Books for Girls

A few weeks ago, we published a list of books popular with male readers.  But what about the girls?  We may not want to be too gender specific, but there is nothing wrong with girls wanting to read about the experiences and lives of other girls.  Too often,  “girly” books are looked down upon as being frivolous, but you don’t need to be told that this is not always the case.  Here is a list of books, with strong female characters and stories, that we find are popular with girls of all ages.  These are just a few suggestions, if you would like more for your students, email

Lower Primary

The Deep End by Ursula Dubosarsky

Shortlisted for the CBC Book of the Year Award, this delightful story is about overcoming your fears and being brave.


All Through the Year by Jane Godwin

This beautiful picture book chronicles the life of one little girl’s family over the course of a year.  Watch as school begins, they celebrate favourite holidays and play through the seasons.

My Best Book of Nibbles

A collection of some of the most popular “girly” Aussie Nibbles by authors such as Julia Lawrinson, Ursula Dubosarsky and Jane Godwin.

Are We There Yet?  by Alison Lester

Alison Lester’s travelogue has now become an Australian classic.  Follow a young girl and her family as they drive around Australia on the adventure of a lifetime.

Teachers’ Notes

Middle Primary

Cathy Cassidy

The wonderful Cathy Cassidy has fans of many different ages.  Her ability to use humour and sensitivity to explore serious issues such as step-families, bullying, friendships, etc, means that she connects strongly with her readers.  The Daizy Star books are suitable for younger readers, while her other stand alone titles, and the Chocolate Box Girls series, are suitable for 10-14 year olds.


Our Australian Girl

No doubt many of you are now familiar with the Our Australian Girl series.  Launched earlier in the year, almost 100,000 books across the series have now been sold.  Girls, teachers and parents around Australian have fallen in love with Grace, Poppy, Letty and Rose and their adventures during different stages in Australia’s history.  All four books for each character are now available.  But don’t take our word for it, read some of our reader reviews.

Teachers’ Notes

Running With the Horses by Alison Lester

Set during WWII, Running With the Horses follows the daughter of a horse trainer from the famous Royal Academy of Dancing Horses.  Based on the true story of the evacuation of the Vienna Riding School, Nina must gather all her courage to make the long journey into the mountains in order to save the horses she loves.  Longer than the average picture book, with much more text, this is a wonderful bridge towards reading novels but will be enjoyed by girls of all ages.

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children by Jen Storer

This slightly gothic fairytale is perfect for both reading aloud and reading alone.  Tensy is a plucky orphan in mortal danger but it could be up to her to save the day.

Upper Primary

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

When Prue’s younger brother is abducted by crows, she must venture into the Impassable Wilderness to retrieve him.  Reminiscent of movies such as The Labyrinth or classic tales of dark woods and talking animals, Wildwood is set to become a modern classic.  Prue is a feisty, modern girl who is not afraid of a bit of danger.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

While recommended for middle readers, this book has been popular with girls up into middle secondary.  Aubrey is an adorable 11-year-old trying to come to terms with the death of her sister and father. Read with a box of tissues!

Unit of Work

A Ghost In My Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang

When Celeste travels to China to stay with her grandmother, she learns of an ancient family secret.  Magical realism, family secrets and an Australian in China make for a wonderful adventure story for middle readers.

Teachers’ Notes

Halo by Zizou Corder

Washed up on an Ancient Greek beach as a baby, Halo is raised by Centaurs until she is abducted by slave traders.  Knowing that to be a girl is to be in extreme danger, she escapes and disguises herself as a boy.  Halo navigates the waters of gender inequality as she realises just how many more opportunities there are for her as a boy.  But can she stay in disguise forever?

Lower Secondary

Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Twelve-year-old Ditty is being raised as part of a strict Jewish community in Melbourne.  When she discovers a love of ballet, she knows that she must learn in secret.  But is she willing to sacrifice her family and her community for her passion?  An interesting insight into a community that few students would know exists.

Teachers’ Notes

Scout by Nicole Pluss

Kit’s father died at sea before she was born.  Now, fifteen years later, Kit and her mother must travel to the distant colony of Australia in order to ensure their future.  The story follows Kit’s journey on The Scout as the passengers travel from London, all in the hope of finding a better life, but for very different reasons.

Teachers’ Notes

Falling from Grace by Jane Godwin

Falling from Grace has become a popular class text over the last few years.  Set on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, it follows the mysterious disappearance of Annie’s sister.  Told in short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, this is guaranteed to hook reluctant readers. 

Teachers’ Notes

Unit of Work

Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld

Steampunk, action-adventure – the Leviathan series is told, in part, by Deryn.  A Scottish girl, disguised as a boy in order to enter the British Air Force during WWI, Deryn becomes a celebrated soldier.  Fabricated beasts, a prince in disguise, a Great War – this is old-fashioned adventure, with modern twists, at its best.

Middle Secondary


Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Don’t let the girly, teen romance covers fool you, these books are smart, funny and romantic without being sentimental.  Perkins female characters are sassy and engaging, while her male characters will have teenage girls wishing for a year in Paris or the cute boy next door.  Great for reluctant readers, you can’t help but enjoy them.


Anna Godbersen

These beautiful covers have enticed many a teenage girl (and quite a few grown up women) but it’s the quality of the stories that keep the readers interested in the series.  Set in New York, at the turn of the 20th Century (the Luxe) and the height of the 1920s Jazz age (Bright Young Things), these books are tremendous fun.  Bright lights, beautiful dresses, handsome boys, romance, love triangles, betrayals – these books have it all.  Anna Godbersen religiously researches not only the era her books are set in, but literature of the time in order for her books to ring true.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Set in Lithuania during WWII, this tells the often unknown story of the millions of people transported from Eastern Europe to Siberia during Stalin’s control of Russia.  Fifteen-year-old Lina is taken, along with her mother and brother, and for years endures hardship that few would survive.  Her hope never falters and her extraordinary courage shines through.

Unit of Work


Matched & Crossed by Ally Condie

Dystopia is hugely popular at the moment and this trilogy (book 3 to be released in 2012) deserves to be up there with the best.  17-year-old Cassia lives in a world controlled by The Society.  Everything in Cassia’s life is controlled – her future job, what she eats, the books she reads, even who she will marry and how many children she will have.  When Cassia meets Ky, she begins to question The Society and together they embark on a dangerous journey to freedom.

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