Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren is an adventure from beginning to end. Pippi might be an orphan with no respect for proper civilization, but I think she's a fantastic role model.
The book follows Pippi and her next-door neighbor and friends Tommy and Annika through Pippi moving in, trying to attend school, an visiting the circus amongst other events. Pippi was raised on a ship with her father, but after he was blown overboard during a storm she goes to Villa Villekulla (the house her father had bought for them) to wait for her father's return. She's convinced that he managed to find an island and become king of the cannibals that live there. As soon as he has built a ship, he'll come home.
Pippi is perpetually optimistic. She just wants to have fun. And the adults and children around her don't always understand that. But really when you're an orphan, there seems to be two ways you can go. Either you become optimistic and look at life as an adventure to explore, or you become depressed and look at life as the worst thing there is. I think Pippi does a pretty excellent job of taking care of herself. She makes coffee and cookies. She has a pet monkey and a pet horse whom she cares for quite devotedly. She is willing to help others for next to nothing. She might not always know what society wants from her, but she does know what the best thing to do in a situation is.
I think Pippi is a great character to grow up with and I'd encourage young adventurous readers to try out this classic.
Favorite Quote: "He's the strongest man in the world." "Man, yes," said Pippi, "but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that."
Middle Grade March Count : 18