BRAVE Female Characters to Inspire our Daughters

My family and I were fortunate to be invited to an exclusive family pre-screening of Brave on the weekend. This is the 10th original film to be produced by Disney-Pixar, but the first to take on the genre of a fairy tale.   Like all great Disney-Pixar films, Brave appeals to adults and children alike with its clever story-telling and incredible animation.

Rated PG and starring Billy Connolly [King Fergus] and Emma Thompson [Queen Elinor], Brave is released into cinemas nationwide today.

Due to a number of scary bear scenes,  I would probably recommend the film for older children (7+).  Brave still successfully managed to tickle my little girl’s fancy though. She is fascinated by anyone and anything associated with magic, fantasy, adventure and grandeur. She loves stories with witches, mythical creatures and princesses. All of which appeared in the film along with spells, magic and a few comical moments.

Set in Medieval Scotland, the main storyline of Brave concentrates on Merida, a princess who rebels against the traditions that will determine her future. Getting herself into a wee bit of trouble, she fights with courage and bravery to forge her own destiny.

It was the sub-story of family relationships that left a lasting impression on my daughter and I though. Merida felt that it was her mother who was the cause of her problems. Upon meeting a witch, she asked for a spell to change her mother.( Honestly, haven’t we all wanted to change our parents or their opinions at some point in our lives?) The drama really begins when Merida realises her request could mean she will lose her mother forever. Merida’s bravery and integrity really set in when she starts fighting to get her mother back.  She takes responsibility for her actions and is determined to rectify her mistake.

You always need to pack a tissue when seeing any good movie. You’ll need it for Brave when you realise the extraordinary lengths a mother will go to for her child, but also what a child will do for their mother in return. My little one didn’t need the tissue but she did give me a hug at the end of the film saying, “I’m glad you’re not a bear, Mum!”

There are also some wonderful printable activities to try at home after viewing Brave.

Cam dressed up for the screening of Brave, and as a result won herself a goodie bag, which included a Merida wig.

She hasn’t taken this wig off all week. I’m happy for her to play the role of Merida, a girl who is strong in her convictions, independent and who has a fierce love for her family.

What other literary female characters are great role models for our daughters? Can you help me add to this list?

  • Lulu: Brave, resilient, a problem-solver [Ladybug Girl, Jacky Davis and David Soman]
  • Annie: Brave, determined [Annie to the Rescue, Deborah Niland]
  • Lizzie: Resilient, strong, imaginative, loving [Lizzie Nonsense, Jan Ormerod]
  • Penny Pasketti: Brave, imaginative, thoughtful, a problem solver [Twinkle, Nick Bland]
  • Matilda: Intelligent, humble, strong-willed, respectful [Matilda, Roald Dahl]
  • Hermoine: Intelligent, confident, reliable, loyal, [Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling]
  • Stolen Girl: Strong, patient, brave, [Stolen Girl, Trina Saffioti]
  • Lucy: Courageous, honest, honourable [The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis]
  • Arkie Sparkle: Brave, perceptive [Arkie Sparkle] New series coming in July.
BRAVE Female Characters to Inspire our Daughters


  1. We really love Madeleine from the Madame Pamplemousse series by Rupert Kingfisher. She is like a ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl – strong willed against the odds. You just can’t beat reading strong girl characters, what would the Potter books have been without Hermoine.

  2. P.S. Cam looks so super cute!

  3. Just thought I’d suggest-
    Alice: Intelligent, determined, resourceful, curious, etc. [Alice's adventures in wonderland, C.S. Lewis]
    Dorothy: Caring, courageous, loyal, etc. [The wonderful wizard of Oz, Frank Baum]
    Mulan: brave, courageous, strong, etc. [The ballad of Mulan]
    Pippi: loyal, sense of fairness, etc. [Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren]
    Madeline: caring, resourceful, strong, etc. [Madeline, Ludwig Bemelman]

  4. You can’t go past the inspiring Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

    • Brilliant suggestion. I haven’t read this story to my daughter yet. I must track it down.

  5. I actually can’t wait to see this movie with my 5 year old! Merida looks like she has a truck load of get up and go! When I first seen the movie trailer, straight away St Joan of Arc came to mind.

  6. Thank you so much for this list, I now have so many great books lined up for Abbie!

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