Elizabeth Slays the Dragon: Feminism in Children's Literature

Analyze how children’s literature has changed over the years to be more inclusive and to have strong female protagonists. One example of this theme is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch.

  • This is an interesting topic. I cannot say I am familiar with many strong female protagonists in children's literature other than The Paper Bag Princess. That goes to show there should be more – Riccio 6 years ago
  • You could start with Jo in Little Women and Anne in Anne of Green Gables plus Pippi Longstocking and Ramona and Beezus. – Munjeera 6 years ago
  • It's stupid to have male heroes only since men are stronger than women, as a group, but not the dragons, etc., that are so often slain in children's literature. This father of two female dragon slayers says, "Great topic." – Tigey 6 years ago
  • Look at Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"--in that story, the little girl, Gerda, is the one who embarks on the dangerous journey to save the boy, Kay. Also, some of George McDonald's fairytales feature interesting female protagonists, as does Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost." – Allie Dawson 6 years ago
  • Don't forget Hansel and Gretel, wherein Gretel is the one who ultimately defeats the witch. Feminism is a lot older than we think. Some other great examples of feminism in children's lit: 1. Amazing Grace (can't remember the author right now): Grace, a young black girl, is determined to get the lead in her class' production of Peter Pan, although her classmates say a black girl can't play the role. 2. Homecoming (Cynthia Voigt): Dicey Tillerman, 13, takes over the role of mother and leads her 4 siblings to a new home after their mentally ill mother disappears. 3. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi): Charlotte, a young girl growing up in the 1830s, becomes a crew member on the Seahawk during a voyage from England to America, and helps put down a ruthless captain. 4. Dear America and American Girl books: many of these have strong female protagonists. Focus on Julie, Kit, and Felicity for particular AG examples. – Stephanie M. 6 years ago
  • Also, try Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. – Munjeera 6 years ago

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