I recently read yet another report that said that men consistently reported higher levels of self-esteem than women in every single country in this world. Now there are numerous factors that influence our self-esteem, but as a parent I have great faith in the role that books can play in shaping our children. I’m a firm believer that self-esteem is shaped by the kind of pictures and stories we soak up while growing up. These narratives mould us.
To coincide with Daughter’s Day on September 22 in India, I wanted to share a list of books that I believe every young girl should read. But then I got caught up and never ended up posting the list. This week with the start of Navratri, I saw several social media posts about empowering women and realized that there is never a wrong time to inspire young readers. So here you go. Here are my favorite books for young girls:
1. I like Myself by Karen Beaumont (Age: 6 + months)
This is an adorable book for toddlers and preschoolers that teaches young girls the importance of self-esteem and encourages them to appreciate everything about themselves – messy hair, beaver teeth, big nose, whatever! The book is written in rhyme and decorated with colorful and super fun illustrations and carries a critical message that it is important to love yourself, no matter what anyone says.
2. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell (Age: 4 – 8 years)
Molly Lou Melon is a very short and clumsy girl with buck teeth and a voice like “a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor”. The book tells us what happens when she faces a bully at school and how she finally comes out victorious with high self-esteem. Young readers would love her determination and how she walks proudly and smiles big despite facing challenges. This one is must have for your book shelf.
3. Strong Is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker (4+ years old)
This book is full of empowering images – images of young girls being silly, being athletic, being strong, being wild, being proud, being anything other than being just pretty. Our daughters are constantly bombarded with images of ‘perfect’ girls. This book is so refreshing with its real portrayals, it reminds us that beauty isn’t about looking a certain way or wearing the right clothes. It is about being yourself.
4. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo (Age 6 – 10 years)
This New York Times bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary real women from the past and the present including astronauts, athletes, chefs, engineers, artists and more. The book is illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. Each story is incredibly inspiring. I have gifted this book to so many of my daughter’s friends! This one is an absolute must have for every girl.
5. Women In Science by Rachel Ignotofsky (Age – 10 + years)
This book is excellent for young girls who are interested in science. Its packed with stories about 50 notable women famed for math, engineering, tech, science, and more who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more. This book is educational, inspiring and beautifully illustrated.
This festive season instead of gifting a toy or a dress, how about gifting books to all the little girls. What better way to celebrate Navratri, than speaking up for feminine power!
Do share your best tips for raising confident kids.
See you again soon.