On books. And girls.

Often, when I write about what I’ve been reading lately, you all are surprised at how much of my reading list is composed of non-fiction books.

What The Frugal Girl is reading

That’s mainly because at this point in my life, I usually feel like I should spend the limited reading time I have on something that will offer me something practical.

(Please help me organize/parent/wife/cook/teach better!)

However, that has not always been true.  When I was a kid/teen, I read voraciously, and I consumed almost nothing but fiction.

So when Skinny Scoop chose me to be part of a group of bloggers tasked with picking our favorite books with strong female characters, I had no problem coming up with a list.

(And it’s funny timing that this coincides with our discussion this morning about girls and toys!)

Favorite Books with Strong Female Characters by TheFrugalGirl - Mozilla Firefox 3202014 125728 PM

Though they don’t appear in any particular order, if I had to rank them, topping off the list would be Jane Eyre, my favorite book of all time.  When I was a teenager, I think I read this in a single afternoon, sprawled out on the couch, and no book I’ve read since has budged this one from the top of the list.

(However, I have never loved any of the movie adaptations much.)

Of course, I had to include some Austen…I put Pride and Prejudice and Emma on my list.  Like most everyone else on the planet, I just adore Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. I admire the way she speaks her mind and the way she refuses to settle for the abominable Mr. Collins, and I just think she’s delightful overall.

(Actually, there are so many great characters from Pride and Prejudice…even Mrs. Bennet is lovable in her own way.)

(Not to let Pride and Prejudice take over this post, but Lisey just read it for the first time last week and when several of the girls were sick this week, we watched the short-ish movie version.  I have to say, it’s kind of fun that my girls are old enough to abhor Mr. Collins and laugh at Mrs. Bennet’s ridiculousness with me.)

And although Emma couldn’t be more different from me, I do think she’s an awfully strong female character, so I had to add her.

I also put some of my favorite children’s books on the list.  There’s endearing Pippi Longstocking, cheeky Madeline, stubborn Anne of Green Gables, hilarious Ramona…and I’m sure I could have added many more too.

After writing this post, I really want to re-read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.  I think I’m gonna have to go hit up my library and shove some non-fiction books to the side for just a bit. ;)

What are your favorites?

I pinned my list of favorites and you can win a $100 Amazon gift card by doing the same!

Just pick your favorites from the images below and then click the done button.  Share your picks on Pinterest and be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

(Even if you don’t have Pinterest, I’d love to hear about your favorite strong female characters in the comments!)

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest ends 3/31/14. I received an Amazon gift card for participating in this campaign. All opinions are my own.


  1. says

    One of my FAVORITE books is Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman. It is a really neat story with a happy-ish ending, which can be hard to find. I highly recommend it.+ I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid.

    • Rachel says

      I really liked Caddie Woodlawn as a kid. I just Googled it and was SHOCKED to see that it was actually published in 1936! I had no idea!

    • Liz says

      Holy cow, it’s been so long since I’ve read these. LOVED them both (Catherine, and Caddie). Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Deborah C. Williams says

    I will always love The Little House books and Little Women. I read this over and over at age 54 and never tire of them….can t wait to introduce my little granddaughters to them!!

    • BethJ says

      Wasn’t sure if my entry “took” either…but I so much enjoyed looking through the list of books, remembering characters from days gone by! We are so blessed when we can read such things. :)

      I went back and signed in with Skinny Scoop, in case that was necessary…wonder if I will be getting e-mails from them…

  3. Jen says

    It’s funny. I feel the exact opposite! At this point in my life, I want to read for enjoyment! :-) I would add the Laura Ingalls Wilder books-hard to get much “stronger” than Ma and Laura in the pioneer days. And Tess of the D’Ubervilles-one of my absolute favorites.

  4. Mary Ann says

    My most favorite book is “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. I still remember fighting with my sisters over who got to read it first. Coming a close second is “Pride and Prejudice”. My daughter and I have watched the P&P miniseries several times.

  5. marla says

    I love to read and re-read lots of my favorites when I was young. I see Island of the Blue Dolphins up there, that was one of many of my favorites.

  6. Karen. says

    Almost every LM Montgomery book has a strong female character. Some of her short stories are centered on male characters, but not many. Even with Golden Road and Story Girl, told in first-person male, the main character is Story Girl.

    My favorite character of hers is Emily. But I also love The Blue Castle and Jane of Lantern Hill. Anne is fine, but not my favorite.

  7. says

    My favorite strong female leads of all time are Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter Series as well as Arya in a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones). Both small but strong, intelligent and witty women (girls)!

    • Liz says

      Arya is awesome! Though, not sure I’d recommend that series to younger readers… It seems like most of the titles are geared toward that crowd.

  8. says

    I rarely read non-fiction theses days. I’ve tried. But as I feel time is running out (;-)) I’m desperately trying to absorb as much knowledge as I possibly can.

    However…I think if I could get into fiction it’d be great escapism. Just can’t find any suitable reading material currently…

  9. Christina B says

    Many you’ve listed, so I will list ones you haven’t. Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton series. Hamilton also has the Meredith Gentry series. Black Jewels trilogy has a character who is strong but appears weak at the start. J.D. Robb’s “in death” series. Kushiel’s Dart (also a trilogy). Christy.

  10. says

    Anne Shirley, without a doubt. The first three books of the series are some I read every year. The first two movies are also delightful.

  11. Amy says

    I had all of the Nancy Drew books growing up. They were some of my favorites. Also Little House on the Prairie.

  12. Amanda says

    I love Jane Austin characters. Now that you have a smart phone don’t forget that you can download the text (and in many cases a recorded reading–I like librivox) for free of many books in the public domain.

  13. Lisa S says

    When I saw books with strong female characters, I immediately thought Jane Eyre. My favorite book. When she runs away from Thornfield and forgets her purse in the coach, I always think I’ll just skip that part this time ( I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this book). It’s heartbreaking to read about those few days before she’s taken in. (So far I’ve always just read through, though.) George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss is another one with a strong female, but it doesn’t have the nice happy ending.

    • Cheri says

      Love Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice my all time favorite! Loved The Book Thief and The Hunger Games protagonists for different reasons of course!

  14. Andrea says

    I read Jane Eyre for the first time a few years ago and absolutely loved it! Afterwards I watched many of the film versions (I think my boyfriend thought that I was insane at the time). While I did enjoy the 2011 movie, I think the story is a bit too long to adequately fit into a feature film. However, the 2006 miniseries is fantastic and in my opinion the best version hands down as it has the time to really delve into the story. I interlibrary loaned it through my library, I’m sure you could do the same Kristen. Highly recommended!

  15. Liz says

    I love books and reading, but I have to say – this contest is NOT the most intuitive! I clicked the ones I liked, hit Done, and never saw an option to share them on Pinterest. Hmm.

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