This is Atlas Shrugged for children. Instead of a given world collapsing for lack of reality, reason, and rights, we have an established chaos coming to order as one girl uses her reason to deal with reality and even come to understand rights.
A plague kills all the adults, leaving children to fend for themselves. This is the story of how Lisa figures it all out, usually by trial and error. She has good insights, but does not anticipate the reactions of others. So, she works again for each new solution. She attacks each problem in turn and ultimately ensures the survival of the group that clusters around her.
Lisa finds inspiration reading Atlas Shrugged, a book alluded to, but never mentioned. (Later republications of the book have the reference to Atlas Shrugged removed.) On the Rebirth of Reason website, Barbara Branden wrote (March 23, 2005): “I've read it, and it's a beautiful book which I would recommend for any child. It has to be inspiring for a child, because it focuses on how much he or she can accomplish. The writer is an Objectivist.”
This book contrasts well against Lord of the Flies and other presentations. What happens to children without adults is an artificial problem, not much different than a book about robots or aliens. With science fiction and related genres, the author can create a new test environment to explore questions of human nature. The author engages the reader to ask and answer wider questions about good and evil. In this book, human nature is essentially a potential. (These are, after all, children whose natures are not set by habit.) These people are good or bad according to the choices they make.
After 35 years, The Girl Who Owned a City remains popular with kids for obvious reasons.
• 1977 Dell Paperback (Laurel leaf science fiction)
• 1995 Runestone Press Books
• 2003 Rebound by Sagebrush
An audio book was produced in 2009. (Johanna Parker reading for Recorded Books, LLC. ) Graphic Universe published a new version in 2012, drawn by Dan Jolley, Joëlle Jones and Jenn Manley Lee.
If you search YouTube you can find many trailers based on it, some of them recent.
These are passable fan videos
This is a fan skit
For being a Lego cast, this one is read well