Best Female Role Models
In Fictional Novels
From Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett to JK Rowling's Hermione Granger, there are some amazing female role models in kids' and young adult fiction. Here are some of the best fictional ladies to introduce to your daughters and sons before they get too caught up in a complicated relationship with social media or the unrealistic expectations of modern culture.
Elizabeth Bennett, Pride & Prejudice
One of the original examples of intelligence during the Victorian Era, Elizabeth Bennett is clever, kind, and unwavering in her beliefs, but she isn't catty, judgmental, or vain. Many Victorian women are depicted as silly, stupid, and dull, but the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice is none of those things. Instead of focusing on ribbons, kitchen decor, and marriage like her mother, she prefers books, propriety, and intelligence, like her father. She may be stubborn and proud, but she goes against all the conventional behaviors of women of her period, choosing independence over financial security.
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter Series
Before there was a Bella Swan or a Katniss Everdeen, there was J.K. Rowling's Hermione Granger. One of the most amazing female characters of all time, Hermione is not the star of the Harry Potter series, but she is one of the most-loved characters from the books and movies. She's strong, smart, clever, and brave, but also emotional, realistic, and stubborn. She didn't just teach us that girls are strong and capable; she shows that it's okay to be smart and confident, and to raise your hand in class. Sure, strong and intelligent women sometimes intimidate guys, but Hermione teaches young girls that it doesn't matter. She goes from the friendless, bossy girl crying in a bathroom to the brave and smart woman who battles evil and saves the wizarding world. She is the role model every daughter should know.
Matilda Wormwood, Matilda
Matilda is the smart little girl with the idiotic parents, the evil principal, and the sweet but meek teacher. She spends her days reading books, ignoring the negative opinions of her parents, and learning how unfair the world can be. Instead of accepting it, she stands up for her peers and goes about righting the wrongs of the bullies around her to find peace and happiness for herself and others. She's strong, brave, and one of our favorite young literary heroines.
Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird
An unusual little girl, Scout is confident, smart, and thoughtful. She does things with the best of intentions, yet she refuses to back down simply because she's a girl. She fights the boys with no hesitation, yet at the beginning of the book she does so out of innocence. By the end, she does so out of passion for what's right in the world. This small but mighty girl makes the right decisions at a young and impressionable age.
Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games Trilogy
The character of Katniss Everdeen arrived in style and with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Popularity of the trilogy only grew after the wild success of the first movie, The Hunger Games, and the wide publicity surrounding the leading actress, Jennifer Lawrence. However, it's important to remember that Katniss began as a strong survivor and protector in these young adult novels, and those distinctions follow her around throughout the trilogy. We see a stoic but thoughtful girl in the first book. We watch her transform into a victim of trauma and emerge as a passionate activist who fights for what's right.