Children’s books that counter the PinkStink

Contributed by Azania75

1. The first set of books explicitly counter the pinkstink.

Queen of the Scene
by Queen Latifa

Nice Little Girls
by Elizabeth Levy
-This is a 1970s classic feminist book which somehow landed on my bookshelf as a kid. Very white and very 70s but its a great story of a teacher who says girls can’t build boxes etc… and the new girl’s response. It’s about train sets and dresses and moustaches and also about wanting to fit in and in the end changing the options instead of oneself to do it. Fascinated my lil boy as much as it did me as a kid. Very dynamic and funny.
-ages 4-12

Bootsie Barker Bites
by Barbara Bottner
-girls with edge and interests and also challenges, this book is about dealing with bullying and about challenging what girls are supposed to like to do/play with
-age 3-7

Bravest Ever Bear
by Allan Ahlberg & Paul Howard
-This is one of the best books ever. Every few pages a different character takes over telling the tale from their perspective- including the princess who says there is no way she is being cast in a white wedding dress, so push off prince…. The black bears refuse to be baked in a pie and instead designate themselves as black belt bears. It’s fun and funny, and a a nice way to think of whose stories get told and how we get cast/written into place in society.
-ages 4-9

The Queen’s New Shoes
by Adwoa Badoe (illustrated by Belinda Ageda)
-Some of you might know Belinda, she is an artist and illustrated this book. The story takes after Esmerelda in the Philippines who had 2000 pairs on shoes, only here it is a queen who has 2000 and is bored and so she sets out a contest to see who can impress her with a pair of shoes and they will get whatever they wish for. The poor village girl wins, and asks for all 2000 of her shoes… I like the dynamics and range of roles and saucy characters, and the get-what-you-deserve ending for the royalty.
-ages 4-7

Blueberry Girl
by Neil Gaiman
-10-20 year olds a beautiful poem and good chance to talk about what’s next to come in life

Hereville: How Mirka Got her Sword (Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl) by Barry Deutsch
-good for 7-12 year olds. Both me and my 7 year old could not put it down, all 4 times we’ve read it together. Sparks lots of discussion about religion, roles for girls and boys, what constitutes good and bad etc.

Pippi Longstocking
by Astrid Lingrim
-Few akward references to her father being a pirate who is now king of the ‘natives’ but (i just change natives to ‘island’) because Pippi is a true hero and great influence in that she is so un-socialized that she doesnt think twice about all the things she can and wants to do, which is in direct contrast to the good little girl neighbor, Annika, who she hangs out with. Pippi shocks everyone because she is opinionated, strong willed, funny, insistent, and also physically strong, so she is fearless of all figures of authority. It’s a bit over the top, but me and the kids think she would be an awesome person to know- even if it is just to consider, and step out of the realm of the normal/acceptable, to imagine what options Pippi would see/take in a given situation. Why not to do exactly as she does is always clear, but just the stretch of the imagination of a girl who is that fierecly independent, is really fun.
-ages: 6-9

2. Won’t directly counter the pinkstink but are good places to spend time–

Magic School Bus books
by Scholastic
-clever teacher who all the kids look up to, tho fairly typical class of american kids. lots of science and a good way to learn about the solar system or whatever the topic is. also a range of options of reading all the factoids or skipping them, depending on the age of the kids. mine love them.
-ages- 4-9

Armadilly Chili
by Helen Ketteman
-about good people and good food, not necessarily feminist, just a good snapshot of friendship amongst strong minded and talented folks (plus, a pleasure to read, from an adult perspective)

Bats at the Library
by Brian Lies
-not specifically feminist characters but just about mischief and joy of the library at night (who says no…)
-ages 4-7

But Excuse Me That is My Book
by Lauren Child
-Although very white, the insistence/persistence/definant attitude and the love of books of the little girl, Lola is great.
-ages 4-7

Subway Sparrow
by Leyla Torres
-nothing particularly feminist, just a unusual range of people from various places interacting to try and rescue a bird stuck on a subway car. 4 languages. not your typical size,shape, sound of people and yet, so typical of daily life in big north american cities. also we liked the range of ideas they each had/attitudes to the bird
-ages 3-7

Everybody Needs a Rock
by Byrd Baylor
All about what makes rocks and people unique. very peaceful and powerful and just caught my kids imagination from early on
-ages 4-40

Let’s Talk About Sex: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health
by Robie H Harris and Michael Emberley
-for preteens on
-Caught my eye because it talks not just about sex and puberty but about sexuality, power, health etc..

3. Male Protagonists inverted roles-

How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found, and the Way Back Home
Oliver Jeffers
-ages 2-5

Frog and Toad Stories
by Arnold Lobel
– I love their relationship and how they care about eachother.
-ages: 4-7

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson
-He draws his world as he goes, in purple.
-ages 3-5

by Munro Leaf
-A bull who refuses to fight and would rather smell flowers.
-ages 3-7

Farmer Duck
by Martin Waddell
-male charcters but it is about division of labour, class, exploitation, and resistance. good convo starter on what constitutes fairness/egalitariansim, and organizing workplaces
-ages 3-7

That Pesky Rat
by Lauren Child
-not specifically feminist or even female characters, but about what is good to aspire to in life and love, what constitutes family, and humor
-4-8 years old

Whose Got Game: The Ant or the Grasshopper?
by Toni & Slade Morrison
-gives space to raise discussions about values because it is a rap-off rhyme between two friends about art and being int the moment, and planning for the future and being disciplined.
-6-12+ years old


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