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Lake Oswego Public Library

Great Books for Girls

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington



Beatty, Robert                          Serafina and the Black Cloak

When children start disappearing from an estate, Serafina, who lives in the basement, uses her talents to find the kidnapper, and finally discovers the secrets of her past.

Benjamin, Ali                            The Thing About Jellyfish

Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker      The War That Saved My Life

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Carlson, Caroline                      Magic Marks the Spot

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. There's only one problem: the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks. But Hilary, not the kind of girl to take no for answer, sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure.

Chmakova, Svetlana                  Awkward

After insulting a member of the science club on her first day at a new middle school, art club member Penelope Torres tries to find a way to apologize to him while the two clubs battle for predominance at their school.

Choldenko, Gennifer                 Chasing Secrets

In 1900, thirteen-year-old Lizzie and her secret friend Noah plan to rescue Noah's father from the quarantined Chinatown, and save everyone they love from contracting the plague that is spreading in San Francisco.

de los Santos, Marissa              Saving Lucas Biggs

Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn't stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family's secret and forbidden ability to time travel.

DeLint, Charles                           Seven Wild Sisters

Sarah Jane Dillard discovers and helps an injured 'sangman fairy in the Tanglewood Forest, putting herself, her six sisters, Aunt Lillian and the Apple Tree Man in the middle of a fairy feud.

Draper, Sharon                          Stella By Starlight

When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

Durham, Paul                            The Luck Uglies

Eleven-year-old Rye O'Chanter and her two friends delve into the secret lore of their village when mysterious creatures of legend reappear on the night of the Black Moon, leading them to the notorious secret society, the Luck Uglies.

Falkner, Brian                            Northwood

Cecilia Undergarment is a remarkable girl who can understand what animals are saying. But her plan to rescue a sad and neglected dog lands her in the dark, enchanted forest of Northwood, where the ferocious black lions roam and the mystery of Castle Storm awaits.

Fox, Janet S.                            The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

In 1940, during the Blitz, Katherine, Robbie and Amelie Bateson are sent north to a private school in Rookskill Castle in Scotland, a brooding place, haunted by dark magic from the past - but when some of their classmates disappear, Katherine has to find out if the cause is hidden in the past or very much in the present.

Foxless, Karen                         Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

In this retelling of the Snow Queen, eleven-year-old Ophelia suspends her disbelief in things non-scientific when a boy locked in the museum where her father is working asks her to help him complete an age-old mission.

Frederick, Heather Vogel          Absolutely Truly

Twelve-year-old Truly Lovejoy's family moves to a small town to take over a bookstore. Soon she has to solve two mysteries involving a missing book and an undelivered letter.

Fusco, Kimberly                       Beholding Bee

In 1942, when life turns sour at the carnival that has always been her home, eleven-year-old Bee takes her dog, Peabody, and piglet, Cordelia, and sets out to find a real home, aided by two women only Bee and her pets can see.

Galante, Cecila                       The World From Up Here

When Wren, an anxious twelve-year-old, and her younger brother move in temporarily with her aunt and fearless cousin, Silver, she reconsiders her assumptions about silver, the witch rumored to live nearby, and her many paralyzing fears.

Graff, Lisa                              A Tangle of Knots

Eleven-year-old orphan Cady embarks on a journey that leads her to a mysterious house, an old recipe, a family of Talent-seeking children, and a Talent Thief who changes her life forever.

Hannigan, Kate                                    The Detective’s Assistant

In 1859, eleven-year-old Nell goes to live with her aunt, Kate Warne, the first female detective for Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency. Nell helps her aunt solve cases, including a mystery surrounding Abraham Lincoln, and learns about a troubling time in her family’s past.

Harper, Charise Mericle                       Wisher, Dreamer, Liar

Ash is forced to spend the summer with the unconventional Claire, who discovers Ash's secret wishing jar that transports them into the lives of two friends from a different time.

Harrington, Karen                                Courage for Beginners
Twelve-year-old Mysti must navigate a rocky start to seventh grade, care for her family when her dad has a terrible accident, and deal with her family's secret: that her mother is agoraphobic and never leaves the house.

Haskell,  Merrie                                   Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Thirteen-year-old Princess Matilda finds her life turned upside down when politics and greed send her on the run with two would-be dragon slayers.

Jamieson, Victoria                   Roller Girl

A graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart.

Johnson, Jaleigh                      The Mark of the Dragonfly

Since her father's death in a factory in the Dragonfly territories, thirteen-year-old Piper has eked out a living as a scrapper in Merrow Kingdom, but the arrival of a mysterious girl sends her on a dangerous journey to distant lands.

Kadohata, Cynthia                   The Thing about Luck

Just when 12-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year filled with bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for the harvest workers.

Kidd, Ronald                           Night on Fire

In 1961, thirteen-year-old Billie is shocked by the violence toward the Freedom Riders as they pass through her Alabama town and wonders if she is brave enough to stand up and fight for civil rights.

Lai, Thanhha                           Listen Slowly

Mai travels to Vietnam to assist her grandmother in investigating her grandfather’s fate during the Vietnam War and struggles to adapt to Vietnamese culture while redefining her sense of family.

Mackey, Heather                     Dreamwood

12-year-old Lucy Darrington goes on a quest to find her missing father in a remote, magical territory in the Pacific Northwest.

Mackler, Carolyn                     Best Friend Next Door

Two girls who share a birthday and palindromic names struggle with respective parental challenges and loneliness while gradually overcoming their differences to become close friends.

Magoon, Kekla                                    Shadows of Sherwood

When Nott City is taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown, and her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley flees for her life and joins a group of children trying to take back what is rightfully theirs in this futuristic retelling of Robin Hood.

Mata, Julie                               Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens

Budding film director Kate Walden navigates middle school girl politics and chores on her mother's chicken farm while trying to become the next Spielberg.

Messenger, Shannon                Keeper of the Lost Cities

At age twelve, Sophie learns that she is an elf. After being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, she discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory that some are desperate to know.

Mullaly, Lynda Hunt               Fish In a Tree

Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read.

Nesbet, Anne                            The Wrinkled Crown
Twelve-year-old Linny embarks on an epic quest to save her best friend and discovers that she is the link between the magical and logical halves of her world.

O'Connor, Sheila                     Sparrow Road

It's the summer before seventh grade, and twelve-year- old Raine O'Rourke's mother suddenly takes a job hours from home at mysterious Sparrow Road, a dilapidated mansion that houses an eccentric group of artists. As Raine tries to make sense of her new surroundings, she discovers a secret about her past.

O'Hearn, Kate                          The Flame of Olympus

When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of stone warriors called the Nirads.

Prineas, Sarah                          The Winterling

Spirited young Fer travels through the Way to a magical world in which part human, part animal beings serve an evil ruler known as the Lady, and where she hopes to learn about her long-lost parents and her own identity.

Ray, Delia                                   Finding Fortune
Angry with her mother, twelve-year-old runaway Ren finds an unusual boarding house in a nearby ghost town, Fortune, where she meets some interesting people and learns of a forgotten treasure from when the town was famous for buttons made of Mississippi River shells.

Resau, Laura                            The Lightning Queen

In the remote mountains of Mexico in the 1950s, eleven-year-old Teo's life feels barren, but when Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into town, life brims with possibility. With the help of a rescued duck, a three-legged skunk, a blind goat, and other unexpected allies, Teo and Esma must overcome obstacles and even death to fulfill their impossible destiny.

Ringwald, Whitaker                 The Secret Box

On her twelfth birthday, Jax Malone receives an odd, unopenable present from an estranged aunt. When Jax and her cousins Ethan and Tyler go on a quest to open the box, they uncover a mystery with magical consequences.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz                   Paint the Wind

After her overprotective grandmother has a stroke, Maya, an orphan, leaves her extremely restricted life in California to stay with her mother's family on a remote Wyoming ranch, where she discovers a love of horses and encounters a wild mare that her mother once rode.

Sales, Leila                                 Once Was a Time
In World War II England, ten-year-old Lottie is transported via a portal to present day Wisconsin, where she must find her way back to her family and her best friend, Kitty.

Scanlon, Elizabeth Garton       The Great Good Summer

Twelve-year-old Ivy Green, whose mother may have run off with a charismatic preacher to Panhandle, Florida, teams up with a classmate to find her, and has a summer adventure that’s full of surprises.

Schlitz, Laura                           The Hired Girl

In 1911, fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs leaves her hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania to become a hired girl, cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week in hopes of becoming a woman of the future.

Schulz, Heidi                           Hook’s Revenge

Captain Hook's swashbuckling daughter must avenge her infamous father's death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile.

Shevah, Emma                       Dream On, Amber
Amber's Japanese father left when she was little, and her sister Bella was just a baby, so now she fills in the frustrating gap in her life with imagined conversations, and writes letters to Bella that seem to come from their father.

Sloan, Holly Goldberg             Counting by 7’s

Fourteen-year-old homeschooled genius Willow Chance convinces her adoptive parents to let her attend high school to observe people her own age and soon connects with a group of eccentrics who stand by her when tragedy strikes.

Staniford, Natalie                     Switched at Birthday

Lavender sees herself as the miserable but tough outsider at school. Scarlet knows she is talented and popular, but insecure on the inside. On their mutual thirteenth birthday, they wake up in each other's bodies and are forced to learn what it means to walk in someone else's shoes.

Stead, Rebecca                        Goodbye Stranger

As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her two best friends, she makes a third best friend and finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: “What is my purpose in life?”

Timberlake, Amy                     One Came Home

In 1871 Wisconsin, thirteen-year-old Georgia sets out on a journey to find her sister. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she discovers.

Turnage, Sheila                                    Three Times Lucky

Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detectives when Mo’s adoptive parent, the amnesiac Colonel, is implicated in a murder.   

Welsh, M.L.                             Mistress of the Storm

After a stranger gives an ancient book to unpopular, twelve-year-old Verity Gallant, she and her new-found friends, Henry and Martha, uncover secrets stirring in the harbor town of Wellow and use them to face a powerful, vengeful witch.

Whittemore, Jo                        Colonial Madness

Thirteen-year-old Tori Porter and her mother compete against other relatives in hopes of inheriting a fortune from eccentric Great Aunt Muriel by spending two weeks in a colonial mansion with no modern conveniences, no outside help, and daily tests.

Williams-Garcia, Rita               P.S. Be Eleven

Eleven-year-old Delphine navigates changes large and small when they come to her Brooklyn household during the turbulent 1960s.

Zahler, Diane                           Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters

Twelve-year-old Princess Aurora has been cursed to prick her finger and sleep for one hundred years, but before her fate can come to pass, she and her sister Luna embark on a perilous journey to find the fairy who can break the curse.