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Strong female protagonists 6th graders will knowUPDATE PG.3

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Posts

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Hmm, there's also Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I loved those in elementary school. Hell, I found the hardback collection at a used bookstore a few months ago, reread it, and found it still fun. My wife is going through it now too and enjoying it.

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  • -Phil--Phil- Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Any Disney characters like Belle from Beauty and the Beast?

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  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Charolotte and Fern from Charlotte's web - I know that's usually 4th grader curriculum (or at least used to be), but at least they'd be familiar with it.

  • LibrarianLibrarian Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Thanks for the great suggestions, I will go with Katara and Toph and think about some others.

    I think most kids here(Germany) know Pippi Longstocking, but that might be considered kid stuff by the kids, they are 12 years old mostly and Astrid Lindgren is for younger children I'd say.

    I personally like a lot of the characters that have been mentioned, like Coraline or Studio Ghibli protagonists, but I think a lot of those won't be known to the majority of the kids.

    My first plan is to give them a paper with pitures of heroes basically everyone knows, then there will be some villains that everyone is familiar with and then I want some characters that are a bit more ambivalent.
    The idea is to get them talking about what makes this a good guy, what makes this a bad one and what about this character, is he good or bad?

    I would also like to add some characters they will definitely not know, so they can do research on the internet and with books to find out about them and let them decide where they fit.
    And then I want to get them to talk about what the hero of a story usually does that makes him a hero and what their personal heroes are, etc.

    The idea is just to get them working together in groups and let them do the stuff, this is not going to be a lesson where I need to instruct them much.
    So far we(coworker and I) are really surprised how much the kids are willing to work with what we give them, but we really have to set the bar low when it comes to reading comprehension, without at the same time giving them the feeling that this is stuff for little children.
    Last time my coworker read a story to them and they actually were quiet and attentive the whole time, which I didn't expect to happen.

    I would like to have some sort of bridge between this simple stuff and introducing them to some books, but really anything that is too long or too descriptive is gonna fall flat with them.
    Some kids in the class don't really speak the language all that fluently yet and a lot of the other's come from family backgrounds where noone reads, so we have to start small.

    friedegg wrote: »
    Lord of the Flies. Frightening. Especially if you are a fat kid with glasses.
  • CuddlyCuteKittenCuddlyCuteKitten Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Pippi Longstocking? Do children know about Pippi Longstocking anymore?

    Two pages to get this?

    When adults talk about strong female heroines Pippi is usually one of their first picks. You'd think she'd be nr 1 for kids.

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaow - Felicia, SPFT2:T
  • ceresceres Your photo framed Raw within my mindSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2010
    My 6th grade English teacher read to us once a week. I guess it probably seems like something that's too young for us, especially since it was the honors English class, but she read age-appropriate stuff, and it was always looked forward to. If you make appropriate choices and are interesting to listen to, even at that age they'll probably sit still for it.

    And I am done with my graceless heart,
    So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart.

    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    What about Nancy Drew? I think Nancy Drew and Coraline will have higher name recognition than you think because of the recent movies.

    ...I've never heard of Katara or Toph before.

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  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Pippi Longstocking is awesome, I loved those books as a kid.

    Oh, how about Mrs. Frisby/Brisby from The Rats of NIMH? I was especially impressed with her because they made a point about how she was very timid by nature (unlike Luke Skywalker or Mulan), but nevertheless stepped up to the plate to help the rats and protect her family.

    And, since I'm on an animal kick here, Missus from The Hundred & One Dalmatians (the book by Dodie Smith. In the book Missus is Pongo's wife and Perdita is a completely different dog). Light-hearted, hilarious book with vocabulary that seems to "speak up" to kids instead of speaking down to them; I think it would be great for reluctant readers. Dodie Smith also wrote I Capture the Castle which has a strong female protagonist whose name I forget.

  • RyadicRyadic Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Kistra wrote: »
    What about Nancy Drew? I think Nancy Drew and Coraline will have higher name recognition than you think because of the recent movies.

    ...I've never heard of Katara or Toph before.

    Nancy Drew is who I was trying to think of for like 10 minutes this morning. She may not be popular like she was when I was young, but I'm sure there will be a few of her books in the library at the school.

    Also, Goosebumps books would often have a female lead. I think 6th grade is about the time when you stop reading those. I know I read them in 5th grade, but not sure about 6th.

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  • SilverWindSilverWind Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Fairly recently, bookwise-- Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series, and Katniss from the Hunger Games trilogy. The latter is more for young teens, but it was definitely all the rage amongst the Grade 6 to 8s I've encountered in the last year here in Canada.

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  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I'm glad we got to page 3 and no one seriously recommended Bella Swan for the nomination, even though her recognition is probably through the roof. On the other hand, unless you explicitly are talking speculative fiction characters, you may not be able to avoid Carly. I haven't been able to watch more than 30 seconds of the show at a time, but the positive responses I even see from adults suggest she's a reasonably respectable character. Of course, if we're talking really low income families, they might not even have the cable necessary.

    At this point, I see Buffy as being nearly as iconic a superhero as Wonder Woman, so she might still make the cut.

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  • Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Cate Blanchett's Marian in the latest movie interpretation of Robin Hood was a pretty strong female character.
    She hasn't always been much more than the pretty babe in need of rescue. Which you could use to talk a little about how legends often get updated to reflect what our changing culture emphasizes as heroic or villainous.

  • The CowThe Cow Registered User
    edited December 2010
    I remember thinking that Sabriel by Garth Nix was totally awesome and had a really uncompromising female protagonist when I read it in 7th grade. It does have a significant amount of adult themes, however, so I don't know if you want to tackle those yet. That series is pretty awesome overall though.

  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Dorothy was a whiny, ungrateful little shit. Like Ariel.

    Out of the Disney Princesses Mulan is one of the few who was a kickass woman and not a helpless girl.

    I'm a fan of Belle, personally. She's possibly the only geeky Disney princess, rejects the frat guy, and goes with her heart. Of course, she also stays with the borderline abusive Beast, so there is another side.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Joan of Arc is sort of your canonical example here, and has the added bonus of having, y'know, actually existed.

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  • RingoRingo Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    SilverWind wrote: »
    Fairly recently, bookwise-- Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series, and Katniss from the Hunger Games trilogy. The latter is more for young teens, but it was definitely all the rage amongst the Grade 6 to 8s I've encountered in the last year here in Canada.

    These are all the rage in America right now as well. Hunger Games got my niece to read three books, and my niece abhors reading books.

    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
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  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Perhaps I'm off base with what 6th graders may or may not have seen these days, but what about Ellen Ripley from Alien/Aliens or Sarah Connor in Terminator/Terminator 2?

    I definitely saw both series by the 6th grade, and to this day they remain among the first people I think of when the topic of strong female protagonists come up.

    Maybe they're not ideal candidates, as I believe all of those movies are R rated... but they're also literally a decade or more old, so I'm not even sure that means anything to kids/parents these days.

  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Cate Blanchett's Marian in the latest movie interpretation of Robin Hood was a pretty strong female character.
    She hasn't always been much more than the pretty babe in need of rescue. Which you could use to talk a little about how legends often get updated to reflect what our changing culture emphasizes as heroic or villainous.

    Actually, historically Marian has been relatively avant-garde. In one of the earliest ballads (or was it a broadside? I forget) she sneaks out of the castle, puts on a disguise, and goes looking for Robin. When she finds him, she challenges him to a swordfight and fights him to a draw before revealing herself.

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  • ceresceres Your photo framed Raw within my mindSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2010
    Marian is definitely way cooler in the older stories than in just about any recent interpretation.

    And I am done with my graceless heart,
    So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart.

    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    WTF, why doesn't that get put into a movie? That's badass.

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  • BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I'm glad Tiana was mentioned in the first page, but come on...No mention of Pixar films (at least, that I saw)?

    Doreen, Colette, Elasta-Girl, Violet...It's a treasure trove, people.

    Granted the first two don't work if you're looking for "characters, strong female" but they do work if you're looking for "strong characters, female"

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  • AvrahamAvraham white men holding kittens dot tumblr dot comRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    try to find out what books a lot of these kids are reading, when I worked at a kids summer camp my sister and the rest of the bunch went wild over Percy Jackson. Personally I havent read these, but they've got a lot of greek mythology. Those might be a good place to start!

    seconding this. Rick Riordan's book The Red Pyramid has good characters too, and an introduction to Egyptian mythology.

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  • TDawgTDawg Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Blackjack wrote: »
    I'm glad Tiana was mentioned in the first page, but come on...No mention of Pixar films (at least, that I saw)?

    Doreen, Colette, Elasta-Girl, Violet...It's a treasure trove, people.

    Granted the first two don't work if you're looking for "characters, strong female" but they do work if you're looking for "strong characters, female"

    I think the idea is that the female is the (or one of the) main character, which is something Pixar is actually notoriously bad at. Also, a pitfall in that there are no associated books.

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  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    The PowerPuff Girls!

    I loved that show all the way through High School!

    Of course, there are always comic book Heroes and Heroines, if you want straight up hero vs. villain. Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Jean Gray, Elektra, Black Cat..there are soooo many..and some of them could be seen as either hero or heroine, depending on whether or not you believe in their reasons to do what they do.

    Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Cruella DeVille is a good female villain.

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  • DekabalDekabal Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Its not iconic but when I was younger Dealing With Dragons was a good read with a very strong female protagonist.

  • AvrahamAvraham white men holding kittens dot tumblr dot comRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    "Doing things which oppose the goals of the protagonists I don't think automatically makes a character a villain. It makes them part of the ensemble, which in totality creates challenges for the heroes. The other trolls also made a point of antagonizing our heroes. Could they be regarded as villains? Where do you draw the line in a story between troublemakers and real villains?"
    "Maybe one good way to define a main villain is whether stopping him will allow the heroes to overcome all their major obstacles."
    http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie

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  • AmytheLibrarianAmytheLibrarian Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Strong female characters that I can think of that 12 year olds would know about are Hermione, Padme (keep in mind that these kids' Star Wars is not *our* Star Wars... which means that Anakin might be a better choice instead of Luke), any character from Glee like Rachel or Quinn or Mercedes etc., Bella from Twilight (strong part is debatable but at least they'd know her... and probably roll their eyes), Princess Peach from Mario... that's all I can think of right now.

    As far as encouraging reluctant readers, I find that as long as I'm excited about books and reading and talking about stuff that they would be interested in that there's usually always going to be some connection there, even if it's at first just a connection to you. You might want to consider telling them a few oral stories or folktales to get them interested in some more classic character from folk literature, like the Cinderella figure or perhaps even Catherine, the Sly Country Lass. It's a great tale about a gal who is just too darned clever for any man. One of my favs!

    Also, if you didn't know already, there is an awesome YA librarian list serv called yalsa-bk that pretty much kicks ass. I'm sure if you posted this question there you'd get flooded with awesome responses from amazing and talented youth and teen librarians.

    Hope that helps :)

    Librarians are the shhh!
  • LibrarianLibrarian Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    UPDATE:

    Thanks for all the input, I ended up taking Katara from Avatar and Kim Possible, both characters who everyone knew.
    It was probably for the best that I didn't take any characters from books, because today showed how problematic that would have been.
    Surprisingly noone knew Link, but the teacher did.

    When they were supposed to look up historical figures to decide if those were heroes I hit a bit of a roadblock.
    Even with constant help these kids had a hard time concentrating long enough to read a passage about each one.
    Didn't help that one of the boys forgot to take his ritalin this morning....
    Unfortunately we had to quit a bit early, because the teacher had some other stuff to do, but we will continue this session in a month.

    It is a bit problematic that not only do these kids not even consider reading as entertaining, but also are frankly quite bad at reading anything at all.
    Those are sweet kids, just horribly uneducated, but I dread where they will be in a couple of years...

    friedegg wrote: »
    Lord of the Flies. Frightening. Especially if you are a fat kid with glasses.
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2010
    Librarian wrote: »
    UPDATE:

    Thanks for all the input, I ended up taking Katara from Avatar and Kim Possible, both characters who everyone knew.
    It was probably for the best that I didn't take any characters from books, because today showed how problematic that would have been.
    Surprisingly noone knew Link, but the teacher did.

    When they were supposed to look up historical figures to decide if those were heroes I hit a bit of a roadblock.
    Even with constant help these kids had a hard time concentrating long enough to read a passage about each one.
    Didn't help that one of the boys forgot to take his ritalin this morning....
    Unfortunately we had to quit a bit early, because the teacher had some other stuff to do, but we will continue this session in a month.

    It is a bit problematic that not only do these kids not even consider reading as entertaining, but also are frankly quite bad at reading anything at all.
    Those are sweet kids, just horribly uneducated, but I dread where they will be in a couple of years...

    There are people in the literacy center here who graduated high school but had a third grade reading level when they came in. Literacy level doesn't really have to do much with intelligence level. If you want them to become literate, you have to keep encouraging them and leaning on them to learn.

  • LibrarianLibrarian Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    Librarian wrote: »
    UPDATE:

    Thanks for all the input, I ended up taking Katara from Avatar and Kim Possible, both characters who everyone knew.
    It was probably for the best that I didn't take any characters from books, because today showed how problematic that would have been.
    Surprisingly noone knew Link, but the teacher did.

    When they were supposed to look up historical figures to decide if those were heroes I hit a bit of a roadblock.
    Even with constant help these kids had a hard time concentrating long enough to read a passage about each one.
    Didn't help that one of the boys forgot to take his ritalin this morning....
    Unfortunately we had to quit a bit early, because the teacher had some other stuff to do, but we will continue this session in a month.

    It is a bit problematic that not only do these kids not even consider reading as entertaining, but also are frankly quite bad at reading anything at all.
    Those are sweet kids, just horribly uneducated, but I dread where they will be in a couple of years...

    There are people in the literacy center here who graduated high school but had a third grade reading level when they came in. Literacy level doesn't really have to do much with intelligence level. If you want them to become literate, you have to keep encouraging them and leaning on them to learn.

    I do not think this says anything about the kids intelligence, I am not saying they are dumb, but they lack education and it is hard to motivate them when they are already of the opinion that reading is boring and that they do not have to work hard because they are in a bad school anyway.

    friedegg wrote: »
    Lord of the Flies. Frightening. Especially if you are a fat kid with glasses.
  • EvilBadmanEvilBadman DO NOT TRUST THIS MAN Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Late to the party, but: Lucy Pevensie, especially if you take Lion Witch and Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and Dawn Treader as her complete arc rather than just the first or second book.

    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I should note that Badman is fucking awesome
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