16 Bedtime Stories to Inspire Young Girls

For those who struggle to get to sleep at night, there’s nothing like a good story. Relaxing with your favorite book is a great way to unwind and slip off to sleep. The same is true for kids just as much as adults. That’s why for all lovers of books, we probably have at least one fond memory of being read to before bedtime. Because the books we read as children play such an important part in shaping our worldview, it’s important that children’s books contain positive lessons and morals.

This often means stories of kindness, bravery, and acceptance. While these are all necessary, there’s a story that is less frequently told, but is no less important. That is the story of the strong, independent woman. Girls are often read stories of princesses and damsels, but not scientists and mathematicians. They're told the importance of understanding and kindness, but not smarts and guts.

Thankfully there are authors who are making an effort to write empowering and diverse female characters into their children’s books. Sleep Advisor compiled a great list of inspiring books for young girls. There’s books on historical figures to show that women can and do make a difference. There’s also books on learning to celebrate yours and others individual differences. And, there’s even a few powerful princesses on their list.

Check it out below to find the perfect bedtime story for the young girl in your life

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On Strong Female Characters

I'm not going to lie to you. Many of us who write strong female characters have begun to wince when we're asked to talk about them at panels or during an interview. It's not because being a strong female is a trend that has passed, but because it was never a trend in the first place.

Women were strong before Katniss picked up a bow or Tris jumped off a train. Read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder - a true story - and you'll see a young girl braiding sheaves of straw together until her hands bleed so that her family has something to burn in their stove to ward off the bitter temperatures. Read that book as an adult and you'll understand that the family is dying, slowly starving to death while malnutrition and ennui sets in.

I dabble in genealogy as a hobby, and have traced my German line back to the 1500s. There I found a woman who gave birth to 15 children - and outlived all but two of them. I ran the dates, and in one week she lost two adolescent daughters (due to an illness in the home, I assume), gave birth a few days later, then lost the infant the next week.

She kept going.

There were seven other children still at home that needed care. She went on to raise them, and deliver more healthy children that grew into adulthood. She lived to be nearly 100 - certainly an accomplishment in the 1500's - and buried all but two of the children she gave birth to.

I bring up this ancestor from 500 years ago when I'm asked about writing strong female characters. This mother of fifteen didn't know about YA literature - in fact, she probably couldn't read - but I'm pretty sure she would have laughed at the idea of strong women being a trend.

Women were strong then.
Women are strong now.
Women will continue to be strong.

Us Vs. Them: It's Not A Question of Gender

I've been asked more than once if I'm a man-hater.

The answer is no, I'm a rapist-hater.

When I was a kid I grew up surrounded by male cousins, a predominance of males my age in my church, and most of my close friends were males. I distinctly remember going to a birthday party in kindergarten where I was the only girl, insisting on being the blue Transformer, and generally having a blast.

Not much changed as I grew older. Yes, things changed. We became aware that we were fundamentally different from one another. There were attractions as we matured, some weird confusion from time to time, misunderstandings and miscues... all the things that make life interesting.

But at no point did I ever hate men.

And I still don't.

Some of my closest friends are male (weirdly all their names start with J), and the election cycle  brought up  a lot of conversational fodder, as you can imagine. I don't necessarily agree with them - or they with me - all the time, on every topic. But we can converse, and I've said things to them that brought women's issues into a different perspective, and they've told me things that made me understand that men also have unique fears in social situations.

So often - and especially in the current climate - we find it easier to draw a line that separates us from them. We like the simplicity of assessing a person based on their gender or race, but real life - and real humans - are much more complicated than that.

I prefer to think in terms of decency, which is a choice we all have to make every day. No matter what we've done in our past, who we voted for, or whether or not we liked The Phantom Menace, we can choose to be decent today.

So no, I'm not a man-hater.

I'm a hate-hater.