Stories for Raising Strong Girls: A Few Recommendations

It's time to trade in those old damsel-in-distress stories for tales of brave girls and women who can do anything.
Stories for Raising Strong Girls: A Few Recommendations
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Times are changing and the way we raise our children needs to change as well. This includes the stories we tell them. Gender roles have an impact on the development of children’s identities. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the importance of telling stories for raising strong girls.

Gender roles and identity

For centuries, our society has been promoting the differences in education between boys and girls. The former are taught to be strong, repress their emotions, become leaders and be independent. Meanwhile, girls are encouraged to be obedient, sweet and emotional, as well as to adopt a passive and supportive role towards others.

These sexist ideas still exist in our society, although to a lesser extent than in the past. However, they continue to be a drag on the overall personal development of boys and girls alike. These standards serve to repress and inhibit their needs and desires if they do not fit their prescribed roles.

As a result, it is the family’s responsibility to educate children and protect them from information they receive from the world. Your nuclear family needs to provide the tools needed to face life’s experiences, offering them clear guidance to prevent these stereotypes from impacting your children’s personalities.

Stories as educational tools

Stories can be powerful tools for instilling values in children. These narratives can teach little ones about the way the world works. Through the characters, they experience different ways of dealing with important situations, as well as the consequences that follow.

Stories for Raising Strong Girls: A Few Recommendations

Children identify with the stories’ protagonists, which allows them to express their fears and concerns while learning new ways to cope with the world.

With this in mind, we need to be careful about the stories we choose to tell our children. We need to remember that childhood is the time when identities are forged and our deepest beliefs are founded.

We have to choose stories that communicate information and values that are relevant and consistent with what we want for our children.

Stories for raising strong girls

In this article, we’ll look at a selection of books that will help girls feel powerful and capable, ready to take initiative in their lives and truly love themselves.

These books aren’t exclusively for girls. Remember that it’s just as important to teach our sons that gender roles are impositions. They need to know they can cry without being judged. They should learn that girls can be athletes without being underestimated.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

This book of fairy tales for strong-willed girls collects 100 short stories about the real lives of extraordinary, brave and determined women. Women who made history and serve as examples of the unlimited potential of a woman with passion. It’s the perfect way to end each day by dreaming big.

Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell

Continuing with the theme of inspiring real-life stories, don’t miss this tribute to the scientist Jane Goodall. This is the story of the little English girl with dreams of traveling to Africa and meeting the animals in her books. Her dream comes true, as she grows up to become a world-renowned primatologist.

Stories for Raising Strong Girls: A Few Recommendations

Twice Upon a Time, by Belén Gaudes and Pablo Macías

This series rewrites some of the best-known children’s stories. In the new versions, the princesses are more than damsels in distress and the villains aren’t purely evil. All of the characters show a powerful drive to be themselves.

Yo voy conmigo, by Raquel Díaz Reguera (only available in Spanish)

This is a lovely tale of becoming reacquainted with yourself. It’s the story of a young girl who changes things about herself to get a boy to like her. However, by the time the boy returns her attentions, she no longer recognizes herself. So she sets about rebuilding her real self, learning that you shouldn’t change to suit others.

Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae

This sweet story is an ode to perseverance and a belief in oneself. By following the main character, Chufa, girls can learn that, despite their limitations, they’re more capable than they can even imagine.

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