Children`s literature is primarily to improve children`s literacy― whether for simply reading and writing or for making significant meanings of one`s life in various ways. Ever since its modern birth in the mid-eighteenth century, children`s literature has often advocated literacy, but it also constructed childhood as the period in which literacy should be acquired and sufficiently commanded. Literacy thus contributed to the formation of a modern citizen and a modern child. And the citizens that it helped fashion are gendered citizens as literacy itself has nurtured gendered readers and writers. This essay analyzes Louisa May Alcott`s juvenile fiction, Little Women (1868-69) in order to show how gendered literacy is deployed by the “tomboy” character, Jo March. I argue that Little Women is the portrait of the artist as a young girl. Alcott`s Jo, as a girl artist, makes the best of gendered literacy. Jo`s playful physical, cultural, and literary cross-dressings are at once an act of rebellion and negotiation as a girl rather than a woman artist. I conclude that Jo`s (ad)venturing into and deployment of gendered literacy is an analogy of the wartime women`s literacy, which filled the lacuna in the world of male literacy during the American Civil War (1861-65).