Have you ever read a book where the female heroine had you cheering for her next move? One of the best times to read fiction is during the teen years. Reading is an escape and gives hope, courage and the affirms that in the end good things do happen to good people. For anyone who attended middle school in the 70’s and 80’s, one author comes to mind right away: Judy Blume. Her stories seemed so much like real life that girls would wait in anticipation for the next book to be released.
Regardless of when you attended middle school, Blume’s fiction and the work of three other female authors Malín Alegria, J.K Rowling and Meg Cabot continues to resonate with girls of all ages. Looking at how these authors are able to connect with the reader so powerfully, their personal stories are just as amazing as the ones they write. Blume has worked tirelessly to keep books available and joined forces with the National Coalition Against Censorship and self-funded the film Tiger Eyes with her son to be able to share her stories.
Sometimes fiction reflects life, as is the case with the Estrella Alvarez, the main character in Estrella’s Quinceañera by Malín Alegria. This heroine has a lot of the similar qualities to some of the characters in Judy Blume’s books. She finds herself trying to reconcile what her family wants and what she wants to do. Growing up without a television allowed Alegria to become a storyteller to express herself in a way that resonated with the audience.
When J.K. Rowling released the Harry Potter book series, the stories appealed to girls, boys and their parents as well. Learning her personal story and how she worked tirelessly writing as a single parent on public assistance is a testament to her incredible resolve. Girls in middle school are immediately drawn to Hermione Granger, the smart, fearless heroine who keeps everyone in check throughout the books. Is there anything Hermione can’t do? She saves her friends on many occasions and isn’t discouraged by teachers who try to humiliate her in front of her peers. Rowling takes after Granger in being vocal about causes she cares about and fearlessly stands up for what she believes in.
Being transported in a story to the land of make believe is what makes fiction such a great way to forget about whatever worries us today. Meg Cabot created Mia Thermopolis (you may know her as Princess Mia of the Princess Diaries) as a character who is transformed from an awkward teen to a graceful queen. Any girl experiencing difficulties fitting in High School feels are secret admiration for Thermopolis and cheers her on while she learns how to feel confident in her abilities. When not writing, Cabot supports great causes like the Book Wish Foundation and War Child.
All four of these authors help inspire girls to think outside of where they are today and in the end learn how to work out life’s challenges.