today and with newspapers, local television and radio shows
across the country.
She lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, with her husband, Ross Cheit, a
professor at Brown University.
“I recommend it for all those who want girls to grow up strong, free bold and kind.”
Author of Reviving Ophelia
“With superb literary taste and an eye for books depicting strong-minded girls and women, [Odean] recommends more than 600 outstanding titles.”
–U.S. News & World Report
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