My first book.
Beamer was at least
semi-strong, I think.
It’s been over 20 years since my first YA was published.
Back then and continuing today one hears frequent call outs for “strong female
characters.” Hard to argue with the goal; still, I’ve always kind of wondered about
this, frankly. A voracious reader once I actually started reading, I never felt
the lack of strong female characters. My
reading roamed over all sorts of books, fiction and nonfiction, and I was more
concerned with being engaged by a good book than whether there was a strong
female character.
Yes, I know…I shouldn’t extrapolate from my limited experience
and decide that there’s no problem in the content of the books we create for and provide
to children. But what do we mean when we say we want more “strong female
characters?” Or more African-American
characters? Or more LGBT characters?  We want them
to all be strong, no doubt. But do we even know what we mean by that?
This post by Alyssa Rosenberg raises an interesting question
about female strength in fiction. It’s worth reading.  


Marsha Qualey is the author of several young adult novels, including Just Like That, Too Big of a Storm, One Night, and Close to a Killer. Her books have appeared on numerous best-of-the-year lists, including ALA Quick Picks, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, IRA Readers' Choice, New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, and School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year.

Marsha retired from the Hamline MFAC faculty in 2017. 

Visit Marsha's website.