Books for Girls That Aren’t “Girly”

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Books for Girls That Aren’t “Girly”

My oldest daughter Lillian has recently become an avid reader. She is only 7, but the process to get her to love reading has been an uphill climb. I am a reading teacher, so I refused to give up on her. One day it hit me, the reason Lillian didn’t love reading wasn’t anything to do with her. It had to do with me. I was controlling the material she read because I’m the book buyer, and she was just going along because she is a people pleaser. I realized even when I suggested books, she would agree, just because I was presenting these books as “Lillian this is one of my favorites, etc.” My sweet girl didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so she just went with it. I’ve gotten better at picking books for her. I’ve begun to notice her patterns, and what she likes to read, but I’m still cautious when I pick books for her. After all, she’s got to read it, not me.

The books I really tried to get her to read were super “girly” books. I should have known better because my Lillian is not super girly. Don’t get me wrong, the girl loves makeup, art, and jewelry, but she really LOVES playing outside, camping, running, and music. (I fully recognize that by using the term “girly” I’m labeling her with a stereotype, but we would never do that when discussing things with her.) We often use the phrase “You do you” at our house.

I bought Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and Junie B. Jones books for her to read, and she hated them! My Junie B. loving heart broke a little, but again, this is not about me! Finally, we went to the public library, and I just followed her around. My girl wanted books about hurricanes, Magic Treehouse books, and Pete the Cat. We’ve also let her start watching the first three Harry Potter movies, and she is in love! We won’t let her start the books yet, but in a year or two she will be ready. The more I thought about reading choices for Lillian, the more I realized, she was more like me than I thought. My girl loves fantasy, mysteries, and adventures. She also loves silly stories. Here are our favorite books for girls who don’t love “girly” books!

  1. Magic Treehouse Series – Jack and Annie go on tons of adventures through their treehouse. The treehouse helps them travel through time, go to real or imaginary places, and complete a quest.
  2. Pete the Cat – These are great for emerging readers. The reading level on most Pete the Cat books are 1.0-2.0, and they’re also great silly stories.
  3. Anything by Mo Williems – These books are silly, dramatic, often repetitive, and so great to help your child with oral reading expression.
  4. The David Series by David Shannon – These books are hilarious and super great for your child who might feel like they get fussed at all the time.
  5. The Owl Diaries – Rebecca Elliot does a great job of mixing hearts and rainbows with great life lessons. Eva the Owl learns to be kind, accept responsibility, and work hard. Eva has a pet bat, Baxter, which always makes us giggle.
  6. Judy Moody Series by Megan McDonald – These books are fun and always have a huge dose of girl power!
  7. Stink Series – also by Megan McDonald – They’re just always funny. Stink is Judy Moody’s brother, who has a very vivid imagination.
  8. A-Z Mystery – Ron Roy does a great job writing mysteries for young readers. Josh, Dink, and Ruth Rose are always out to solve a mystery, and work hard together.  
  9. Splat the Cat – Just like the name suggests, Splat is always in some kind of silly mischief.  
  10. The Who Was Series – The popular Netflix series is actually based off a series of popular biography books. These books are well writing, and engaging for young readers. Really young readers may need some support with these, as the book level is 5.0.
Kendra Courville
Kendra, originally from Alabama, has called Lafayette home for more than 20 years. After her time at LSU (Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education), Kendra moved back to Lafayette to marry her love, Justin. She has been married to Justin for just over 8 years. They have two daughters, Lillian who was born in October of 2011, and Annie, who was born in January of 2015. Kendra also has a Boston Terrier, named Mister. When she's not busy teaching and planning for her 3rd grade reading classes, Kendra enjoys hanging out with Justin and her girls, family, and friends. She also loves Jesus, coffee, cooking up both healthy and unhealthy meals (it's all about balance y'all), a good workout, and reading.


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