Typh’s Picks: Girl Power Picks

Central PA Live

Each month, Typhani Russo from the Altoona Area Public Library shares her top 10 book picks that center around a specific theme. This month’s theme is “Girl Power Picks.”

Book information and summaries cited from Goodreads.com.

All books listed are available at the Altoona Area Public Library


Book: The Princess Knight, by Cornelia Funke


Violetta is a princess. But she wants to be a knight. At night, she practices at becoming the best knight in the land. When her father, the king, stages a tournament for Violetta’s hand in marriage, she knows she must win the greatest battle yet, for the most important prize of all – herself. 

 Book: The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch


The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald, who is less than pleased at her unprincess-like appearance.  

Book: Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote, by Dean Robbins 


When Alice Paul was a child, she saw her father go off to vote while her mother had to stay home. But why should that be? So Alice studied the Constitution and knew that the laws needed to change. But who would change them?  She would! In her signature purple hat, Alice organized parades, wrote letters and protested outside the White House. She even met with President Woodrow Wilson, who told her there were more important issues to worry about than women voting. But nothing was more important to Alice. So she kept at it, and soon President Wilson was persuaded.  Dean Robbins and illustrator Nancy Zhang bring the unsung hero to vivid life and show young voters-to-be how important it is to never back down from a cause you believe in!

Book: The Big Book of Girl Power, by Julie Merberg


DC’s awesome super heroes are terrific role models for young girls. This colorful picture book, illustrated with DC Comics classic art, details the inspiring qualities that make Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl and their friends so powerful.  Wonder Woman knows the importance of telling the truth. Bat Girl reads a lot and has impressive technical skills. Supergirl is the only girl to survive from the planet Krypton. Black Canary persuades people to do things with the power of her voice. Illustrated with cool, classic DC art, this fun, colorful book shows how these and other amazing female super heroes use their powers to make the world a safer place. Young readers will also enjoy learning the characters’ compelling origin stories. Girls will see that being different, overcoming fears, exploring new places and banding together with other strong women can be pretty powerful.  


Book: Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy  


Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant, to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock all of Clover City, and maybe herself most of all.  

Book: Asking For It, by Louise O’Neill 


It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.  The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.  Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s “heroes.”

Book: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, by Kelly Jensen 


Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures.  Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.  Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture.  It is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.


Book: Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of Single Women in the Twentieth Century, by Betsy Israel 


In this lively and colorful book of popular history, journalist Betsy Israel shines a light on the old stereotypes that have stigmatized single women for years and celebrates their resourceful sense of spirit, enterprise, and unlimited success in a world where it is no longer unusual or unlikely to be unwed.  Drawing extensively on primary sources, including private journals, newspaper stories, magazine articles, advertisements, films, and other materials from popular media, Israel paints remarkably vivid portraits of single women and the way they were perceived throughout the decades. From the nineteenth-century spinsters of New England to the Bowery girls of New York City, from the 1920s flappers to the 1940s working women of the war years and the career girls of the 1950s and 1960s, single women have fought to find and feel comfortable in that room of their own. One need only look at Bridget Jones and the Sex and the City gang to see that single women still maintain an uneasy relationship with the rest of society, and yet they radiate an aura of glamour and mystery in popular culture.  As witty as it is well researched, as thoughtful as it is lively, Bachelor Girl is a must-read for women everywhere.

Book: The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty, by Amanda Filipacchi


In the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society’s standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem. Each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented, but plain looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her with results that are as touching as they are transformative.  To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover that they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb’s calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily’s musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty serves as a smart, modern day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Amanda Filipacchi illuminates the relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn, what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen? 

Book: Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, by Beth Whitman 


This comprehensive guide for women travelers is filled with safety tips, anecdotes, resources and information on how to start planning a dream journey. The book dispels the myths that solo travel is dangerous and provides straightforward advice on making the most of your travels while having the time of your life. With up to date listings of websites and details on the latest in technology products, it is the most up to date book in this genre. 

Visit the Altoona Area Public Library online or Facebook.

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