Navigating the world as an introverted kid can be challenging, to say the least. From awkward social situations to being talked over by the louder kids, I’ve struggled through my fair share of childhood problems that I’m sure other introverts can relate to.
What made my childhood days a gazillion times better, however, were the best friends I made in the books I read. In my spare time after school, I journeyed with Roald Dahl’s Matilda through her silent struggles with her parents and Miss Trunchbull, as well as solved epic mysteries with Trenton Lee Stewart’s sweet and observant Reynie Muldoon of The Mysterious Benedict Society.
Looking back at my childhood experiences with relatable fiction, I can vouch for the importance of having introvert role models in books that your child can look up to. If you’re on the lookout for the perfect full-length fiction book for an introverted girl, I highly recommend the following five titles.
5 Fiction Picks for Introverted Girls
1. Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve
Polly Peabody’s family owns the world-famous Rupert’s Rhubarb Farm. And it’s teeming with magic — plants that taste like chocolate, mysterious jewels that are found buried in the soil, and bugs that chat with Polly. It used to rain at exactly 1 p.m. every Monday, until one day, it mysteriously stops. Other strange things begin to happen simultaneously, including her brother’s sudden illness and her Aunt Edith’s desire to sell the farm.
Polly’s oddball character shines through as she relays her day-to-day struggles to her best friend, Harry the talking rhubarb, and her sensitivity and emotional awareness make her a likeable and empathetic narrator. Introverted children will find themselves relating strongly to Polly, who, like many quieter young ones, has a colorful and imaginative inner world and an appreciation of the peace and beauty of nature. This book is suitable for children ages eight to twelve — Polly herself is eleven years old.
2. The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
In this novel, named the 2009 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, homeschooler Piper McCloud has always known how to fly, but when she lets the world know about her secret ability, she’s quickly whisked away to a government facility for exceptionally gifted children. Initially, everything seems to be working out, except that Piper soon begins to notice a strange series of events happening at school and realizes that something is amiss. She pairs up with the brilliant and wealthy Conrad — but can they save the other children and escape before they’re caught?
This book is perfect for any introverted kid who’s ever dreamed of flying (who hasn’t!) and loves gripping plot twists. Introverted kids will draw strength and inspiration from Piper, who harnesses her acute observational skills and quiet confidence in making friends and solving mysteries. Although not loud or extroverted, Piper earns the respect and friendship of many fellow schoolmates simply by being her personable and thoughtful self — proving that introverts can be leaders, too.
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a timeless classic by children’s writer extraordinaire Roald Dahl. For younger kids who have yet taken to reading books, it’s also been adapted into a movie suitable for young audiences. Matilda Wormwood is an avid reader with astonishing intellectual abilities. At home, she’s treated with disgust for her love of reading and is subjected to crazy punishments in school by the tyrannical Ms. Agatha Trunchbull, headmistress of Crunchem Hall. Journey with Matilda as she uses her unexpected powers to change her horrid situation.
This is a go-to book for any and all young introverts who love reading as much as Matilda does. Avid readers will relate to her voracious appetite for literature and limerick. Matilda is a reminder that introverts can very much be the heroes of their own stories, changing the world around them by harnessing their powers of empathy, observation, and wisdom.
4. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Montgomery
In this 1908 classic, Anne Shirley, a young orphan, is sent to live with a pair of unmarried siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. The Cuthberts had requested a boy orphan, but, due to a mix-up, Anne Shirley is delivered to their doorstep instead. Although the Cuthberts are initially hesitant about taking in Anne Shirley, they end up growing to care for her, deciding to let her stay on their farm, the Green Gables. Readers can follow Anne and her best friends, Diana, Jane, and Ruby through hilarious classroom standoffs, as well as after-school gaffes and adventures in Green Gables and the village beyond.
Like many introverted kids, Anne is a particularly imaginative character who’s often lost in a world of her own. When she describes her daydreams to her classmates, however, she’s perceived as eccentric and weird. However, instead of letting such comments get to her, Anne harnesses her love of imagination and creative writing, doing extremely well in English at school. Many introverted kids have faced similar situations (feeling like the perpetual odd one out), and this book is a helpful and charming reminder to never feel ashamed for being unique.
5. Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell
This worldwide bestselling series is wildly popular with young girls not just for its hilarious storyline but also for its relatable narrator, Nikki Maxwell.
Readers travel with Nikki through the highs and lows of middle school life as a dorky girl who does not fit in with her school’s wealthy, snobbish popular clique. Like many introverts, Nikki has a rich inner world full of daydreams and hilarious thoughts that she does not share out loud. Rather, she chooses to pen them in her diary. From pining after her crush Brandon to butting heads with the school’s queen bee Mackenzie, young girls will no doubt empathize with Nikki and root for her till the very end!
Nikki is the perfect fictional best friend for any introvert with a similarly colorful and crazy inner world. Introverted girls, in particular, will really enjoy this book, as they’ll no doubt relate to Nikki’s goofy awkwardness and rollercoaster-like emotions as she deals with girl problems unique to middle school life. At the end, Nikki realizes that no matter what life throws at her, staying true to herself is the most important thing when navigating the rocky waters of adolescence — a message of self-acceptance that’s crucial not just for introverts but for all children.
Bonus! A Non-fiction Book
Most introverts will be familiar with Susan Cain’s bestselling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. However, you might not know that Cain also published a different edition for kids and teens, called Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids, which is framed in the context of school, extracurriculars, family life, and friends. For example, Cain describes her first jarring encounter with extroverted kids at summer camp, how hyped on boundless energy they were throughout the day, and how, in contrast, she felt completely drained at the end of each day and wished for some quiet time for herself. Instances like these will resonate deeply with introverted children, who will find solace and support in this non-fiction book.
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I would highly encourage anyone who enjoyed her first book to buy its “growing up” version for your introverted kid as well. This book is perfect for children who need constructive ways to engage with the world as an introvert. Illustrated with cute comic-style art and easy-to-understand language, it’s perfect for both younger children and teens.
You might like:
- 5 YA Books With Introverted Characters That Will Make You Feel Understood
- 15 Things You Should Never Do to Your Introverted Child
- A Psychologist Explains Why Introverts Should Flip Weekdays and Weekends
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