We are slowly emerging from the darkest part of the year, which is why these recommendations feature lights in the darkness books for girls. Whether you’re looking for fiction about inspirational girls, real-life heroes, or a little bit of guidance from the stars, this post will have something for you! (And don’t forget to check out the winter issue of New Moon Girls magazine with the same theme!)

The Last Cuentista

Book cover image for The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

For as long as she can remember, Petra has wanted to be una cuentista — a storyteller — like her grandmother. But with a comet speeding toward earth, Petra and her family must board a spacecraft headed for a new world, bringing with them all their memories of earth. After a hundred-year sleep, Petra wakes to find that everyone else’s memories have been erased. Now she alone must carry the stories of earth into the future, standing against the forces of darkness that surround her.

Soul Lanterns

Book cover image for Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki

Twelve-year-old Nozomi joins her family every year for the ceremony in remembrance of the victims of the Hiroshima bombing, even though she wasn’t even born yet when it happened. People write the names of those lost in the bombing on paper lanterns, along with wishes for peace, and then let them go into the sky. Every year, Nozomi’s mother releases a lantern with no name. Nozomi begins to ask questions, leading her and her friends to find new ways to help others heal.

The Firebird Song

Book cover image for The Firebird Song by Arnee Flores

Ever since the Firebird disappeared from Lyrica, the kingdom has fallen under the control of an evil Spectress. Calliope has no memories beyond the barge she lives on in an underground lake — but when she meets Prewitt, he’s sure she’s the lost princess, and Lyrica’s only hope for bringing back the Firebird. Together, the two of them embark on a quest to do just that.

No Boundaries: 25 Women Explorers and Scientists Share Adventures, Inspiration, and Advice

Book cover image for No Boundaries: 25 Women Explorers and Scientists Share Adventures, Inspiration, and Advice by Clare Fieseler and Gabby Salazar

If you’re looking for some real-life “lights in the darkness,” this book won’t disappoint. You’ll meet women who scaled volcanoes, fought to protect lions, uncovered dinosaur fossils, and more. Dive in to discover the work women at National Geographic — and beyond — are doing to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.

The Junior Astrologer’s Handbook

Book cover image for The Junior Astrologer's Handbook: A Kid's Guide to Astrological Signs, the Zodiac, and More by Nikki Van De Car

For thousands of years, people have looked to the stars for guidance. Whether you’re a true believer or a skeptic, this book offers a fun, easy-to-understand introduction to astrology. In addition to sign overviews, it includes quizzes to help you better understand yourself, tips for dealing with friends, calming exercises, and more — all accompanied by bright illustrations.

More Lights in the Darkness Books for Girls

A small act of kindness can have big ripple effects, which Libby learns when she sends a postcard to a boy across town who is being bulled in The Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden.

To find more women lighting the path for others, check out Earth Squad: 50 People Who Are Saving the Planet by Alexandra Zissu.

Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe shares how she went from the small town where she learned to play soccer to becoming an activist for gender and race equality in One Life: Young Readers Edition.

Abigail Harrison, who dreams of being the first astronaut to set foot on Mars, shares her tips for staying true to yourself and reaching for your dreams in Dream Big: How to Reach For Your Stars.

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star … While you’ve doubtless heard this lullaby, have you ever wondered where it came from? Read the story behind one of the most famous rhymes in history in Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor’s Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars, a picture book biography by Elizabeth Brown.

What about you? Have you read any of the books listed above? Do you have favorite Lights in the Darkness books for girls? Let me know in the comments below!

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of 2 little boys. She has been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author...

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