As the mother of 2 girls, I like books with female characters doing interesting, non-gender-stereotyped sorts of things (never mind my law degree gathering dust while I play house with my babies -- feminism is about choice and this is mine. Wearing a tiara is fun).
Loud Emily by Alexis O'Neill. A picture book set in a seaside town in the mid-1800s. A fun story about a girl with a loud voice, viewed as a flaw in many circumstances, but for which she ultimately finds an important use. Cute story about turning weaknesses to strengths with a tad of history thrown in through the setting and in a few endnotes.
Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop. A juvenile reader with lots of illustrations. Also set in the mid-1800s at a lighthouse. A young girl helps her father maintain the lighthouse and must take full responsibility when a storm hits.
Clipper Ship by Thomas P. Lewis. Another juvenile reader with lots of illustrations. Mid-1800s again. Set on a ship sailing from New York to California, the captain is accompanied by his family. An interesting story and the grrrl part is when the father becomes ill and mama takes over sailing the ship.
Abigail Takes the Wheel by Avi. Juvenile reader. Another sailing book set in the late 1800s. In this one, a girl takes the helm of a steamship boat in New York harbor.