View more books by Kathleen Schuller: How To Be A Heroine - For Girls, How To Be A Hero - For Boys

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$9.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781457519062
68 pages
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$19.95 / Hardcover (no dj)
ISBN: 9781457516498
68 pages
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Excerpt from the Book
CHAPTER 1 - Six Classic Literary Heroines

When I was a young girl, I loved to read stories about other young girls.

Again and again I turned to the classics, in which the heroine of each story grew into a better person by the conclusion of the book. None of these characters started out as bad girls, simply less than perfect girls, and frequently, girls living in less than perfect circumstances. The difficulties they faced in life eventually made them stronger, and led them to view life as well as other people with the kind of wisdom, compassion, and maturity that they did not necessarily have in the beginning of the story.

Some of my favorite heroines and classic books are these:

  1. Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (first published in 1909)
  2. Sara Crewe in A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (first published in 1905)
  3. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery (first published in 1908) (in eight books about Anne, and two additional books in which Anne appears occasionally)
  4. Jo March and her sisters in Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (first published in 1868)
  5. Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (first published in 1813)
  6. Laura in Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (first published in 1932), in a total of nine Little House books about Laura (published from 1932 to 1971)

The Secret Garden tells the story of young Mary Lennox, who comes to England from India, where her parents had died and where she had been neglected and ignored by her self-centered parents before their sudden death during a cholera epidemic. Young Mary is sent to her uncle Archibald Craven’s estate, Misselthwaite Manor, in northern England in the Yorkshire countryside. There she is eventually transformed from an unhappy, sullen, resentful, and disdainful young girl into someone of joy, energy, maturity, and action after she discovers an old walled and hidden garden on the estate.

The secret garden she finds is overgrown and filled with weeds, and Mary’s attitude and mindset are slowly changed as a result of her unexpected discovery. She becomes entranced by the tangled garden and slowly works to re-plant it and bring it back to life with the help of her uncle’s sickly, unhappy son Colin, and a joyful, energetic boy named Dickon who is the wise and capable brother of one of the household’s servants.

Dickon has a magical way with animals, who trust his gentle nature, warmth, engaging spirit, and quiet confidence. The household’s servants also have a huge impact on Mary, and eventually she becomes a true heroine — capable of hard work, generosity of spirit, and dedication to a difficult project.