Miss Rumphius ~ by Barbara Cooney, 1982, children's, 10/10
This beautiful book, which won the American Book Sellers National Book Award, passes along the wisdom of a grandfather's philosophy of life. He told Alice Rumphius that she should not only travel the world and come home to live by the sea, but also to do something in her life to make the world more beautiful. Little Alice grew up, traveled, and settled by the sea, and what she did to make the world more beautiful was to plant lupines all over the place.Once upon a time, I was asked, "If you could meet any fictional character who would it be and why?" My answer was "Miss Rumphius." I love how she grew up wanting to make the world a better place and how she figured out a way to do it. I've written about Miss Rumphius again and again on this blog.
The Paper Bag Princess ~ by Robert N. Munsch, 1980, children's, 9/10
Princess Elizabeth is a spunky little girl. The dragon smashed her castle, burned all her clothes, and carried off Prince Ronald (p. 28). The only thing the princess could find to wear was a paper bag, yet she bravely went after the dragon. Was Ronald grateful when she rescued him?  Oh, no! He said (pp. 46-48):This is another book I've mentioned more than once, like for the 25th anniversary edition. I love children's books that go against the norm.
"Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess."
"Ronald," said Elizabeth, "your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."
They didn't get married after all.
And look! This article about Twelve Empowering Children's Books To Add To Little Girls' Bookshelves includes both of my favorite children's books.