Some titles featuring strong female characters for readers young and old. I own all of these pictured books and would be happy to answer questions. I hesitate to give reading level or a Top 5 list - much is up to the individual. Please make sure to read any book before recommending or handing to a student.
Below are four photos from Wizard World in Philly when three of my amazing students and I presented on the power of comics in the classroom. These young women had the audience laughing, asking questions, and leaving super impressed. Even better, my two daughters were watching in the front row with matching Wonder Woman tiaras!
GFF, or Ghost Friends Forever, is a graphic novel written by Monica Gallagher and Kata Kane. In it, a young girl named Sophia is part of a family business, otherwise known as paranormal investigations. So, when she finds a ghost named Whitney who haunts a bridge, Sophia takes it as her duty to discover the reason Whitney got murdered in the 90’s. Meanwhile, Sophia has other, more normal problems going on in her life. Her brother Felix, wants Sophia to stop showing interest in her former boyfriend, but she ignores him even though he says it’s for her own good. But even though she’s fighting with Felix, she realizes she needs his help on this murder case. Whitney meets Sophia’s friends and tells them about her mysterious situation. When the boys wander off into the woods to find clues, the two girls start to become a little more than just good friends. While everything seems perfect, an enemy from the past lurks. This story is thrilling, heartwarming, and perfect for anyone who loves a great mystery. The panels show so many feelings and art all woven into one edge -of -the- seat graphic novel. I really liked the idea of ghosts in our world and how we just can’t see them. One of the panels mentioned in the speech bubble said that even though ghosts aren’t fully humans, their feelings can still be as solid as ours. This stood out to me because sometimes people come across different things and make assumptions that are far from the truth. Whitney is a ghost, but you shouldn’t think that she doesn’t experience life like we do. The fact that the story is about two girls who love each other and would cross dimensions to help one another is really different- in a good way, and we need more diverse books like this one. - Charlotte, Age 11
One of my all-time favorite graphic novels - now made into a movie! A young girl is caught between reality and her need to save the town from imaginary giants. The reason she has created this fictional world, that seems all too real to her, will break your heart. She struggles against the usual teen angst (bullying, social interactions, fitting in, etc), but everything is magnified for her.
The begins with a small child who gets Meningitis. As a father to a son who has Mollarett's Meningitis, I was struck hard from the very beginning. He went through many of the same tests and ordeals as the main character. However, unlike my son, she loses her hearing. The main character then has to learn how to adjust to a hearing aid, a new school, etc. This story really gives an amazing insight into a world that most of us have no experience with and cannot fathom. Really a great learning tool for many reasons - being kind and empathetic, understanding how we are all different, finding your people and acceptance. As a teacher and a parent, this book was amazingly eye-opening. She is able to turn her disability into a superpower and identifies with Batman and his tech... As an autobiographical story, I found this book empowering and love it!
Surviving Middle School...
An amazing collection of women throughout history and in all types of jobs and countries.
Amazingly researched look into a fascinating woman who is often overlooked.
I absolutely love the chapter books, comics, action figures, and Legos centered on this title. Shea Fontana is such an amazing author and an inspiration for kids (and adults) everywhere. I will be eternally grateful that she donated money to our after school program for at-risk kids. We were able to purchase several of these amazing books for the kids' library!
Louise Michel - revolutionary feminist who defended the Paris Commune of 1871. After capture, she later helped an indigenous uprising against the French government!
Ms. Marvel is one of my favorite superheros and she resonates with my students as well. She is a 16 year-old Pakistani American from Jersey City, NJ. G. Willow Wilson is such a fantastic author and I have had the honor of meeting her and hearing her speak about the books she has written. That Ms. Marvel is Muslim is not the main focus of the comic - she is just another teen trying to fit in, despite having a family with "weird" customs and rules. Turns out, we all have families and customs that are different from one another, but that's what makes this so beautiful. The comic is still ongoing, but there are now multiple collected editions widely available at comics stores and on Amazon. Wilson has also written many other books as well - here is a blog post of my meeting her, her literature, and my fan geeking out -http://historycomics.edublogs.org/2016/07/23/why-you-must-read-g-willow-wilson/ Also - A MUST WATCH TED TALK FROM G WILLOW WILSON - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWo4200G0U
Batgirl. Special. 1988.
Powerful story about battered women, rape, and what to do. Slash is a female who is killing accused rapists who have not been convicted. Part of the commentary is that people are surprised that the killer is female. This seems to single out female characters -- I can't remember seeing a male superhero portrayed in this manner of being afraid of being hurt.. Bruises seen on the wife's face -- this is the wife of the man who had tried to assassinate Batgirl and who is present for the climax of the story. Here is the stereotypical good wife role. Potential rape scene? Fairly intense. Luckily - the battered housewife realizes she needs to stick up for herself and locks out the husband to allow him to be captured.
Why can male superheroes be parents without being tied down. How about mothers?
A collection of comics from several decades, from the 1940s to today. There are several volumes of this title and all give great historical insight into the gender norms and roles of women in the Marvel comics.
Fascinating look into how women changed comics and opened doors for other women in this medium. Not a comic - traditional text.
Wonderful look at female characters in comics throughout the decades. Are these fictional women impacted by those in real life? Some mature content. Not a comic.
Not a comic. A detailed look into female comic characters throughout history.
I love this entire series and you can find many more historical women featured as well.