Singular Heroines Our Kids Can't Get Enough Of

Eliza Clark
October 28, 2009

What drives a great series? What is it that makes children, or adults for that matter, want to read the next book, and the next, and the next after that?

The answer, of course, is an entrancing main character. A vividly imagined setting helps too, as do compelling storylines. But the character is the thing. At the end of one book we need to be left wondering, what will that girl get up to next?

For it’s girls, or rather heroines, that we’re talking about here today. And there are so many fabulous ones. What makes our kids’ favorite heroines special? We’ve been thinking that over…and have realized this: these are heroines who know who they are, and are willing to defy convention to assert their own sense of self.

Take the wildly popular Olivia. She sees a uniform as a chance to accessorize, and takes it from there. Fancy Nancy of current craze also has a sense of style that is, to say the least, all her own. Most marvelous Madeline is an irrepressible daredevil, and the eternal Eloise, well, there’s no one quite like Eloise. Ella the Elegant Elephant starts off shy, but her lucky hat gives her the confidence she needs. Zany Lilly endures a wild ride of conflicting emotions, but her steady parents give her the balance she needs. And Angelina Ballerina has found the thing she loves to do, and dances her way from book to book.

Is there anything we want more for our girls than that they know themselves and assert themselves? Their love of these singular heroines makes us think that they are on the right track….


If you don't know and love them already, take a look at some of our favorite volumes from each series:

Ian Falconer's Olivia:

Jane O'Connor's Nancy:


Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline:

Kay Thompson and Hilary's Knight's Eloise:

Camela and Steve D'amico's Ella:

Kevin Henkes' Lilly:

Helen Craig and Katherine Holabird's Angelina:



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