In 2011, the United Nations adopted resolution 66/170: International Day of the Girl Child in which they recognized:
“that empowerment of and investment in girls … are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognizing also that empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes …”
In the United States, we celebrate Day of the Girl on October 11 in order to bring attention to issues of gender justice and youth rights. As the librarian in an all-girls school, I’m particularly interested in how storytelling plays a critical role in empowering girls and giving voice to the voiceless among them. To this end, here are eight great books about girls and their stories that you can check out in the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy library or purchase from your local bookstore or online.
Sold by Patricia McCormick
I love this book! It’s a novel in verse about a 13-year old girl whose stepfather sells her into sexual slavery. McCormick manages to give voice to the fear and anguish Lakshmi experiences, as well as the hopefulness among the community of women in which she finds herself.
Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner
This book is a testament to how community and kindness can help girls heal from the emotional injuries inflicted by bullies. Gardner was the victim of cyberbullying for nearly two years when two girls from a neighboring town learned about her and started a national letter-writing campaign to help encourage her and lend her support. This is a collection of those letters.
Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America by Rebecca Carroll
This collection of personal stories of fifteen girls, ages eleven to twenty, captures their experiences as they walk through the world as young women of color. Carroll simply presents the girls’ narratives as they were told to her, letting each young voice speak for itself.
YELL-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American edited by Vickie Nam
This is a collection of letters, poems, and essays responding to questions posed to Asian American girls about culture clashes, family, their bodies, dual identities, and other unique challenges they face as the encounter the world. Deeply personal, it’s a great read.
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
This novel in the form of a diary tells the story of Gabi, a senior in high school, who is grappling with identity, the pressures of her cultural heritage, her father’s addiction, and her friends’ many crises. Written with humor and a great deal of insight, Gabi’s diary is filled with passages about her expectations, her body image, her worries, and her future.
My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman’s Story by Latifa
This is the personal memoir of a brave young woman who endured a childhood of imprisonment in her own home, later escaping to Pakistan and then Paris, where she was finally able to tell her story.
Tomboy: a graphic memoir by Liz Prince
Prince recalls her experience as a young girl who didn’t fit into the gender mold constructed by her parents, peers, and teachers. Not a “girly girl”, she struggled to find her own identity and become comfortable in her own skin.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
The youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Yousafzai became internationally known in 2012 when, at the age of fifteen, she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out in favor of her right to an education. This is her inspiring story of courage.