There’s always this question when we publish a new list- why is this book on and this one not? Well, the reason is the committee did (or did not) think that the book met the criteria for the list.
Despite the negative connotations that it has gained, feminist is a good word. Feminism is the belief that women and men are equal. A character in a book we read may be a feminist, but if the book isn’t written in a positive manner, or in a feminist manner, then it doesn’t belong on our list.
We’re not looking for just “spunky” or “feisty” or “smart” girls and women, we’re looking for ones that show them moving beyond characters and people who fight to protect themselves without furthering rights for other women. Our books show girls and women overcoming the obstacles of intersecting forces of race, gender, and class, actively shaping their destinies. They break bonds forced by society as they defy stereotypical expectations and show resilience in the face of societal strictures.
Most important, Bloomer books show girls and women solving problems, gaining personal power, and empowering others. They celebrate girls and women as a vibrant, vital force in the world. These books explain that there is a class or race issue; they don’t leave the reader to guess. A book with a strong female character that doesn’t demonstrate that an inequality exists may not be a feminist book. Strong female characters may be perseverant, courageous, feisty, intelligent, spirited, resourceful, capable, and independent–but their presentation may still not be feminist.