Books hold a lot more than just words on paper. As J.K. Rowling, world-renowned author of the Harry Potter series (and Girl Guide of Scotland alumna) says, “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” By connecting a thoughtful series of events with carefully selected words (and sometimes pictures), authors create stories—stories that inspire readers to imagine novel worlds, discover new role models, and dream big dreams. That’s why every year, on March 2, the National Education Association (NEA) celebrates Read Across America Day to encourage young readers to pick up a book, or two, or however many they can carry.
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From fantastical fiction to brilliant biographies, picture books to reference books, there are so many wonderful pieces of literature out there… so where is your Girl Scout supposed to start?! Thanks to our trusty Facebook followers, we’ve put together a list of books that our members think every Girl Scout should read. Whether you have younger girls or older girls, or you’re looking for a book that every Girl Scout will love, we received a ton of awesome recommendations from our Facebook friends—here’s what they had to say:
For Younger Girls
|Girl Scout Mysteries by Carole Marsh
Recommended by Sue P.
“We have read two of the three Girl Scout Mystery books. They are fun and have a lot of GS knowledge built into them! They are good for Daisies and Brownies.”
|I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer
Recommended by Heather H.
Heather’s daughter says, “In the book, Amelia never gives up on her dream of flying. She is brave and persistent even when people tell her she can’t.”
|The Care & Keeping of You Collection from American Girl
Recommended by Ash R.
“'The Care & Keeping of You' books from American Girl are great resources for growing girls to learn about and navigate all the changes they are experiencing with their feelings and body. They're friendly and colorful too. Their Smart Girl's Guide series is also very helpful and cover practical skills and emotional/mental wellness.”
|Stephanie’s Ponytail and The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Recommended by Lisa K.
“Stephanie’s Ponytail and The Paper Bag Princess were favorites when my girls were little. The Munsch books are about being yourself. In Stephanie’s Ponytail, she is always changing up her hairstyle; and instead of being teased, everyone copies her (and she doesn’t like that either). She comes up with an out of the box solution that can be left as is for laughs or can lead to some more discussion about leadership and responsibility."
"In Paper Bag Princess, I love the message that a girl can do anything, in a paper bag if she must, and that happy endings don’t have to include wedding vows. I think of Paper Bag Princess whenever my girls say they don’t know what to do and I tell them, "We’re Girl Scouts… we figure it out".”
For Older Girls
|The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Recommended by Jesse M.
“It’s a wonderful story about a young girl learning about science and nature through a special relationship with her grandfather!”
Kristin B. also added: “The novel takes place in the late 1800s in Texas. Eleven year-old Callie has questions about why the crickets are yellow this summer, not green. She's heard about this book by a man called Darwin and thinks it might offer some answers... but the librarian won't let her borrow it, saying it's not appropriate for a young girl. Nevertheless, she persists in pursuing her questions about nature and finds an unexpected ally in her aloof grandfather. The book won a 2010 Newbery Honor award. I recommend it to anyone interested in stories about young women in science!”
|The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Recommended by Susy N.
“For older girls, The Golden Compass is my favorite so far that we have read or listened to together and that includes Harry Potter books.”
The Golden Compass was a popular choice. Jane E. also added: “My older daughter who is an avid reader also says the Golden Compass series.”
|It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going by Chelsea Clinton
Recommended by Angela B.
“It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! was a great read for me and my Cadette daughter. It was filled with ideas on how to give back both locally and abroad. Chelsea was a Girl Scout and giving back was instilled in her from a very young age. She’s very passionate about the work she does.”
| The Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett
Recommended by Lisa K.
“I like the Tiffany Aching books for tweens and teens. She's true to herself, a creative problem solver, and thinks outside the box. I also love the quote about how it doesn't stop being magic once you learn how things are done. A message that I think is perfect for girls in between childhood and adulthood.”
For Every Girl Scout
|The Lady from Savannah: The Life of Juliette Low by Gladys Denny Shultz and Daisy Gordon Lawrence
Recommended by Michelle S.
“Because isn’t the history of our organization and the woman behind it all just a wee bit important? A must for any Girl Scout’s home library.”
Pro Tip: Pick up your copy from the Girl Scout online store or your local council shops!
|You Throw Like a Girl by Rachele Alpine
Recommended by Angela B.
“[Rachele Alpine] offers a patch to girls who read it and write a letter to her. She wrote back to both my daughters and they were floored! It was incredible. The book is filled with girl power and the main character is just incredible.”
|Finding Wonders: Three Girls who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
Recommended by Kristin B.
“It’s a series of three biographies about young female scientists written in free verse poetry. Each story celebrates the power of questions, the value of persistence, and the paramount importance of family. Finding Wonders is an inspirational collection, recommended especially for fans of Hidden Figures.”
| A Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors
Recommended by GSNorCal
Available online and in-stores, the Girl’s Guides to Girl Scouting provides girls with age-specific activity ideas, relevant fun facts, inspirational quotes, and cute graphics to help them earn badges and learn everything they need to know about Girl Scouts. Whether she’s a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, or leader, every Girl Scout needs this series! 😉
Other fan favorites include:
- Alanna Series by Tamara Pierce
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Caddie Woodlaw by Carol Ryrie Brink
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- Mouse Scouts by Sarah Dillard
- Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
What to do next:
- Interested in learning more about what you can do for Read Across America Day? Check out the National Education Association’s website.
- Organize your own book drive through the African Library Project and start changing lives for rural African communities with the help of books. Don’t forget to stop by our GSNorCal retail shops for the patch, too!
- Is your favorite book missing from our list? Share your recommendation in the comments section!
Leah Takahashi—Leah is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she creates content, plans blog posts, and promotes all things Girl Scouts in all formats digital. Leah joined Girl Scouts at the age of 5 and has been a part of the organization ever since (shout out to Troop 31213 – woot woot). During her younger Girl Scout days, Leah did everything from selling thousands of Girl Scout Cookies to serving as a National Delegate at the 2011 Convention and even earning her Gold Award in 2012. She may be young, but she’s got plenty of Girl Scout experience under her belt and is excited to share it
Nice collection! Looking forward to our next trip to the library!
THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
GABY, LOST AND FOUND by Angela Cervantes
STELLA BY STARLIGHT by Sharon Draper
IT AIN’T SO AWFUL, FALAFEL by Firoozeh Dumas
LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS by Erin Entrada Kelly
LISTEN, SLOWLY by Thanhha Lai
LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK by Kristin Levine
ASK MY MOOD RING HOW I FEEL by Diana Lopez
SHADOWS OF SHERWOOD by Kekla Magoon
GRAND CANYON RESCUE by Devon Mihesuah
TWELVE by Lauren Myracle
LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer
STAR IN THE FOREST by Laura Resau
COUNTING BY 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA by Rita Williams-Garcia
EL DEAFO by Cece Bell
SOUPY LEAVES HOME by Cecil Castellucci
SURFSIDE GIRLS #1 – THE SECRET OF DANGER POINT by Kim Dwinell
SUNNY SIDE UP by Jennifer Holm
POPULARITY PAPERS by Amy Ignatow
ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL by Victoria Jamieson
ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson
GOLDIE VANCE by Hope Larsen
FISH GIRL by Donna Jo Napoli
MOON GIRL AND THE DEVIL DINOSAUR by Amy Reeder
GHOSTS by Raina Telgemeier
SISTERS by Raina Telgemeier
SMILE by Raina Telgemeier
PRINCELESS #1 – SAVE YOURSELF by Jeremy Whitley
HUMAN BODY THEATER by Maris Wicks
SECRET CODERS #1 by Gene Luen Yang
CURSES! FOILED AGAIN by Jane Yolen
FOILED by Jane Yolen
WHO IS MALALA YOUSAFZAI? by Dinah Brown
WOMEN IN SCIENCE: 50 FEARLESS PIONEERS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD by Rachel Ignotofsky
WOMEN IN SPORTS: 50 FEARLESS ATHLETES WHO PLAYED TO WIN by Rachel Ignotofsky
FATTY LEGS: A TRUE STORY by Christy Jordan-Fenton
WOMEN WHO BROKE THE RULES – SONIA SOTOMAYOR by Kathleen Krull
ASTRONAUT MAE JEMISON by Allison Lassieur
HANA’S SUITCASE: A TRUE STORY by Karen Levine
HIDDEN FIGURES – YOUNG READERS’ EDITION by Margot Lee Shetterly
BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
RIDING FREEDOM by Pam Munoz Ryan
KIZZY ANN STAMPS by Jeri Watts
WOLF HOLLOW by Larsen Wolk
ALMOST HOME by Joan Bauer
WISH any Barbara O’Connor
PATINA by Jason Reynolds
THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK by Celia Perez
MOO by Sharon Creech
BOXES FOR KATJE by Candace Fleming
JANUARY’S SPARROW by Patricia Polacco
CHASING FREEDOM-LIFE JOURNEYS OF HARRIET TUBMAN AND SUSAN B. ANTHONY by Nikki Grimes
SEPERATE IS NEVER EQUAL: SYLVIA MENDEZ ND HER FAMILY’S FIGHT FOR DESEGREGATION by Duncan Tonatiuh
THE WORLD IS NOT A RECTANGLE – PORTRAIT OF ARCHITECT ZAHA HADID by Jeanette Winter
Some oldies but goodies:
SKELETON MAN by Joseph Bruchac
RAMONA AND HER MOTHER by Beverly Cleary
THE AGONY OF ALICE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (The “Alice” series)
ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor
HOMECOMING by Cynthia Voigt
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
THE UPSTAIRS ROOM by Johanna Reiss