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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Women Writers and Their Lovely Lady Characters

March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is Women’s Education–Women’s Empowerment. What better way to discuss women’s education and empowerment than by highlighting some of our favorite women writer-and-character pairings? When I was younger, there was nothing better than reading a book and realizing that the lead character was strong, independent, intelligent…and female, which meant that she was more accessible and I could aspire to be like her. Even today, when I’m reading (whether it’s for work or for fun), I love female characters who inspire girls to be witty, smart, adventurous, and independent—female characters who help show us what we’re capable of. So in honor of Women’s History Month and women’s education and empowerment, here are some of our favorite female writers and their characters!

Beverly Cleary and Ramona Quimby

Ramona makes the trials and tribulations of growing up seem simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. Although Ramona can cause serious trouble, her heart is always in the right place. She is a role model for women young and old—confident, spunky, and full of life.

—Liz, Book Box Daily blogger

Madeleine L’Engle and Meg Murry

Meg is one of my absolute favorite characters of all time—probably because she and I have more in common than I’d like to admit. Meg is a real person, but despite her faults and her clumsiness, she gets the guy, reunites her family, and saves the world.

—Liz, Book Box Daily blogger

Suzanne Collins and Katniss Everdeen

Katniss is far from a perfect character, but I love her all the more for it. She’s a fighter and a survivor—and boy, she can skin a rabbit with the best of them! But deep down, she’s insecure and more than a little bit awkward when it comes to things like relationships and speaking in public (ahem). She’s more fragile than she would have others believe. That vulnerability elevates her to something more than a simple female protagonist in a story…she’s a true heroine. Girl power!

—Celia, editor

Ann M. Martin and the Babysitters

I grew up on the BSC. It is certainly where my love of parenthetical asides came from (and I do love my parenthetical asides). But it is also where I learned about friendship and being myself. My favorite character was Mary Ann, since we were both bookish and shy. Mary Ann always managed to stand up for what she believed in…even if it meant having to stand up to the people closest to her.

—Preeti, Book Box Daily blogger

Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennet

Let’s not even joke, I wish I were half as quick-witted as Elizabeth Bennet! She proved that a girl need not bend to convention to fall in love. She’s exceedingly clever, prideful (a given), and a bit stubborn, but she always stays true to herself and her values: family, independence, and, to her surprise, love.

—Preeti, Book Box Daily blogger

Maggie Stiefvater and Puck

I finished reading The Scorpio Races satisfied, exhausted, and incredibly grateful for the experience. I returned to the book trailer that the author, Maggie Stiefvater, had created and was bowled over again by the amazing talents she has. This woman had given me one of my new favorite characters—Puck is a resourceful, tough, persistent, bright young woman—but in addition to her skill as a writer, she’s also an artist, composer, and musician. Talk about giving the rest of us (no matter our age) a positive role model!

—Heather, Book Box Daily blogger

Charlotte Brontë and Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre quietly fights against her circumstance from the get-go. Whether it’s a horrific boarding school or her fiancé’s insane wife, she manages to come out unscathed. I read Jane Eyre when I was 14 and just beginning to realize what kind of person I wanted to be as an adult. While Jane is not particularly pretty or outwardly impressive, she proves that with determination and hope you can go a long way.

—Preeti, Book Box Daily blogger

J. K. Rowling and Hermione Granger

Harry who? Ron what? In J. K. Rowling’s epic series, there’s one huge standout in the golden trio: Hermione Granger. When we first meet Hermione, she’s a bit tactless and way too much of a know-it-all to be “friendly.” But she evolves beyond just her intelligence to be determined, courageous, passionate, and extremely loyal. She follows Harry into peril without a second thought, giving up everything for a cause she believes in. Her journey from age 11 to 17 is one many of us can relate to: awkward and inconvenient. But in the end, that same journey gets her a happily-ever-after.

—Preeti, Book Box Daily blogger

Shannon Hale and Ani (the Goose Girl)

When I first met Shannon Hale, I can’t say I was surprised to learn she had woven a Grimm Brothers fairy tale into a rich, complete, original, magical novel, The Goose Girl. Here was a woman with charm, humor, smarts, beauty, and incredible kindness and generosity—all qualities embodied by Ani, the Goose Girl herself. I’m not saying that Shannon Hale has the ability to talk to animals (as Ani does) but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she does.

—Heather, Book Box Daily blogger

So there you have it! Of course we’ve missed more than we’ve mentioned, so tell us about your favorite female writer-character duos in the comments! And vive la femme!

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6 Responses

  1. Rinib

    Tamora Pierce and all her girls (Alanna, Beka, Alys, Kel). She’s been writing about strong, intelligent female characters long before it was in fashion to do so.

  2. Lindsay

    Louisa May Alcott and Josephine March
    Little Women is a true classic, Louisa May Alcott had a true gift of representing the conventions women were expected to live within. Jo March’s character is a great role model,brave and independent, yet compassionate.

    • Preeti

      Jo was my favorite, but I always had a hard time with Amy. I haaated that she ended up with Teddy! It felt so unfair when I was younger. Now I realize it was because Jo was just so independent, she never could have stayed with him.

  3. Love this! I am always looking for new books for my girls!

  4. I like Katniss and Elizabeth. Their combination reminds me of my most favorite character – much like a niece I have. Preeti… who could that character be?

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