Books with girls in the lead are important for all children--to affirm and reflect the girls, and to assure everyone that girls' stories are fun and interesting too.
UPDATE: Since creating this list, I’ve found a great repository of board books at A Mighty Girl that does a better job at completeness! So I’m making a list of recommendations instead: favorites and special categories, hopefully to make it easier to find the girl-centered books you’ll love best.
This is a running list. Asterisks* denote family favorites. Links are Amazon affiliate/indie bookstore.
Last updated: Feb 2019.
A Ball for Daisy (Amazon/Indiebound). No words. A dog has, loses, and regains a ball, and a friend too. Lovely emotional illustrations stay fascinating to kids well into the preschool years.
But Not the Hippopotamus (Amazon/Indiebound). Not everybody has an easy time with rhyming activities. Ages 9 months+.
Good Night, Gorilla (Amazon/Indiebound). A gorilla masterminds an escape from the zoo at bedtime. Ages 6 mo+. There are no words in the book at all, so I’m just claiming this one.
Stellaluna (Amazon/Indiebound). a baby fruit bat is separated from her mother and raised in a nest of birds. Text is long but easily abridged on the fly—just read the beginning and the dialogue. Ages 1+.
Where Is Maisy? (Amazon/Indiebound). A lift-the-flap book; one of many in the series starring Maisy the Mouse.
Where’s Spot? (Amazon/Indiebound). A lift the flap book. Sally the dog searches for Spot the puppy through a seemingly normal house—where surprises lurk under every surface. Ages 9 months+.
Very Busy Spider (Amazon/Indiebound). A spider is too occupied spinning her web to do the things she's invited to do with other animals. Animal noises! Ages 9 mo+.
Gossie (Amazon/Indiebound). A gosling loves her boots but decides she likes her friend even more. The origin of a series. Ages 9 mo+.
Home Sweet Home (Amazon/Powell's). A lift the flap book. Baby Owl flies places and looks at the animals that live there. Ages 6 months-16 mos.
I Know a Lot! (Amazon/Indiebound) and I Can Do It Myself! (Amazon/Indiebound). Part of the Empowerment Series. 12 mos.+
Bringing in the New Year (Amazon/Indiebound): A book about Chinese New Year featuring a Chinese-American preschooler and her family. Probably best for 1 year+.
Mama, Do You Love Me? (Amazon/Indiebound): A picture book available in board book form, featuring a daughter asking her mother how much, exactly, she is loved.
*Please Baby Please (Amazon/Indiebound). The rhythm and repetition of the baby-pleases means this one sometimes has to be read three times in a row. Ages 6 mo.+