Reel Girl’s to read and watch list

I’m compiling your suggestions in one post. This is a list of what I have NOT seen or read. I will add to it as you do and remove when I officially rate. If you don’t see your suggestions included here, they are elsewhere on Reel Girl already reviewed. To check those, in “categories” click: Reel Girl recommends, Most girlpower, or GGG. Keep the suggestions coming!


Imogene’s Last Stand

Once Upon A Heroine: 450 Books for Girls to Love

Lets Hear it for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14

Sadie and the Snowman

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Words In The Dust

Millie Gets the Mail


DragonSong and DragonSinger by Anne McCaffrey

Dragon Slippers by Jessica George

Dealing With Dragons

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan: The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire, and Serpent’s Shadow

The Melendy Family: The Saturdays, The 4 Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two

Don’t Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North American and England

The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World

Sophia and the Heartmender


Adventure Time

My Life As a Teenage Robot

Atomic Betty

Avatar: Legend of Korra


The Mighty B



Nim’s Island

Fly Away Home

The Secret Garden

Anne of Green Gables

Tinker Bell

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Nancy Drew

National Velvet

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Samantha: An American Girl Holiday

The Fox and the Child

Where the Lilies Bloom


Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl


Princess Mononoke

Spy Kids

Howl’s Moving Castle

Anne of Green Gables

30 thoughts on “Reel Girl’s to read and watch list

  1. I would recommend having a look at the following young adult fiction by Chris Wooding:
    Poison – A young girl by the name of Poison goes to rescue her kidnapped baby sister from the Phaerie Realm.
    Velocity – Two best friends compete in a set of extremely deadly rallies.

    As you may be able to tell, summarizing is not my strongest suit.

  2. Hi! The 3rd season of Legend of Korra started last Friday, and it has some great moments of the female characters modeling strong female friendships. A male character dates both the main character Korra, and the other girl in her group (an engineering genius), and they talk about it, with no weirdness, fighting, jealousy, anything. They just laugh at the guy for being awkward around them. I am actually about to cry thinking about it, haha.

  3. Thank you for the blog… I read it regularly and it provides a great look on media and feminism 🙂
    A comic my 12 year old daughter has been in love with for over 2 years is Bad Machinery by John Allison. A mystery theme with fantastic young girls (and boys) that provides really fair and fun views of the kids. I thoroughly recommend it… Funny, interesting, well drawn and great for girls…

  4. Hi from Finland,

    and first of all thanks for the amazing blog. You have inspired me in so many ways to finish my thesis about the representation of women in media and particularly in advertising (I study visual communications).

    The other thing was to recommend two amazing, adventurous, powerful fantasy girl protagonists: Sabriel and Lirael in book series by Australian Grath Nix, featuring three books named after the heroines: Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen (which is their profession, could consider them as wizards of some sort).

    It has been at least ten years since I have read these books, so I am not 100% certain about the little details, but the main character in all of them is a gril, who has a boy as a companion but it’s usually she who saves him, not the other way around. All in all, I think Sabriel and Lirael could be great role models for your oldest daughter. If I remember right, in the first book Sabriel is somehing between 15-20yrs old, and Lirael is in her twenties in the second and third book. It’s not a children’s book series, but you could give it a try and decide if your oldest would like them as much as I did when I was 12.

    These are certainly one of the best and most interesting fantasy series I have ever read, something truly magical and DIFFERENT from all the other books I have read. (And yeah, I dug up the plot summary last night as I couldn’t sleep and got chills. Because it was still. So. Awesome.)

    So thank you and I’ll be reading your blog in the future for sure. (And I am sorry if I remember wrong and the books turn out to be horribly sexsist!) And merry Christmas already!

    • Hi Sara,

      Wow, what a great comment. You made my day, nigh, week. So happy to be any part of inspiring your important work. The books sound great, I will check them out.

      Keep us posted on what you’re doing.


  5. I see you already have Avatar: Legend of Korra on your list, which I highly recommend, but I also reccomend its predacesser, Avatar: The Last Airbender. The main character may be male, but the show does a fantastic job of balancing both the genders of the main cast and the background characters. There are two fan favorites from the series. One is Toph, a little girl, and tough as nails blind earthbender, who teaches Aang (the lead) how to earthbend. Another is a wise, humerous (and rather portly) old man named Iroh who guides his nephew through his banishment. Not to mention the strong, brave, and intelligent Katara, a teenage girl, who defies the sexist ways of her culture (who will only teach combat waterbending to males), and becomes one of the most powerful waterbenders in the world. You might call her a minority fiesty… That is, if there weren’t SO MANY other strong female characters in the show as well, so she’s not even a minority. The show is great, and although Legend of Korra has even more girl power, the original series is still astounding in this respect.

  6. I notice you have Howl’s Moving Castle on your to-read list. I can heartily recommend it; one of my favourite books, a superb and beautiful fantasy. The protagonist, Sophie, does an awful lot of housework, but don’t let that put you off! Howl may be the titular character, but the majority of other primary and secondary characters are female – all different kinds of females.
    I’ve just found your site, and I love it, but I haven’t investigated it much yet – I’m finding it strangely difficult to navigate. I can’t find the reviews section, so I don’t know if you’re already aware of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve? There’s a whole series of those. They’re excellent, and feature a scarred, complex, brilliant female protagonist.
    Happy reading 🙂

    • Hi elwoodcock,

      Wecome! Try looking under “Reel Girl recommends” or “movies” or “books” or “HHH” but yes, I agree the site could be organized better. Great news about Howl’s Movie Castle, thanks.


  7. You have a few Miyazaki/Ghibli films up here…have you seen My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and/or Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind? All these have great female characters, and Totoro, Kiki, Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle are all great for kids! (Nausicaa has more violence and mature themes…but fantastic, like Mononoke!)

    All of the books by Tamora Pierce are also wonderful! The Tortall books are set in a medieval, magical world, and focus on girls/women who break out of stereotypical female expectations. The first series starts with Alanna: The First Adventure, and they chronicle the life of Alanna, who decides that she wants to be a knight, and so disguises herself as a boy for 8(!!!) years. Some of her later books are even more affirming, though. The Protector of the Small books are set about 15 years into the future, and focus on another girl, Kel, who wants to be a knight-but does not have to disguise herself to do so, thanks to Alanna. But she is the first girl to do so, and is often the object of bullying and ridicule. As she grows up, she becomes a hero and role model for many younger girls, and it is fantastic to see the patriarchy in this fantastically arranged world crumble. Another noteworthy series by her is the Provost’s Dogs, which is set 200 years prior to Alanna’s story. Interestingly enough, women in that time often did work and fight with men, and Beka Cooper is one of them. She is a member of the capital city’s police force, called the Dogs, and the story has a fairly equal number of male and female characters in all different roles. As the series progresses, it slowly shows how the country shifted into the oppressive, patriarchal society seen in Alanna’s time…really brilliant! Tamora Pierce is (obviously) one of my favorite authors of all time!

    Any books by Diana Wynne Jones are also good (the book Howl’s Moving Castle and sequels, The Merlin Conspiracy, the Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Fire and Hemlock, etc.)

    • Hi Emma,

      thanks for these recs. I have not blogged about Tortall or Provot’s Dogs or Protector of the Small. The others I have blogged about. I am a Tamora Pierce fan but most of the books I’ve read feature a girls struggling within the patriarchy. I am alsways seeking fastasy books where gender equality just exists.


  8. Not sure if you want any more picture book suggestions, but I wanted to mention the “Ladybug Girl” books by Jacky Davis. My preschool students — both girls and boys — loved them.

    I noticed you included the story, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” However I was actually recommending the modern version, titled,”The Princesses Have a Ball” rather than the stereotyping original. I apologize if my wording in my earlier comment was misleading.

    Thanks so much for your blog.

    • Hi Molly,
      I got Princesses have a ball on your recommendation. I take all the books i’ve bought off the list, so that’s why its no longer there. I love it and will post an RG review soon.


  9. Hi Margot,

    I was wondering if you ever considered animes? Or animation from other countries?

    Suggestion: Sailor Moon, Monica’s gang.

      • Sailor moon has had many scenes cut and changes made so as to be kid friendly, but the original, which you can buy at amazon (japanese audio, subtitles in english) is arguably for older kids or teens.

        Monica’s gang is in portuguese, but if you are interested in seeing one of their short stories, I can send you transcripts both in portuguese and an english translation.

        See if you’re interested in the series:

      • Like Aninha says, the old (circa 1998) English release of Sailor Moon was full of cuts, but as someone who watched it as a young elementary schooler, it’s perfectly suitable for children. (Really, the big controversy you see with that is the “authenticity” argument.)

        While not necessarily aimed at young children, there is a lot of research going into shojo anime and manga (girls’ animation and comics) lately. There are plenty of shows and comics that are great for younger girls, though – the shojo genre is huge, and there’s a little something for everyone.

        To add to your list:
        Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV and manga; ~13+)
        Kaleido Star (TV)
        Card Captor Sakura (manga; 10+)

  10. Books:
    I just started re-reading the book Nim’s Island (on which the movie was based), and am reminded what an awesome read it is. I highly recommend it! It’s better than the movie (which is still fun, but which waters down the adult female character).

    My daughter and I have been enjoying a series of three compilations of short stories titled “Girls to the Rescue.” The first one is titled “Girls to the rescue: tales of clever, courageous girls from around the world” and the author is Bruce Lansky. They’re great stories! Some turn traditional fairy tales on their heads, and others are original stories (still others are unmodified tales from other cultures).

    Finally, another short story compilation called “The Practical Princess and other Liberating Fairy Tales” by Jay Williams is definitely worth reading. Lots of fun!

    Thanks for your fabulous blog! I always look forward to new posts arriving in my email box. 🙂

  11. Forgive me if any of these have been mentioned previously:

    As far as picture books go, I’m a HUGE fan of Mary Pope Osbourne’s feminist take on classic fairytales, “Kate & the Beanstalk” and “The Brave Little Seamstress”. (There’s also “Sleeping Bobby”, but I haven’t read it.) Additionally Teresa Bateman’s “The Princesses Have a Ball” is a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” (the sisters sneak out at night to play basketball) .

    Are you familiar with “Stephanie’s Ponytail” by Robert Munsch? It’s a great book about wanting to be an individual. I don’t even mind that she irks everyone else in the process. 🙂 In addition to “The Paper Bag Princess”, he has several books whose main character is female, without that being the emphasis for the story line (“Smelly Socks”, “Angela’s Airplane”, etc.)

    I’m a preschool teacher and anti-bias education is something I’ve always been very passionate about. Now mom to a 6-month-old baby girl, it’s my hope to raise my daughter to have a strong sense of self in the face of so much gender-stereotyping. Love your mission and blog!

  12. And I don’t see this suggested anywhere, so check out another Nickelodeon cartoon “The Mighty B” when you can. It was co-created by Amy Poehler (who also voiced the main character).

    It can be described as “Ren & Stimpy” with girls.

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