By Susannah Hutcheson & Rachel Benbrook, Regular ContributorsJune 25, 2015
From childhood to old age, reading is an activity that can transport you from your couch to a magical place across the ocean. It can encourage you, disappoint you, make you laugh, and make you sob.
Whereas computers require power sources and Wi-Fi, a book requires no more than a comfortable chair & a cup of tea. With the millions of books on shelves today, it is harder than it should be to find novels with strong female leads. Here are some of our fantastic contributors’ favorites.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
What a fantastic story. This continues, years later, to be one of my very favorite books- and shows what can happen when strong women defy their social expectations and band together to create change. From racial tension to body image pressures, this book paints a picture of 1960’s Mississippi and a voice of change.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione. Molly. Ginny. Tonks. McGonogall. Lovegood. The Harry Potter series is ripe with badass, intelligent, witty women. If you don’t read any other books in your entire life, you should read these. With obstacles ranging from trolls in the bathroom to sieges on the castle, these women show strength and courage in the darkest of times- inspiring young readers everywhere.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Daring tomboy Scout Finch was who all of us wanted to be in life- fearless, courageous, and inquisitive. In one of the great American classic novels of the 20th century, Scout shows us how curiosity leads to growth. Over the course of the novel, she learns that there is an ugly side to the world that she once saw through her idealistic, six-year old eyes.
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park and Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary
Both of these series have taught girls to be eccentric, quirky, and mischievous- encouraging hands-on learning, individuality, and sheer spunk.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Songs by Maya Angelou
In her novel, Maya chronicles her life story in a deeply moving and articulate way. She is able to speak about her triumphs and her difficulties in a way that provides such lyrical beauty, that you cannot help but feel inspired by it. After being taken advantage of by her mother’s boyfriend as a young girl, and later becoming a mother at a young age, Maya speaks her truth in a beautiful way as she explains the joys and pains of her life. She explains what it was like to grow up without the presence of a strong father figure, and gives many accounts of encountering racism in the south during her childhood.
All of Maya’s work, her poetry and spoken word, have inspired me in many ways. She speaks her truth in a grand and beautiful way, and she deserves to be celebrated for having been That Girl all her life through her words and her testimonies.
Women like Maya and all of the other influential authors that wrote these books inspire women everywhere through their strong female characters and moving words. Rachel and Susannah have shared some of their favorites, but what are yours?
What are some of your favorite pieces of literature? What have you learned from them? Tell us below!
About Susannah & Rachel
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.
Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of Leeds where she studied Political Communications. She is a passionate advocate of strong friendships, caffeine, social justice, current events, travels and adventures, as well as all things peanut butter. She enjoys watching Parks and Recreation, as well as teaching English to new language learners.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.