My niece is a very smart girl who has had issues with her self-esteem for some time. I want her to read non-traditional stories with realistic characters that rely on their smarts and wit. I'm not looking for a girl meets boy type thing. I'm already ordering the Paperbag Princess, any other suggestions, perhaps more advanced than that one?
Clementine is one of my favorites... and if fantasy is an option, The Tale of Despereaux is a classic (much, much better than the movie!). Both books are ultimately about celebrating what makes us unique, rather than giving in to the pressure to fit in.
I'm a feminist & I rather like most of the books listed here. BUT the original fairy tales you are dissing started off as tales of princesses ousted by an ursurping QUEEN. Power struggles between 2 women w/the prince as REWARD. They come from celtic socities which were matrilineal - the only way for even a prince to rule was to marry the crown princess who would be the Queen. At least The Brave did that right