I was listening to a conversation about female action heroes on NPR’s Talk of the Nation last week. The guest, Murray Horwitz, focused on movies, but I started wondering about books. What books for children feature a female super hero? I began to think about all of the books with an innocent protagonist who confronts obstacles, is tested, and succeeds. The typical hero’s journey, but with a “super hero” vibe. Horwitz called Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Ellen Ripley in Aliens, as “probably the most comprehensive, most complete female action hero.” So, with Weaver’s example as my inspiration, here are three Super Hero picture books featuring female protagonists.
Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu by Emily Arnold McCully (I love this book and use it regularly at school. The story takes place in 17th century China and the main character, Wu Mei, is a role model for self discipline and true strength.)
The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke (Princess Violetta’s father plans a jousting match, and the prize is marriage to his daughter. Violetta has other plans.)
Clever Beatrice by Margaret Willey (Clever Beatrice uses her wits to confront a physically strong giant. There are three books in this terrific series illustrated by Deborah Solomon.)