Girls on Quest!: 4 Children’s Books Featuring Girls on a Hero’s Journey

When I started researching books to select for our January Box, I had no specific theme in mind. I just knew that we would be exploring Asia and I knew I wanted the stories to be interesting and show the diversity in culture within the continent.

Even after I selected the books for the Nest Jr., Nest and Soar Boxes, it didn’t occur to me that a theme had emerged until I read the last book. Then it hit me—three books with three girls on a hero’s journey. These books tell three different stories of these girls as they go off on quests – one out of defiance, another out of obligation and the last in efforts to find herself and save her community. All three girls encounter challenges along the way, and despite the fear, self doubt, and the figurative and literal battles, they all emerge stronger and more sure of who they are.

I am so proud of this month’s selections. If you are already an ABC subscriber, your kids are in for a treat! If you are not, there is still a chance to get a January Box and get to know these three girls. While you wait for your box to arrive, here are some books featuring fierce girls on heroic quests! Enjoy!

Kaya’s Heart Song by Diwa Theran Sanders and Nerina Canzi (illustrator)

Kaya is looking for her heart song – the song that happy hearts sing. Her search takes her on a journey deep into the jungle where a broken down carousel waits for a very special song to make it turn again… Grounded in the principles of mindfulness, this joyful story set in the vibrant jungles of Malaysia will truly make your heart sing. (Lantana Publishing)

Great for Hatch readers.

Daughters of Steel by Naomi Cyprus

Halan was once a powerless princess. Now she’s taken her rightful place as queen of the Magi Kingdom—but she wonders if she’ll ever be the ruler her people deserve. And Nalah used to be a powerful pauper. Now she’s the Queen’s Sword—but the more Nalah’s powers grow, the more unruly they become.

One vision changes everything. Nalah embarks on a quest across the desert to harness her powers, while Halan must travel through the Transcendent Mirror to help the Thaumas of New Hadar.

As a dark threat draws closer, can Nalah and Halan reunite to save both worlds—and the future of magic? (Harper Collins)

Perfect for Nest Jr. readers.

The Distance Between Us: Young Reader’s Edition by Reyna Grande

When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.

But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us sheds light on the immigrant experience beautifully capturing the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side). (Simon & Schuster)

Great for Nest readers.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Macmillan)

Excellent for more advanced Soar readers.