Illustrated by Ella Bailey
Age range: 9–11
The four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – live in financial hardship in New England with their mother, while their father has been drafted to fight in the Civil War. As the four come of age and their distinct personalities develop, destiny has contrasting fortunes in store for them – in the form of marriage, career, European travel or fatal illness – but the bonds holding together the March family remain intact.
Initially written as a novel for girls, Little Women is now regarded as an all-time American classic for both sexes and all ages, inspiring generations of women writers and giving rise to many adaptations.
Six generations of readers have found in the story of the March family universal truths about girls, families and growing up.
The resounding message of Little Women is that no one stays the same for ever, least of all the reader … the power of Little Women lies absolutely in its girlish innocence.
Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is as much a part of every girl's childhood as her first pair of ballet shoes and the Brothers Grimm.
Mail on Sunday
Louisa May Alcott (1832–88) wrote several classic novels inspired by her New England childhood, and was also active in the Suffragette movement.