1. Violet Baudelaire – A Series of Unfortunate Events
Ladies, let’s welcome to the list a female inventor! Violet is the eldest of the pack of Baudelaires and also the brains behind many of their escape plans from the evil Count Olaf. She has a knack for inventing things. She always ties her hair up in a ribbon when she is immersed in a brainstorming session, because it allows her to think better. Among Violet’s inventions are the grappling hook that gets her up Count Olaf’s tower, a lock pick that enables her to open up Count Olaf’s suitcase, a signaling device, a climbing device made from ties, curtains, and old socks that frees her and her siblings from jail, a rubber band ladder to get out of the burning Heimlich Hospital, fork-assisted climbing shoes that help her and Quigley Quagmire get up the frozen waterfall of Mount Fraught, and many more. I always thought she was badass.
2. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series
I know, she is a popular one. I literally idolized her when I was young. Not only brainy and clever, but nice, hardworking, loyal, no-nonsense, and her heart is always in the right place.
3. Matilda Wormwood – Matilda
Matilda is a child genius who has psychic powers. She leads a playground revolution at her school to overthrow the tyrannical principal and save the day.
4. Kit Kittredge – the American Girls series
So I hesitated about whether or not to include the “American Girls” series since it became so commercial – with most of its advertising dedicated to selling the dolls – and they are probably specific to American readers. But I honestly feel that these are children’s books with inspiring young female images. One example is the character of Kit Kitteridge who grows up during the Great Depression era. (For those not familiar with the American Girls series, each character is set in a certain time period of American history.) Kit is very down-to-earth and productive for her age. She is an aspiring journalist who writes on her typewriter on a regular basis, and takes up small jobs to help her family during the Depression. She looks up to Amelia Earhart as her role model.
5. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games triology
She is, of course, another popular one. I immediately loved Katniss’s character when I first read the series. She is probably the most relatable and wholesome female character I’ve ever read in a fiction novel, but still admirable. She is practical, clever with survival tactics, and compassionate. I also like the fact that she is unapologetically introverted. Introverted females are never normalized in pop culture, where women are frequently portrayed as ‘social creatures’ who love gabbing on the phone and asking their partners what they are thinking at all times. Personally, I also like that fact that she has a quick temper, even though this is actually not a positive trait. Her time-to-time impatience, hot-headedness, and refusal to put up with nonsense is just so relatable that I thought Suzanne Collins was writing about me.