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parents of girls 6-10- come over here and let me pick your brains a minute

33 replies

CitizenPrecious · 14/12/2009 15:00


I am now officially sick of reading my dds Magic Puppy/Kitten/Pony/Tortoise and Princess Magic Fairy Ballerina books.


So instead I am going to write some myself, (c'mon, how hard can it be?? ) with some nice Positive Role Models, and No Pink.

What do you (or your dd) think are the key ingredients in a story?

My dd says small girl animals, and it has to be about girls and not boys. She says she doesn't mind if boys are in a story, as long as it isn't about them.

Any more?

OP posts:
Fennel · 14/12/2009 15:05

For a 6 year old, maybe Olga da polga, Moomintroll, Humphrey the hamster (though he is male, but my dds like him), Sophie's snail/tom/pony series. My Naughty little sister.

Then there are lots of good books for slightly older girls. Pippi Longstocking is an obvious one, but many of the older classics aren't about pink girly girls - Swallows and Amazons, E Nesbit, Noel Streatfield. Jacqueline Wilson. Anne Fine. Clarice Bean. Joan Aitkin.

mimsum · 14/12/2009 16:34

you know, the magic/fairy/unicorn/whatever phase doesn't last that long .... with dd it was over in a few weeks as even at 5 and 6 she recognised that the books were all very samey ... you can just steer them in the direction of Roald Dahl, Dick King-Smith, Jeremy Strong etc and refuse to read them formulaic stuff - with the added benefit that they'll want to read it to themselves

CitizenPrecious · 14/12/2009 17:02

Thanks for those- I've tried most of the ones you both suggest, but I do find DD is right, and an awful lot of books are written about boys. Even the Moomin series is mostly about Moomintroll (I know there's the snork maiden, but she's a bit of an idiot and obsessed with her fringe, iirc)

Will try them again on Laura Ingalls Wilder, I think. What we really want though is something about contemporary girls that have Adventures, is funny and isn't a complete crock of shit...

OP posts:
Takver · 14/12/2009 21:05

Are some boys allowed? Cami-Cazi (sp?) in the Hiccup the viking books is one of my favourite heroines ever - she doesn't feature in the earliest books, but she is a big player in the later ones. They are definitely adventure/fantasy books (author Cressida Cowell).

Although they are formulaic, I would say that the Animal Ark books are much better than the Rainbow fluffy fairy stuff, and the main character is a girl, though her best friend who also features heavily is a boy.

Anna Hibiscus (author Atinuke), which I've mentioned on here before, is about a little girl who lives in Africa - definitely funny and contemporary - though perhaps more realistic than you're after? (Animal Ark is also realistic, not magic etc.)

Not quite contemporary, but Ramona the Brave & the other Ramona books (can't remember author) might also hit the spot (again realistic).

At the bottom of your age range the Sophie books (author Dick King Smith?) are fabulous - little girl who wants to be a farmer and is completely un-faze-able.

KeithTalent · 14/12/2009 21:15

Lotta says No

Happy Times in Noisy vilage

both by Astrid Lingren from Amazon.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Smallest Girl in the World by Sally Gardner

Because of Winn Dixie


Also, Books 5-8 by Dorothy Butler (I always urge people to get this-it's fab).

The moomin cartoons have just been republished in strip format- are moomins acceptable?

Fennel · 14/12/2009 21:51

It's true about the moomins being a bit too male (moominmamma is too fussily maternal), and Carbonel is a boy, and so is Calidor, what about Joan Aitkin - Arabel's raven, and (in a couple of years) the Willoughby chase series - my 8yo loves those.

Mrs Pepperpot, Heidi, Family from one end street, Milly molly mandy, the Bullerby children all have feisty females in. but it's true they mostly fall down on a strict feminist analysis.

We tend to read books along with an ongoing feminist diatribe (from me) in the background, so we accept that many of the older classics are sexist/racist/classist/imperialist etc but we critique as we go. Otherwise there really wouldn't be much left.

KeithTalent · 14/12/2009 22:06

feck i thought Carbonel was a cat.

PixieOnaChristmasTree · 14/12/2009 22:09

I second the 'Sophie' books by Dick King Smith (in fact, a lot of his stuff is good).

What about Roald Dahl's Matilda? Main character is a girl and definitely not an overly girly one.

Fennel · 14/12/2009 22:36

Carbonel's a Boy Cat (a Prince among cats). Trying to regain his throne from the evil (male) usurper cat. Rosemary is the main human character who helps him, but the cat is male.

The OP's daughter wants female animals, and I do agree with the sentiment, though it's hard to find in children's literature.

ReindeerRusso · 14/12/2009 22:47

There are enough books about horses, magic, fairies and princesses, so avoid all of those if possible.

iheartdusty · 14/12/2009 22:49

Sorry I can't hink of any more female animals other than Mary Plain, but here are some more random ideas with reasonably feminist or at any rate not fluffy main characters;

The Borrowers

The second book (Snowbone) in this pair (Barkbelly is the first) - we love these and I have posted about them before on here

the Diddakoi and other Rumer Godden books

There is the 'Jane Blonde' series of spy adventures, I am not very keen on them myself

'Roman Mysteries' series here

DD has been given the Dolphin Diaries series - they look very like Animal Ark but in the sea.

iheartdusty · 14/12/2009 22:50

can't think, I mean

Fennel · 14/12/2009 22:57

Mrs Frisby is a small girl animal. A mouse. Who starts off rather limited in a nurturing motherhood role but develops her adventurous side to save the day for the Rats of Nimh.

ReindeerRusso · 14/12/2009 23:02

I think OP is asking for ideas for writing a book, not for book suggestions. But sorry if I got that wrong.

giraffespullthesleigh · 14/12/2009 23:04

The worst witch - no pink at all. And the bitchy spoilt brat (ethel Hallow) never wins!

almay292 · 14/12/2009 23:16

My daughter was just the same at that age (she's 8 now). Because my son is a little older, she's always had his kind of books around her. Until recently she 'hated' boys books but that's changing. For example, she loves the Wimpy Kid series. There are often very good female characters in 'boys' books - e.g. Angie in the Jiggy McCue series. The Percy jackson books have a couple of very strong girl characters. In the books, the main group of kids are 12 when the series starts, not 18 going on 35 as in the film (or so it looks in the trailers).

Have you tried Charlotte's Web?

My daughter also likes Clarice Bean
The Delilah Darling series (only 3 books so far but very good)
Nancy Drew (she dressed as Nancy Drew for a recent own-clothes day)

Uriel · 15/12/2009 02:01

Try the Land of Elyon series, by Patrick Carman. Dark Hills Divide is the first one, I think.

Adventure with a heroine. Dd loves it.

cory · 15/12/2009 07:55

If book recommendations are what you're after, Astrid Lindgren, Ronia the Robber's Daughter has a feisty female heroine. Another Scandinavian to look out for is Gunnel Linde: Pony in the Luggage and The White Stone both have a girl and boy, but the boy is not in any way dominant.

If you are actually going to write- then what you need is not a set of ingredients but a good idea for a plot. Get imagining- and good luck.

nannynobnobs · 15/12/2009 18:51

Ramona the Pest definitely! I remember really identifying with poor Ramona as she never meant to be naughty, but circumstances conspired against her and things just seemed to turn out wrong! My 8yo dd1 still loves her now too and the books haven't dated.

CitizenPrecious · 15/12/2009 21:38

God this wasn't showing up on my Threads I'm On and I thought it had died!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Some of them we've done already but a lot we haven't. Will go through the whole thread now and take notes!

I was initially asking for Things to Include in a 'girl's' book...had previously asked my dds and they came up with-

lost animals
orphans/foster children

...was reduced to reading them Famous Five this evening. They were absolutely gripped- but could not get over Aunt Fanny- even into the second chapter

OP posts:
MaggieAnFiaRua · 15/12/2009 21:43

i read enid blyton books to my dd7. their adventues are great,but there's never a parent insight! and mummy is always a small delicate lady and daddy is a fighter pilot and away a lot. they always talk about germans being the enemy too!

i have to edit on the hoof as i read them, which is quite challenging!

clarice bean i'll do when she's 8 i think.

so rumer godden and dorothy butler? haven't seen them in any book shops. i also hate books with kittens on the front! i especially hate magic kittens with special powers.

MaggieAnFiaRua · 15/12/2009 21:44

oh the wimpy kid! my dd loves them. actually, she loved horrid henry and now the wimpy kid, so she doesn't mind if the book is about a boy so long as it's good

TheFoosa · 15/12/2009 21:48

I never read Magic Kitten/Animal Ark/Rainbow fairies to my dd, she read them herself

I read things to her that she wouldn't manage herself

CitizenPrecious · 15/12/2009 21:52

love Clarice Bean

have been force feeding them to all dcs since my ds was 6

I end up laughing immoderately while dcs siiiiigh...

OP posts:
Brachy · 16/12/2009 16:04

My DD has a dinosaur obsession right now. She is reading the Astrosaurs and Dinosaur Coves series- both aimed at boys. How about non girly subjects like dinosaurs written for girls?

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