This post was sponsored by Simon & Schuster in celebration of powerful girls everywhere! All opinions expressed in my post are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
If you know me personally or have read See Mom Click for any amount of time, you know I LOVE to read. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, and I’ve read to both of my kids since they were babies. It’s been a way to bond with them, enjoy a shared interest, and so much of what they know (their vocabulary, life lessons, historical facts) has come from books.
My daughter is 12 now, and even though she’s a bit older and can certainly handle the bedtime reading without mom, we still enjoy books together. It’s actually more fun for me now that she’s older because young adult genre and middle-grader reads happen to be awesome. I enjoy these stories just as much as she does. Middle school is no joke for girls, and it’s been an added bonus that many of the books we read have strong girl characters. Little tip: Life lessons are more easily explained by a book than by Mom preaching the same thing over and over again.
The Littlest Bigfoot Series by Jennifer Weiner
Over the past couple of years we’ve accumulated a nice little ‘girl-power library’ for my daughter, and we just added two new books to the shelf. Jennifer Weiner is the author of The Littlest Bigfoot series, which now includes two books: The Littlest Bigfoot and the newly released Little Bigfoot, Big City. The final book in the series will be out in 2018. This series is geared toward middle-grade girls, about ages 8-12.
Moms, you might recognize the name Jennifer Weiner as the best-selling author of women’s lit, too. She wrote All Fall Down, Who Do You Love, and many more you just might have on your own bookshelf. I’m thrilled that she’s now writing for our daughters! And these books explore all those important themes that hit our tweens in the face: self-love, positive body image, and friendship between girls. I will personally take any help in those departments that I can get.
The Littlest Bigfoot
The Littlest Bigfoot is the first book in the trilogy and it’s SO good. We just started reading and can’t put it down! “Just one more chapter, mom!” It’s a tale of friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong. 12-year-old human Alice meets Millie, who is part of the hidden Bigfoot clan. Both girls feel like outsiders in their own worlds but feel completely accepted by each other.
Read an excerpt from The Littlest Bigfoot and check it out. It grabs you right away, doesn’t it? I adored Alice from the first paragraph.
Little Bigfoot, Big City
Little Bigfoot, Big City is the second installment in the series and it just released October 31, 2017 so it’s available to grab now. Alice learns a secret about herself – she may not be human after-all! She travels with Millie to NYC, where Millie wants to audition for a reality singing competition. So Alice is searching for answers, Millie is chasing her dreams, and all the while, Bigfoot hunters are after them led by a lonely kid named Jeremy!
I’m so excited to finish the first book and dive into this one immediately afterward. You can read an excerpt from Little Bigfoot, Big City here.
Learn More About The Littlest Bigfoot Series
Build A Girl-Power Library With These Books for Middle School Girls
Let me show you some of our FAVORITE girl-power books for middle-school girls. I’ve read most of these with my daughter but I got her to go through her bookshelf with me and make sure we added any she’s read on her own that fit the bill, and that we are both in agreement on which ones are at the top of our list of recommendations. So this is coming from both a mom and a 12 year-old!
These stories feature young girls that are brave, kind, overcome obstacles, and need to find their way when they don’t fit in, and they’re perfect for young girls.
As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
Thirteen-year-old Amelie Day loves to bake so she’s thrilled when she’s invited to compete in the Best Teen Baker of the Year contest. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis, and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mom stop her from taking part, Amelie musters all her Flour Power. But will it be enough to get her to the top?
Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.
Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.
More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.
Katie Welker is used to being alone. She would rather read a book than deal with other people. Other people don’t have silver eyes. Other people can’t make things happen just by thinking about them!
But these special powers make Katie unusual, and it’s hard to make friends when you’re unusual. Katie knows that she’s different but she’s never done anything to hurt anyone so why is everyone afraid of her? Maybe there are other kids out there who have the same silver eyes . . . and the same talents . . . and maybe they’ll be willing to help her.
Fans of the humor and clever clues in the Sammy Keyes books will enjoy The Wig in the Window, first in Kristen Kittscher’s funny middle-grade mystery series.
Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (also known as Dr. Awkward).
At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets. But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.
Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. Will solving the case destroy their friendship?
A brave and unusual girl named Serafina lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate amidst the splendor of the Gilded Age. Serafina’s pa, the estate’s maintenance man, has warned her to keep herself hidden from the fancy folk who live on the floors above, but when children at the estate start disappearing, Serafina and her friend Braeden Vanderbilt must work together to solve a dark and dangerous mystery.
Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.
In the highly-anticipated next installment of the Serafina series, Serafina must confront the darkest threat she’s ever encountered at Biltmore Estate. She knows she can face anything with her best friend and closest ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, by her side. But when a sinister force tears them apart, Serafina scrambles to uncover the mystery of her most formidable challenge yet…and about herself and the destiny that awaits her.
Alice Mayfair, twelve years old, slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one.
But Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan who dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star.
Alice swears to protect Millie’s secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid…
Twelve-year-old Alice Mayfair has a secret. She’s not human. But who—or what—is she? While Alice goes in search of her past, her best friend Millie Maximus, a tiny Bigfoot with a big voice, prepares for her future. Together they plan to sneak off to New York City, where Millie hopes to audition for The Next Stage, the TV show she’s sure will rocket her to stardom and free her from the suffocating expectations of her tribe.
Meanwhile Jeremy Bigelow’s Bigfoot research has put him on the radar of a shadowy government organization led by a mysterious man named Trip Carruthers. The Bigfoots have something, a chemical so powerful and dangerous that the government will do anything to obtain it. And Jeremy is tasked with securing it once and for all.
In an unexpected twist of fate, Jeremy, Alice, and Millie find themselves facing off at a crossroads. But in order to determine where they’re going, they have to first figure out where they come from—and draw the line between what is good, what is evil, and what it means to be a hero.
When Sara Crewe is sent to boarding school in London, she enters as a wealthy, well-loved, intelligent girl; never knowing the future she will face. After learning that her father has died, her charmed life abruptly ends at the hands of the jealous headmistress. Plunged into a life of poverty, Sara relies on her inner strength and creativity to find happiness and friendship in the most unlikely places.
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D. Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt—all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges? New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.
To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:
―The number four
―The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
―A crisp white pad of paper
―Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines
What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?
But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly’s world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.
When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.
The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in—and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.
Lily loves her halfbrother, Adam, but his autism has taken over her life. Lily can’t make friends or go out after school — caring for Adam has forced Lily to become as much mother as sister. All Lily wants is for her stepfather, Don, to acknowledge that Adam has a real issue, and to find some kind of program that can help him. Then maybe she can have a life of her own.
Adam’s always loved dolphins, so when Don, an oncologist, hears about a young dolphin with cancer, he offers to help. He brings Lily and Adam along, and Adam and the dolphin — Nori — bond instantly. Don is sure this is the answer to their problems.
Though Lily sees how much Adam loves Nori, she also knows deep down that the dolphin shouldn’t spend the rest of her life in captivity, away from her own family. Can Adam find real help somewhere else? And can Lily help Nori regain her freedom without betraying her family?
This is a deeply moving story about love, freedom, and letting go.
Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.”
Which books would you add to my list?