5 Women From Literature Your Daughter Should Know

Years and years ago, at the height of the Twilight craze, a family friend handed me Jane Eyre and said, “You should know Jane before you know any Bella Swan.”

This pivotal moment in my teen years kickstarted my love of reading and my lifelong devotion to classic novels. The vivid characters assembled by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and others have been my companions ever since.

We jump into the lives of these characters for a short period and learn to love, fear, overcome, persevere, grow, pray, behave, and rejoice as they do. So when you’re handing your daughter (or son, for that matter) a book, keep in mind that the characters they find will forever be a part of their world. On that note, here are 5 women from literature your daughter should know (preferably before she knows Bella Swan).

As always, please note that these books are only suggestions. You must research these titles and determine your own child’s reading level, maturity, and ability to handle certain themes and content.

*See the full curated collection here.

Mattie Ross from True Grit

Mattie is often labeled as feisty, but in all truth she is simply just the perfect representation of what women were “back in the day.” There was a job to be done in the uncertain realm of the developing West, and she set out to do it, and it got done. She’s persistent in her search for justice, brave, and resourceful. Throughout the novel we see her notice what needs to be done and do it. No whining, no complaining, no victimhood.

True Grit

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | Bookshop.org

Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility

We should all be so lucky to know an Elinor let alone be one. She is the sense in the Sense and Sensibility title and holds a huge place in her family’s happiness, comfort, and survival when they come across more dire times. In crisis she is the level head, in all her trials she is patient and gracious. Through Elinor we see a shining example of humility, selflessness, elegance, sharpness of mind, and adaptability. And she is kind, incredibly kind.

Sense and Sensibility

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | Bookshop.org

Susan and Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

This is a bit of a cheat including both of them in one, but they are often a package deal. Throughout C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, both Susan and Lucy are not only incredibly relatable to young readers, but they offer up a quintessential example of bravery and faith. Together they consistently care for their siblings, take risks, confront challenges and evils with level heads, utilize their God-given talents to their fullest, and stand unflinchingly for what is good and true.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | Bookshop.org

Jo March from Little Women

Jo is often seen as a model for young girls. Ambitious, devoted, and talented, Jo is caught in the struggle between relentlessly pursuing her every dream and her duties and loyalties at home. Wanting a little bit of everything, Jo must find balance, cultivate her talent, follow the path laid out for her by God, and embrace love in all its forms. This warm story and engaging character is a staple on the shelves of all American girls.

Little Women

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | Bookshop.org

Jayne Eyre from Jane Eyre

As the inspiration for this whole article, she had to make the list. Jane gives us a clear picture of who we should be as women. Honest, caring, studious, humble, unmoving in her sense of morals and virtues, and a master of her own sense of self and worth, Jane is a foundation for young girls.

Jayne Eyre

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | Bookshop.org

*See the full curated collection here.

Happy Reading!