The best children’s adventure books featuring a strong female protagonist

Who am I?

I grew up on a farm on the Canadian prairies where my only entertainment was books. This was before TV and the internet. Reading about girls who overcame obstacles such as being orphaned, dealing with homelessness or a disability, helped me realize that girls can overcome anything with the right attitude and by being brave. These attitudes of fearlessness, positive thinking, and resourcefulness shaped my life and helped me realize many of my dreams, including being a published author. Books with strong female characters help girls realize their own dreams.


I wrote...

Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

By Darlene Foster,

Book cover of Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

What is my book about?

Amanda is in Paris where she works as a volunteer in a famous bookstore. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda. But, during a visit to the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out when she’s at the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker, writer, and artist, show up every time something bad happens?

Amanda explores the exciting streets of Paris, the fabulous Palace of Versailles, and the gardens of the painter Claude Monet, all the time looking for clues as to who would want to destroy such a beautiful, historic cathedral. 

The books I picked & why

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Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery,

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Why this book?

Anne Shirley is my favourite main character of all time. She is feisty, brave, and sincere, with a great imagination. She is also a true friend and makes the best out of any situation. I have read this book many times and love it more each time. The descriptions of Prince Edward Island enticed me to visit this enchanting place. After reading Anne of Green Gables all those years ago, I decided I wanted to be a writer.

Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…


Flying With a Broken Wing

By Laura Best,

Book cover of Flying With a Broken Wing

Why this book?

This story evokes many emotions. The world of Cammie Deveau, a young girl with more than her fair share of disadvantages, is described well. The story is set in rural Nova Scotia just after World War II. The author has created a memorable, spunky ten-year-old with limited vision who dreams of a better life against all odds. Other quirky characters are sprinkled throughout the story, some hilarious, others sad and pathetic. The descriptions of the time and place are so well done the reader is easily transported there. With the clever use of dialogue that is both timely and local, this is a most enjoyable read that will keep you turning the pages as you root for Cammie. 

Flying With a Broken Wing

By Laura Best,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flying With a Broken Wing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cammie Deveau began life with a few strikes against her. She’s visually impaired, abandoned by her mother at birth, her father was a casualty of the Second World War—and if all that isn’t enough, she’s being raised by her bootlegging aunt. No wonder she dreams of starting a brand new life.

When Cammie learns about a school for blind and visually impaired children she becomes convinced a new life is waiting for her in Halifax, but how will she ever convince her aunt to let her go? With the help of her best friend, they devise a plan to blow…


Roam

By C. H. Armstrong,

Book cover of Roam

Why this book?

Abby, like most high school girls, wants to be liked, have friends, go to dances, and dress in the latest fashions. The only difference between her and everyone else is she and her family are homeless and living in her mom's van, and Abby doesn't want anyone to know. Tension builds as the weather gets colder in Minnesota and Abby fears being found out. The author touches on many current issues through a delightful cast of characters, showing just how resourceful teenagers can be and how difficult situations can make you stronger.  

Roam

By C. H. Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers—YALSA/ALA

“An empathetic tale that treats homelessness with respect and makes it visible.”—Kirkus Reviews

Seventeen-year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha but, thanks to her mother's awful mistake, they had to leave behind what little they had for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager—fitting in at school, dreaming of a boyfriend, college and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over…


The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book One

By David A. Robertson,

Book cover of The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book One

Why this book?

The story is told from the point of view of Morgan, a thirteen-year-old indigenous girl who has been in foster care since she was three years old. She is angry and confused, and although her new foster home is a good one, she is so used to things not working out, she can't help sabotaging the situation. Then a young boy joins the family with his own problems. Things go from bad to worse. It takes an adventure for Morgan to appreciate where she comes from. Great world building and interesting animal characters. The book is visually appealing with subtle lessons, a good mix of humour, and a sense of hope.

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book One

By David A. Robertson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Barren Grounds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle-grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only…


Pollyanna

By Eleanor H. Porter,

Book cover of Pollyanna

Why this book?

The orphan girl Pollyanna moves in with her strict aunt in New England. Despite a difficult start, Pollyanna's exuberance and positivity affect everyone who meets her, and she spreads joy and love wherever she goes. I loved Pollyanna when I read it as a young girl and patterned my life after her positive thinking. Pollyanna, like myself, often finds her optimistic attitude tested, but she always learns to find happiness in every situation.


Pollyanna

By Eleanor H. Porter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pollyanna as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brought to you by Puffin.

As soon as Pollyanna arrives in Beldingsville to live with her strict and dutiful maiden aunt, she begins to brighten up everybody's life. The 'glad game' she plays, of finding a silver lining in every cloud, transforms the sick, the lonely and the plain miserable - until one day something so terrible happens that even Pollyanna doesn't know how to feel glad about it.

(c) Eleanor Porter 1994 (P) Penguin Audio 2020


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in orphans, Canada, and poverty?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about orphans, Canada, and poverty.

Orphans Explore 123 books about orphans
Canada Explore 246 books about Canada
Poverty Explore 55 books about poverty

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Into the Wild, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude if you like this list.