Posted by: ktzefr | November 14, 2010

Ten Girls (Characters) Who Make Me Smile…

Some books make you cry.  Others leave you conflicted or confused.  A few can put a smile on your face for days.  The best ones do a little of all three — and then some.  From the books (for young readers) on my shelves, I plucked from the lineup these ten memorable girl characters that make me smile:


Salamanca Tree Hiddle from Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Sal is an entertainer and her outrageous tale about her friend Phoebe helps her, and the reader, piece together Sal’s own story.)

Hollis Woods from Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (Hollis is trouble; she’s been tossed from one foster home to another.  But, as defiant as she seems, her true yearning is for a place to belong.)

Hattie Owen from A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin (Hattie lives in a boarding house and loves the carnival.  She stirs up trouble when she befriends her Uncle Adam who has mental problems and threatens to spill the family’s secrets.)

Stargirl from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (She first calls herself Pocket Mouse, then Mudpie, then Hullygully, then Stargirl.  Others say she’s a bafflement, another species, an alien.  She’s a nonconformist.  Her world is strange and magical and sometimes all too real.)

Esperanza Cordero from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Esperanza does not want to belong to her rundown neighborhood, so she dreams of another life and invents for herself what she will become.)

Gypsy Dotson from Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth C. White (Gypsy becomes friends with her cousin Woodrow, a boy who is cross-eyed and wears old clothes but has plenty of witty stories to tell.  The two share secrets and sorrows about the family and the coal community where they live.)

Claudia Kincaid from From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Claudia decides to run away, not from somewhere but to somewhere — the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.)

Lizzie Bright Griffin from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt (Lizzie is smart and funny and full of energy.  She and her friend Turner try to save Malaga Island, the poor community where she lives.)

Calpurnia from The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Callie loves her granddaddy’s laboratory and takes every opportunity to study nature in the wide open spaces, but she’s forced to allocate time to learning how to curtsy, do up her hair, and play the piano.)

Martha Boyle from Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (Over one summer at her grandmother’s place at the beach Martha gets her first kiss from a boy she once despised — and may despise again — and comes to terms with the eerie connection between her and a former classmate who was killed in a tragic accident.)

What are your favorites?


  1. Scout-To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s my favorite character of all.

    Menolly-Dragonsong. My favorite as a teenager when I was in a sci-fi stage.

    Priscilla-JohnnyTremain. My mother almost named me Priscilla after her so I always felt a special connection.

    • I totally forgot about Scout!! I was just pulling books from one shelf to see what popped up. BTW, I’m reading and enjoying Dark Water. Thanks!

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