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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

By Darlene Foster,

Book cover of Amanda in France

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. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Darlene Foster Why did I love 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.

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

22 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…


Book cover of Flying With a Broken Wing

Darlene Foster Why did I love 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. 

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. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

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…


Book cover of Roam

Darlene Foster Why did I love 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.  

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…


Book cover of The Barren Grounds

Darlene Foster Why did I love 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.

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. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

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…


Book cover of Pollyanna

Darlene Foster Why did I love 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.

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. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

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


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Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

Book cover of Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

What is my book about?

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

What is this book about?

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread…


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