Who's Your Heroine?

As a kid, I learned how to read relatively late — I think it was the end of first grade — but once I started, I couldn’t stop.  I read everything that would hold still — cereal boxes, billboards, even The Thornbirds in fifth grade (I loaned that one  to my teacher, Sister Mary Rose.  Good times in the Catholic school world.)

My daughter has turned out just like me, which I’m sure amuses my parents to no end. I get no sympathy when my daughter gets busted reading during math class, when I have to remind her to put down her book when she walks down the stairs, or when I have to resort to draconian punishments.  (“Do that one more time and I’ll … I’ll take away your book!”)

Baby Bookworm with ancient copy of Nancy Drew

But the flip side to having a baby bookworm  is one of my greatest pleasures — I get to introduce her to some of my favorite characters, the girls and women I loved when I was her age.  And unlike me, they show no signs of wear and tear.  Nancy Drew is just as perky in her blue convertible, Ann Shirley just as brave and generous, Laura Ingalls just as feisty and independent as the first time I opened a book and went inside their worlds.

And my daughter has returned the favor.  Because of her, we’ve plowed through books I might not have ever read, and discovered some fabulous new characters along the way. Kitty Jones in the Bartimaeus Trilogy is as strong a role model as they come.  Ella Enchanted is brave and independent (even if she’s cursed to be obedient — not as good a plan as a parent might think).  And what little girl – or mother, for that matter –  wouldn’t want to be Hermione Granger?

Who is your literary heroine, and what have you learned from her?  Start thinking now, because later this week I’ll have a surprise guest posting here, and you’ll have a chance to win a book all about fabulous fictional heroines.  See you then!

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Liz Michalski


  1. Julie Wu on October 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I’m still waiting for my son to be a bookworm so he’ll entertain himself for a change . . . Interesting question about literary heroines. I have not had one over-arching one and do not necessarily categorize literary heros by gender, but I admired Jo March as a youngster, and yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Both writers, I guess . . .

    • liz on October 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

      Two of my favorites as well…

      • Linda on October 25, 2010 at 9:23 pm

        I liked Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder, probably because they were both curious. Additionally Nancy was smart and Laura was imaginative.
        I have never understood the appeal of the Jane Austen novels — the human interaction is way too indirect for me.

  2. Christine Greeley on October 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    One of my favorite plucky little heroines is Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia. Her innocent curiosity and determination leads us all into the grand adventure that spans several books. Throughout the stories she resolutely conquers every evil that crosses her path with optimism and resolve that evaporates in most people as they grow older.

    As a kid, my favorite was Fern in Charlotte’s Web. That she saved the pig from the dinner table always got me choked up 😉

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