Girl Power and Women's Wiles Reading Themes

List of Girl Power Themed Books and Poems: Picture Books, YA, Adult Lit, and Poetry

From picturebooks to nonfiction titles - from YA to poetry - all celebrating girl power in literature!

We have just recently concluded our Girl Power and Women’s Wiles bimonthly theme. And as such, we’d like to share a summary of the books we managed to review and those we would still like to recommend though we didn’t have a chance to feature them here. I’d try to arrange them according to genre. Click on the image and the link to be taken to our reviews of the book.

Picture Book Biographies/ Nonfiction MG-YA Novels

Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels, and what the Neighbors Thought by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford and Artwork by Floyd Cooper

Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell – a picture book biography of Jane Goodall

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat Ella Fitzgerald by Roxanne Orgil and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo and illustrated by Julia Denos – a picture book biography of Audrey Hepburn – reviewed by Fats

Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior by Robert D. San Souci and Illustrations by Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng

Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu with story and pictures by Emily Arnold McCully

Crow Call by Lois Lowry and Illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline

More Picture Books

Brave Irene by William Steig

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – reviewed by Fats

Jessica by Kevin Henkes – reviewed by Fats

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming and Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Imogene’s Antlers by David Small

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and Illustrations by David Small

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine by Evaline Ness

Birdie’s Lighthouse by Deborah Hopkinson and Illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root

Stella, Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay – reviewed by Fats

Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith

Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley – reviewed by Fats

Tam Lin as retold by Susan Cooper and illustrations by Warwick Hutton

Girl Power and Newbery Medal books

The research that I am doing at present has something to do with themes and trajectories in award-winning Filipino children’s books as part of my conference presentation in Boston this June. As such, I was able to read quite a number of manuscripts that talk about girl power and award-winning young adult fiction novels. I made sure to borrow a few in keeping with our theme. Here are several Newbery titles that we managed to review.

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

There were a few more books that we read and borrowed from the library but did not have a chance to feature during this period. You might want to check out these Newbery Medal books that highlight female protagonists if you have a chance.

YA Fiction and Adult Lit

Here are a few other award-winning YA fiction/adult lit novels that you might want to explore.

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – a focus on the Silence of Viola Eade

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness – a focus on the healing powers of Mistress Coyle

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – a special focus on the character of Katniss Everdeen – reviewed by Iphigene

The Crow Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff as reviewed by Fats

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

Best Friends by Anna Wilson and illustrated by Nicola Slater – a Quill Junior contribution

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall – reviewed by Iphigene

Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin – reviewed by Iphigene


Since we didn’t have a featured poet for our Poet’s Sanctum, we decided to feature poets that speak of womanity and celebrate what it is like to be female for Poetry Friday. Here are a few poets we have featured during our bimonthly theme.

A Women’s Issue by Margaret Atwood

Silence by Bella Akhmadulina

Crucifixion by Anna Akhmatova

A Love Poem by Marguerite Burnat-Provins

Woman to Man by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Risk by Anaïs Nin

In Celebration of My Uterus by Anne Sexton

I hope that you enjoyed this list. Drop us a line in the Comments Section if there are any other books/poems you’d like to recommend that celebrate girl power and womanity.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

5 comments on “List of Girl Power Themed Books and Poems: Picture Books, YA, Adult Lit, and Poetry

  1. It’s such an impressive list, Myra. I’ve tried to think of some others. These are from past years & I still recommend them for the strong female figures: Dicey of “Dicey’s Song” (Newbery) in the series by Cynthia Voigt, the main character of The Blue Sword (Newbery Honor) & The Hero & The Crown (Newbery) by Robin McKinley are old favorites. Thanks for all this wrap-up too.


    • Hi Linda, I’ve heard a lot about the Tillerman cycle and I’m truly excited to read the entire 7-volume series (it is 7, right?). I am still missing a few titles though. I also noted that there are a lot of Newbery Honor books that look into girl power and female characters. Hopefully I can check out more of those.


  2. Great list! 🙂 A women’s history book that my kids really liked is “You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer” by Shana Corey and Chesley Mclaren.


    • Hi Tabatha, I think I’ve seen that featured during Women’s History Month! I should really look for that one.


  3. Pingback: List of Girl Power Themed Books and Poems: Pict...

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