Loading...

Follow Girls Leadership on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
Or

Valid


This month, Girls Leadership book clubs will read books about girls who know who they are, and decide to be true to themselves. Whether that means having difficult conversations or resisting the pressure to change, these characters choose to be uniquely them, rather than change to fit someone else’s idea of who they should be. These three characters all use the written word to explore their identities, express themselves, and make sense of the world.

Not a member yet? Sign up for our Girl & Grown-up Book Club. It’s FREE! Get toolkits with meeting guides and discussion questions for all previous years delivered right to your inbox, instantly. Toolkits for this year’s books will be emailed each month.

Take me to the Book Club Sign Up!

As you read, talk with your girls about the pressures that these characters might feel to conform to what others want, and how they reject that pressure. This conversation might lead to a general talk about general pressures to change and conform, and where those pressures come from – peers, media, even us grown-ups.

You could share this wonderful quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2015 commencement address at Wellesley College:

“Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are.”

For older kids and grown-ups, I recommend this moving Ted Talk by Caroline McHugh, founder and CEO of IDOLOGY. Ms McHugh herself is an inspiring example of individuality, and the stories she tells about people living their largest, fullest versions of themselves might prompt you to ask yourself what it means to be you.

Happy reading.

2nd/3rd Grades

Lola Levine Is Not Mean by Monica Brown

Buy or borrow a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book
2nd grader Lola Levine has strong opinions – about her favorite color (purple), her favorite animal (cats), and her favorite sport (soccer). Lola plays soccer at every opportunity, including with her classmates every recess. One day, Lola accidentally kicks another player while trying to stop a goal. Despite Lola’s sincere apologies, her classmates and school principal exclude her from playing sports. The other kids call her “Mean Lola Levine” for her competitive attitude on the field.

Lola insists that she’s not mean, only competitive. With the support of her family and her best friend Josh, she works her way back into the game, still wearing her favorite shirt, the one that says, “My goal is to stop yours.”

This is the first title in the Lola Levine series, in which there are currently six books. It received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
About the author
Monica Brown is a Professor at Northern Arizona University. She wrote the award-winning picture book Waiting for the Biblioburro, and the Marisol McDonald bilingual picture book series, as well as a series of bilingual picture book biographies. Lola Levine is based on her own experiences growing up as a part-Peruvian, part-Jewish, soccer-loving kid.

4th/5th Grades

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Buy or borrow a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book
There are a million ways that Malú disappoints her mom. She’d rather wear ratty tee-shirts and jeans than dress up, chooses loud punk over Mexican ranchera music, and takes her food vegetarian (hold the cilantro). When her mom moves them to a new town, she follows her dad’s advice (first rule of punk: be yourself) with varying degrees of success. Through the ups – she forms a punk band – and the downs – her band gets banned from school – Malú expresses herself through handmade zines. The zines lend a fun graphic element to the book, and give us another window into Malu’s world.

This debut novel received many starred reviews, and has been featured on “Best of” lists including Kirkus Review’s Best Middle-Grade Books of 2017, School Library Journals’s Best of 2017, and the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2017.

About the author
Celia C. Pérez is a librarian, punk listener, and long-time zine maker living in Chicago. The First Rule of Punk is her first book for young readers.

6th/7th/8th Grades

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Buy or borrow a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book
Joan Skraggs loves tales of sweeping romance. She knows she doesn’t belong on a Pennsylvania farm, doing chores from sun-up to sun-down, in a house surrounded by a father and brothers who don’t even try to understand her. When her father denies her the opportunity to attend school, the fourteen-year-old runs away to Baltimore, where she transforms herself into an eighteen-year-old named Janet Lovelace. There, she encounters the Rosenbachs, and becomes a hired girl in their wealthy household.

Set in 1911 and written in diary format, The Hired Girl is a funny and heartfelt story about a girl whose life unfolds in funny, heart-breaking, and altogether surprising ways. This book received the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award.

About the author
Laura Amy Schlitz lives in Baltimore, where she works as a school librarian. She has written several novels for young readers, including Newbery Medal winner Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, Newbery Honor book Splendors and Glooms, and The Night Fairy, which was a 2016 Girls Leadership Girl & Grown-Up Book Club selection for 2nd and 3rd graders.

Disclosure: the links to buy or download books may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost, and Girls Leadership may get a commission if you click through and purchase.

The post Girls Leadership Book Club: Monica Brown, Celia C. Pérez, Laura Amy Schlitz appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

3 min read

At MEDIAGIRLS, one of our goals for 2018 is to bring more men into the conversation of how to help girls know and own their self-worth, and harness the power of media for positive change. To that end, we asked our Youth Advisory Board, a group of strong-minded and thoughtful teen girls, to give us their single best piece of advice for dads and male guardians looking to stay close with their daughters.

Tip 1: Choose places WE like.

Take your daughters to go ice skating, or the mall, or whatever kinds of places they like going. That way your daughter will feel like she can connect with you more, and that you value what she enjoys as well. You should also try to spend a lot of one-on-one time with her, so she’ll get closer to you and feel more comfortable talking to you about herself and her life. — Amari

Tip 2: Ask for our advice sometimes.

Listen as much as you can. We often have the most insightful advice if you just ask. — Kakazi 

Tip 3: Look for more casual opportunities to connect.

If you want to connect with us, show it; otherwise we won’t know, and it might never happen. It doesn’t have to be formal. Talk to us, ask us to play games, etc. If this isn’t working, try talking during a drive or walk; this can be an opportunity to really connect with each other. — Hannah 

Tip 4: Find out about our interests.

Learn more about your daughter’s interests, and make an effort to talk to her about them and do the things she enjoys. Being kind to someone, and listening to what they have to say makes a huge impact too. Try to hear what we have to say, especially when it’s something hard, and be thoughtful about how you respond. — Claire 

Tip 5: Don’t judge us for what we like.

BE EMPATHETIC. Even if you think you know better, even if you think the things your daughter cares about are silly or a waste of time, TRY PUTTING YOURSELF IN HER SHOES. Don’t make fun of her for liking the things she likes or doing the things she does. Try to really understand what’s going on in her mind before you do anything else. — Annie 

Tip 6: Learn and support our dreams.

Find out your daughter’s passions, goals, hopes, and dreams are, and do everything you possibly can to support her as she reaches for her dreams. — Maisie 

Tip 7: Tune in to the smaller stuff.

Listen and pay attention. When dads do not listen to their daughters, there is no way for them to connect. In order for people to connect, they must be able to relate to one another. Sometimes, relating to others can be difficult, especially with a large age gap. I think that if dads do not push for information from their daughters, but instead look for small clues and listen to them, then they will be much better at relating to them. — Olivia 

Tip 8: Keep pushing for time together.

I would encourage dads to not give up on trying to spend quality time with their daughters. If it’s important to you, step up and say that it would mean a lot to you to have some bonding time. — Risa 

Tip 9: Don’t show worry that we’re growing up.

Try not to voice the “you’re growing up so fast” mindset when talking about personal things with your daughter. Instead try to talk and relate to your daughter on a level where you’re not worried about them growing up, and can focus on the issue at hand. — Sasha

This piece was originally published on MEDIAGIRLS.ORG and is republished with permission. Michelle Cove is the Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS®, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls how to critique the way girls and women are portrayed in pop culture with an emphasis on creating empowering content.

She is also an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Katie Couric’s talk show “Katie,” “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Visit www.mediagirls.org to learn more.

Read More from Girls Leadership on:

Media Dads Parenting

The post Dear Dads: 9 Tips from MEDIAGIRLS on Staying Close to Your Daughter appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This month, Girls Leadership book clubs will read books in which the main characters take control of their lives by thinking for themselves, making bold choices, and taking action that furthers their own hopes and dreams.

Not a member yet? Sign up for our Girl & Grown-up Book Club. It’s FREE! Get toolkits with meeting guides and discussion questions for all previous years delivered right to your inbox, instantly. Toolkits for this year’s books will be emailed each month.

Take me to the Book Club Sign Up!

If we want to raise children who grow to be confident, strong decision-makers, we have to give them opportunities to make decisions. That’s not something that our society is very good at. What we are good at is telling kids they’re not old enough and they won’t do it right and it might not be safe and it might make a mess so just let us grown-ups take care of it so it’s done right.

Kids who don’t practice making small choices – like how to wear their hair, who to be friends with, and what classes to take – aren’t likely to grow up with any skills to face the big decisions.

Even when they’re very young, kids can build their decision-making muscle. The article “Teaching Your Kids to Make Good Decisions” offers five suggestions for parents who want to help their kids strengthen their ability to make decisions. The last piece of advice resonated with me the most: “Allow poor decisions.” The psychologist quoted in the article argues that poor decisions will help kids learn about natural consequences.

I’m a believer in consequences, but in my house, we talk about failure as a means of becoming bold. Failure shows us that our bad decisions are not the end of us. We can learn from them or we can fix them or we can just endure them and realize that the worst that could happen isn’t as bad as we thought. And next time we face a decision we try to do better, but fear of failure doesn’t have as much power over us as it did before. It doesn’t drive our decisions.

Caroline Paul’s book The Gusty Girl is a chronicle of amazing adventures (which are technically mostly failures) that she could never have had if she’d let fear rule her actions. It’s not that she doesn’t feel fear, it’s that she doesn’t give it power. In a story about climbing the Golden Gate Bridge, Ms. Paul writes about bringing all her positive feelings – wonder and awe and joy – to the front, and allowing Fear to come along, too, telling it, “You’re there, but I’m not concentrating on you!”

As you read and discuss this month’s book, let yourself also reflect on your family dynamic with an impartial lens. Does your girl get to make choices on her own, or does she need your approval for every decision? You might ask your girl whether she sees herself as a decision-maker, then listen to what she has to say with an open mind. You might discover that there are more opportunities for your girl to use today’s decision making as a training ground for the decisions she’ll make tomorrow.

Happy reading.

2nd/3rd Grades

The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

In this illustrated chapter book, Alexander McCall Smith peers into the childhood of one of his most famous characters, Precious Ramotswe from The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Clever, curious Precious thinks that it might be marvelous to be a detective, and when sweets are stolen from the classroom, she decides to try her hand at solving the mystery. All evidence points to a fellow student, but Precious isn’t satisfied. Instead, she devises a clever plan to root out the real thieves.

About the author

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, as well as numerous other books for adults and children. He has won many awards for his work, including the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction in 2015 and the National Arts Club of America Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature in 2017.

4th/5th Grades

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

Violet looks African-American like her dad, but the rest of her family is white. And, since her dad died in a car accident, all Violet has is a fantasy of what it would feel like if he was still there, if she belonged with someone. Sometimes Violet just wishes she could be with people who look like her so people wouldn’t stare and comment wherever she went.

When Violet’s need for answers becomes too strong, she does the only thing she can think of to do: she contacts her dad’s mom, a woman she’s never met. Her eclectic, artistic grandmother is full of surprises, and she introduces Violet to a part of her history that she’s never known before. This is the beginning of a journey that helps Violet find what she needs and appreciate what she’s already got.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book.

 

About the author

Brenda Woods was born in Ohio, raised in Southern California, and currently lives in the Los Angeles area. Her books for young readers have earned several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor.

6th/7th/8th Grades

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

When they are sold to a cruel couple in New York, Isabel vows to take care of her sister Ruth, and find a way to freedom. Though she has practically nothing of her own and little control over what happens to her, Isabel does not wait to see what fate has in store for her. Instead, she works in large and small ways to reclaim power over her life, her story weaving in and out of that of the colonies on the brink of war.

This book spans several crucial months in our nation’s history, and tells a story of freedom through the eyes of one clever, determined girl. Published in 2008, Chains won many awards, including the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. It was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and a National Book Award Finalist. The story continues through two more books, Forge and Ashes.

About the author

Laurie Halse Anderson has written many books for young readers, including Speak (a National Book Award Finalist), Wintergirls, Fever 1793 (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and New York Public Library Best Book for Teens), and the Chains trilogy. She regularly speaks out against censorship, and received honors from the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English for her work in support of intellectual freedom.

Ms. Anderson lives in Philadelphia, PA.

The post Girls Leadership Book Club: Alexander McCall Smith, Brenda Woods, Laurie Halse Anderson appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

6 min read

This piece was originally published on lauraclydesdale.com and is republished with permission.

“She’s a ‘Basic’ girl,” my daughter says.

“What do you mean she’s basic?” I ask.

“You’ve never heard that expression before?”

“Unless you are talking about computer code, no,” I reply

*Sigh*

The Urban Dictionary defines “Basic,” as: “She is your run of the mill white girl that has no identity of her own. She has no unique redeeming qualities… Whatever is popular, she is into it whether she likes it or not personally.”

Hmmmm…I don’t think I like that term.

Pop culture is a kind of currency for girls. It’s like how my son is compelled to be up on the latest sports teams and scores. We can debate whether it’s right or wrong, but my son and his friends aren’t labeled in such an undignified way as “Basic.”

It hits me after talking to a colleague at lunch about how much she hates another label — “Mean Girl.”

“Yes!” I agree. “Unfortunately, I might have been called a ‘Mean Girl’ myself this morning after confronting another mother in our soccer carpool for not being a reliable partner in the pool!”

We had a good laugh at my story, but after the difficult carpool conversation, I had said to my husband, “I bet she thinks I’m a total bitch.”

My husband looked at me funny and said, “Boy, you women are hard on yourselves and others! All you did was stand up for yourself. You didn’t do it nastily. This is one instance in a sea of other instances with this woman. Does it only take one moment of showing you have a backbone to garner the label “bitch?”

It finally clicked.

Instead of trying to figure out what the underlying problem might be, women tend to unthinkingly label each other as ‘bitches’ or ‘bossy,’ and their girl’s friends (and sometimes even their own girls) as ‘mean girls’ if we catch even the slightest whiff of a behavior. I am not free of blame.

My husband is right. Women have a low tolerance for conflict with other women. It’s easier to just slap a label on it than to sort it out.

Unfortunately, these terms are dehumanizing and imply that the girl or woman has an inherent character flaw.

Research conducted by the non-profit girls’ leadership organization called, ROX (Ruling our Experiences), proves that girls’ relationships with one another get more contentious as they go through school. When they asked girls the open-ended question, “What are the big things going on for girls your age?” the most frequently occurring theme for girls of all ages was conflict with other girls.

Girls tell us these challenges are:

  • Drama
  • Girls being mean
  • Conflict between groups of girls
  • Gossip and rumors.

While most girls reported that they have friends they can talk to about serious issues, a whopping 41% of girls said they do not trust other girls.

In Girlfighting, psychologist, and professor, Lyn Mikel Brown, argues that this isn’t just some sort of developmental stage. Instead, she contends these behaviors stem from girls feeling pressure to uphold unrealistic expectations, to be popular, and to swallow their strong feelings.

In other words, girls strive to operate under the radar (and are labeled “Basic” if they go too far down this path). When the pressure gets to be too much, and because they are unpracticed in the ways of dealing with conflict and strong emotions, their “mean girl” escapes.

Instead of dealing with the true cause of why girls believe they need to twist themselves into ridiculous contortions, we look down upon our girls, throw a label on them, and chuckle that this behavior is just part of growing up female.

But chuckling at this doesn’t serve our girls.

ROX says we must, “Recognize “girl drama,” “gossip and rumors” and other types of conflict between girls as an emotional expression of anger, frustration and disappointment, not simply “girls being girls.”

SO WHAT TO DO?

This is a big subject with a lot of layers, but we can start by stopping throwing around these terms and labels.

Simone Marean, Co-founder of Girls Leadership, agrees and says we must disrupt this disturbing pattern of labeling. Instead of accepting these behaviors as an initiation rite, we should call the behavior or action by name.

“Mean Girl” does not describe a person every time there is an uncomfortable moment in a relationship. It’s a moment, not a person’s identity. Simone Marean says, “We wouldn’t call our girls bitches! But “mean girls” is just ‘bitches jr.’ So let’s not use it anymore because it dehumanizes the speaker and the person being labeled. In a school environment, this label stays with them and impacts their friendships for years.”

MAREAN SUGGESTS WE USE THESE PHRASES INSTEAD:
  • “Girl(s) who made a mistake, or messed up.”
  • “Girl(s) who didn’t communicate directly, because that is hard.”
  • “Girl(s) who doesn’t know what to do with her feelings.”
  • “Girl(s) who hurt you, or others.”
  • “Girl(s) who needs some help figuring how to manage this conflict.”

“The point is, this girl is not the devil, but a young human,” says Marean.

Calling the behavior or action by name will help foster healthier friendships amongst our girl’s friends. Girls’ friendships are crucial to girls’ happiness. According to the ROX study, girls who report they get along well with other girls and trust other girls reported the lowest levels of sadness and depression. Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better in life. What further inspiration do we need to teach girls the skills to navigate conflict?

When we help girls articulate what they are authentically feeling or experiencing, we are encouraging communication and transformation rather than competition. This rephrasing will go a long way to helping guide girls through learning and change to establish stronger female friendships and relationships.

Even if your girl doesn’t get along great with another girl, by articulating the action or behavior instead of labeling her as an unchanging and caustic person, you model a faith in the other girl’s ability to learn and grow. There are a lot of relationships that fall between the categories Best Friend and Enemy, and they are always changing.

The buck stops with us.

Let us help our girls call temporary conflict what it is and help her work through it thoughtfully and with love.

Today I am taking a pledge, and I hope you will join me, to stop using the word “Mean Girl” in any situation.

I will add this term to the dumpster along with other ‘banned’ terms like Bitch, Bossy, Shrew, and Harpy. I’ll toss it in right after the word “Basic.”

Laura Clydesdale had an epiphany one day when she noticed her then 10-year-old daughter exhibiting some of the same career-derailing traits as many of her female clients. Did it really start this early, she wondered? Laura decided to leverage her 15 years of experience as a leadership development consultant and launched her popular girls leadership blog.

She is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Parent.co and has also been featured on several radio shows and podcasts. Laura lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two children.

For more posts by Laura Clydesdale visit her blog here, or sign up for her newsletter.

You can follow her on Twitter at @l_clydesdale and can be contacted at laura@lauraclydesdale.com.

Read More from Girls Leadership on:

Parenting Middle School by Laura Clydesdale

The post Why We Need To Stop Using The Term Mean Girl appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

3 min read

From tweens to teens to young adults, girls usually have it worse when it comes to faceless bullies online according to Cyberbullying Research Center. The impact of digital hate is hurting our youth, especially our girls. Some headlines of young suicides don’t have teen in them anymore, because they don’t make it to their teenage years. It’s a tragedy since many are related to online harassment.

In a culture of online hate, having the skills to combat cruelty and harassment isn’t a small task. From cyber-predators to sexting scandals to slut pages – young girls need to be empowered and equipped to know they are never alone in today’s virtual playground. Here are five strategies to teach your girls to stand up to cyberbullying.

  • Being a cyber-mentor. A study reveals that cyberbullying is more common among friends (current or former) than strangers. So it’s high time for teens to become “cyber-mentors” for each other.  Through cyber-mentoring, a girl can feel encouraged and empowered to make a real difference online. This is also important when they are feeling pressured online or in conflict and may not want to go to their parents. As much as we have preached to our children to tell a trusted adult, studies reveal many turn to their peers if they are being harassed. It’s important they talk to someone and that person is a cyber-mentor that knows to tell an adult.
  • Quality over quantity. One way to reduce your risk of cyberbullying is to weed out your friends list. Girls are quick to consider how many LIKEs or friends they have versus the quality of people they have in their circle. The old cliché — you are who you hang with, is not only true, it can land you in troubled waters if one friend turned foe lifts an image and quickly turns it into a mean meme. Make it a habit not to friend every request you receive.
  • Sharing too much. According to a UCLA study, people who overshare are less likely to receive empathy or help if they are victims of harassment. With or without this study, everyone needs to pause before they post, send an email or text. Consider the long-lasting impact. Fifteen minutes of humor is never worth a lifetime of humiliation.
  • Building digital resilience. Generations earlier we were taught that words would never hurt us, today we know differently. We must remind our girls that the bullies on the other side of the screen are usually suffering too. Bullies can sometimes be victims in other ways in their home life.  Helping our girls know that the online hate is not personal can take some of the sting out – and build compassion towards others that are hurting.
  • Saying no to nudes. Sexting might be the new flirting but we must empower our girls to know it’s okay to say no when they are constantly pressured to send sexual images. In Shame Nation we discussed one of the largest sexting scandals that happened in a middle and high school in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Peer pressure can be difficult — in a 2015 survey of teens by Dr. Englander 70 percent of sexters felt coerced to send the sexual image. Sexting expert, Dr. Michelle Drouin shared in Shame Nation that parents need to give their girls a way out. They can tell whoever is asking that their parent monitors all their activity and if they are caught they will lose their phone. As one teen said in my book, we also have to start telling boys to stop asking for them.  Hear, hear!

Sue Scheff is a nationally recognized author, family internet safety and parent advocate who founded Parents’ Universal Resources Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) in 2001. She has been featured on 20/20, The Rachel Ray Show, ABC News, Anderson Cooper, CBS Nightly News, Katie Couric, Dr. Phil, CBC, CNN, Fox News, BBC, NPR and others discussing topics of Internet defamation, cyberbullying, cyber safety as well as her work helping troubled teens and their families through her organization. 

This piece was originally published on MEDIAGIRLS.ORG and is republished with permission. Michelle Cove is the Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS®, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls how to critique the way girls and women are portrayed in pop culture with an emphasis on creating empowering content.

She is also an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Katie Couric’s talk show “Katie,” “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Visit www.mediagirls.org to learn more.

Disclosure: the links to buy or download books may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost, and Girls Leadership may get a commission if you click through and purchase.

Read More from Girls Leadership on:

Media

The post #MediaMondayTip: 5 ways to equip girls to stand up to cyberbullying appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

3 min read

We knew we had to reach out to national bestselling author Sophie Kinsella the second we read her latest novel My Not So Perfect Life. The book of fiction addresses head on the theme of how lonely social media can make us feel when we compare our real lives to the curated, perfect lives of others. Even when we’re the ones posting “perfect” pictures, we typically end up feeling lonelier because there is no real connection to be made. We connected with Sophie (over Twitter, a great use of social media!), and asked to interview her to hear her advice for girls on social media. She graciously said yes, and here’s what she told us.

How did you land on this theme of curating our lives over social media for your new book? What most interested you?

I always write what I see around me, and I’ve been growing more and more aware of social media and the way we’re all subjected to relentless positive images of each other. I could see how people start measuring their own lives as compared to other people’s and also creating slight fictions with their owns, trying to make everything look perfect. But we can never be perfect and shouldn’t try to be! My books are all about relationships, and for relationships to be real and meaningful you need to see the whole person, the whole picture, the whole truth. So I thought this was a fascinating area to explore through my characters.

Have you yourself found social media to be an effective way to communicate with your audience, and what’s the best and worst part about it?

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I’ve been fascinated by the whole social media explosion, and I think it brings out the best and worst in people. It’s wonderful to connect, but it’s not wonderful to feel insecure when you look at other people’s apparently amazing ‘lives’ and believe in them or then feel the need to project a perfect life yourself. I’ve definitely been guilty of both these flaws! If I post a picture on Twitter, believe me, there are ten other pictures that I rejected because they weren’t attractive enough.

What advice would you give to girls when it comes to posting their “best selves” on Instagram and Snapchat?

We think we are making ourselves happier by emphasizing the positive in our lives, when in fact we are in danger of deceiving ourselves! I think it’s not so much wanting others to be envious, but wanting to keep up with everyone else’s supposedly perfect lives… no one has the perfect life, however wonderful their existence might seem, so don’t ever fall for the image!

Sophie Kinsella has sold over 36 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages. She first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – Confessions of a Shopaholic. Sophie has also written six standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night. In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family.

This piece was originally published on MEDIAGIRLS.ORG and is republished with permission. Michelle Cove is the Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS®, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls how to critique the way girls and women are portrayed in pop culture with an emphasis on creating empowering content.

She is also an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Katie Couric’s talk show “Katie,” “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Visit www.mediagirls.org to learn more.

Read More from Girls Leadership on:

Media

The post #MediaMondayTip: Author Sophie Kinsella on posting our “best selves” on Instagram and Snapchat appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Happy New Year! For January’s Girl & Grown-Up Book Club meetings, we’re reading books in which characters face big changes, and must adjust to new realities in life and in relationships. These characters dig deep to find their inner well of resilience, the quality that helps them weather changes and, even, find the positive in them.

Not a member yet? Sign up for our Girl & Grown-up Book Club. It’s FREE! Get toolkits with meeting guides and discussion questions for all previous years delivered right to your inbox, instantly. Toolkits for this year’s books will be emailed each month.

Take me to the Book Club Sign Up!

Remember that saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?” That strength that we develop as we get through life’s challenges is resilience. Resilience keeps our boat afloat on the stormy seas of loss, disappointment, and change. It helps us maintain faith in ourselves, in our abilities, and in our futures. With resilience, a setback doesn’t mean the end.

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University says that resilience is a child’s health and development tending toward positive outcomes, even in the face of adversity. According to this organization, a child builds resilience by developing coping skills and having protective community experiences. According to the Center, “the single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.” Another major contributor to developing resilience is the opportunity to develop coping strategies through experiences with “manageable stress.”

Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, confirms this idea. She says that one of the biggest mistakes parents make is trying to shield our children from negative experiences. In an interview with the Washington Post, Ms Morin says, “By allowing kids firsthand experiences to deal with pain or emotions, they get to practice. Just like if we want them to be great soccer players — you wouldn’t go out on the field with them, they need to go out there and practice.”

We know that our kids need resilience in order to deal with challenges both small and large. Yet, paradoxically, when we shield our kids from hardships we rob them of the chance to practice resilience. The next time your girl is going through something stressful – whether it’s a changing relationship or an ambitious school project – consider taking a backseat role, as opposed to getting behind the wheel. Your stepping back sends a powerful message of confidence in your girl, which might be the boost she needs to feel that confidence in herself. And, when she gets through that experience, tell her that she used her resilience to do so. Like a muscle, her resilience gets stronger every time she uses it.

As you read this month’s books, talk to your girl about the meaning of resilience and how it shows up in literature and life. Happy reading! Disclosure: the links to buy or download these books are affiliate links. There is no additional cost, and Girls Leadership may get a commission if you click through and purchase.

2nd/3rd Grades

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

Dyamonde never doubts that she’ll make plenty of friends in her new school. But one boy bewilders her. Also new to the school, the boy – named Free – is grumpy and withdrawn. Not one to back down from a challenge, Dyamonde decides to find out the cause of his terrible moods. Little by little, she gets to know Free and turns him into a friend.

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel is the first book in the Dyamonde Daniel series. It was written in 2009, and was a Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominee, a Massachusetts Children’s Book Award nominee, and Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice book.

 

About the author

Poet and novelist Nikki Grimes was born and raised in New York City, where she began writing poems at the age of six. She has now written many award-winning books for children and young adults, including the Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade; the Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings

Ms Grimes was awarded the NCTE Award for Poetry, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award from Kent State University, and the 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for her “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

 

4th/5th Grades

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

This book tells the story of Omakayas, or Little Frog, over the course of a year in her Native American Ojibwa community. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, Omakayas’ story is full of rich details about a life that is deeply connected to the land and the seasons. As times passes, Omakayas learns not only about the mystery of her past but the mystery of her future, and what it means to heal.

 

Written in 1999, The Birchbark House is the first book in the Birchbark House series, followed by The Game of Silence, The Porcupine Year, and Chickadee. The Birchbark House received many awards including the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Older Children and the American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle School Book. It was also a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

About the author

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels for adults, as well as stories for children, poem, short stories, and a memoir. Her work has earned many prize, including the National Book Award for Fiction (for The Round House), and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (for The Plague of Doves). Ms Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters, and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

 

6th/7th/8th Grades

Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye

Buy, borrow, or download a copy of this book and read it before your next book club meeting.

About the book

Told in short chapters and vignettes, this story is about the culture shock Liyana experiences when she moves from St. Louis to live near her father’s Palestinian family in the constrained but beautiful Jerusalem. Liyana struggles to follow the rules of her new home while also staying true to her own beliefs and feelings. Readers see the city through Liyana’s curious and attentive gaze, the richness of everything from food to architecture described in loving detail. Conflict arises when Liyana develops feelings for a Jewish boy, and the backdrop of Israeli-Palestinian aggression becomes deeply personal.

Written in 1997, Habibi won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

About the author

Like Liyana, Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis to an American mother and a Palestinian mother, and spent her high school years in Jerusalem.

Ms Nye has written many books of poetry, and several books of poetry and fiction for children. She has received awards from the International Poetry Forum and the Texas Institute of Letters, as well as the Carity Randall Prize and four Pushcart Prizes. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

The post Girls Leadership Book Club: Nikki Grimes, Louise Erdrich, Naomi Shihab Nye appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Girls Leadership by Simone Marean, Co-founder And Ceo - 2M ago

It is hard to stop thinking about Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, and that is naming just a few. These people were held in high esteem by so many of us, and had tremendous power to shape our understanding of the world. The only peace of mind in all of this disclosure is that the power of silence has been broken. This is a moment. The question is, will this moment become a movement? Will anything truly change? That is, in part, up to us: the parents, educators, coaches, guidance counselors, aunties, nanas, and caregivers raising our young people.

One step we can take right now is to reexamine our personal relationship with power. Most women weren’t raised to practice being powerful. Maybe our parents had an instinctual understanding of the paradox of power for females. While success and likability are positively correlated for men, for women it is the reverse: the more successful we are, the less likable we become. The pressure for girls to have friends starts before formal education begins. A 2015 KPMG Women’s Leadership study showed that the top four qualities girls were raised to cultivate are helpful, respectful, good student, and nice — not exactly the skills we want for our daughters when their boss tells them to undo her blouse.

Maybe now is the time to make a change not just in our HR policies and harassment reporting procedures, but in our homes. How comfortable are we talking about being powerful? How is that conversation different with our families,  our friends,  and our colleagues? Wherever we are on our personal journey, it is time to become acquainted with the power, or influence that we all have within ourselves. As Brené Brown says, we can’t give our children what we don’t have, and our girls need power now.

Our girls are growing up in a world where 66% of them will be pressured to send sexually explicit photos by 12th grade. Most of our girls experience #MeToo before they get a high school diploma. When they look around they will only see themselves in about 17% of the voices creating our narratives, fictional or real (women make up 16% of pundits on talk shows, 13% of contributors to Wikipedia, 14% of writers, producers, directors in Hollywood, 21% of Op-Ed Contributors, 20% of Congress, or 15% of corporate boards). Maybe with the job openings happening over the past month, that number might bounce up to… 23%. For our girls, the drop in confidence that occurs during middle school, never rebounds. In fact, while males gain confidence over the college experience, females continue to lose it. This can no longer be the foundation that our girls take into their professional life.

Our girls need to know the power of their voice. They need to learn it early. If this means that they become less likable to friends, or romantic interests, or even mentors, we are compelled to ensure that they are ready to accept that without hesitation. To learn this, our girls will be looking at us.

Activity: You First ☺
  1. Ask yourself: what makes you influential, either formally at work, or informally, with your friends and family? You might have more than one. A list is a great idea.
  2. Write it down on a piece of paper and label it, #AllKindsOfPowerful.
  3. Ask your girl or young person to take a photo of you with your powerful traits.
Once you know what makes you powerful, engage with the young people in your life.
  1. Ask them what makes them powerful. This is the ideal time to unpack what power means to them, and potentially expand that definition to something very everyday, and close to home.
  2. Have them write down their powerful traits, and photograph them with their (super) power.
  3. If you aren’t on social media, then this probably feels like a private exercise. If you are on social, then posting it shows the young people in your life that you are proud of what makes them powerful (if you tend to post other moments of pride). When photographing each other, see what it feels like to feel embarrassed about what makes you powerful, and try it again, feeling proud of your power.

Support Girls Leadership

The post Why Powerful? appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Girls Leadership by Simone Marean, Co-founder And Execu.. - 3M ago

When I visited my dad this week in the nursing home his dementia had advanced another step. It seemed like his brain was struggling to register what his body was feeling. It was overwhelming to absorb. The first chance that I got, I went to clear my head with a run, or more of a walk, by a river. Under the sky and trees, I was able to connect with my feelings of loss, reflect on our relationship, and be soothed by the crunch of the leaves, the breeze, the sound of water making its way around rocks.

As I turned around to head back home, I realized – my dad gave me this. My dad gave me the habit to seek out the outdoors, the knowledge that I was brave there, and the confidence to be alone in nature. Those are powerful gifts to give any young person, but especially a girl. This is why, as Thanksgiving nears, I’m not as excited about actual Thanksgiving Day as I am for Black Friday, a day that REI turned into a campaign to #OptOutside. I feel ready to face the resistance I’ll get from my kids in order to pass on my dad’s gift, by starting our own tradition of an ambitious hike.

To be honest, while I liked the REI campaign when I first heard about it, we at Girls Leadership didn’t really take notice as a girl-serving organization. But, since the #OptOutside campaign launched, the news for our girls’ mental health has not been good – adolescents, in general, are experiencing a rise in anxiety and depression. These levels are twice as high for our girls, and the gender gap is only increasing. With outdoor time reduced by 50% in the last 20 years, and the average teen now spending nine hours a day looking at a screen, the time has come to formalize our commitment to getting outdoors.

Reason #1: Freedom From The Girl Rules

Since girls are valued from a very early age for being cute, caring and likable, the outdoors becomes an ideal environment to take a break from those expectations and explore other possibilities such as bravery, strength, or determination. While there is nothing inherently wrong with looking good, when girls focus on pleasing others, they can lose their voice and their ability to speak their mind when disagreeing with others. No wonder that 70% of women say they feel free or liberated from expectations and daily pressures when they spend time outdoors. Even if you take a few selfies (with your phone in airplane mode), outdoor time can be a welcome break from performing according to the gender norms.

Reason #2: A Chance To Be In Her Body, Not Looking At It

Girls’ growing use of visual social media platforms is cultivating a comparison culture: how do I, my likes, my followers, quantitatively compare, on an hourly basis, to others like me? This mindset can be hard to break when all of us — adults, and tweens and teens — are checking our phones hundreds of times a day. When we get outside, to a park, a riverside, a mountain, a greenway, our horizon line changes. When we push our pedals to get us up the hill or scramble over a rock, our focus shifts and we are in our bodies. This is a crucial mental shift for girls whose senses of self-worth are deeply connected to how others see their changing bodies.

Reason #3: Cultivate Mindfulness

Hopping on a bike, in the ocean, or on a trail is a chance to pause the radio noise in our heads and connect with what we’re thinking or feeling. While practicing mindfulness, the observation and non-judgment of our thoughts, doesn’t usually come easily, movement can be a much easier entry point than sitting still. The best part? While being on social media usually leaves us feeling down, movement provides us with the endorphins that keep us coming back for more.

Reason #4: Identity Exploration

If your girl is like the average American, she is spending 95% of her life indoors. It is no surprise how many girls identify as “not outdoorsy,” given the cultural expectations that girls be scared of bugs and dirt-averse. In our recent interviews with middle school girls, they told us they had no time to be outside. Since the outdoors is such a powerful playing field to learn internal (grit, resilience, bravery) and external (strength, survival, balance, etc) skills to thrive, it is important that we do our best to open this door for them. Being outside is a chance for our girls to discover what they are made of.

Reason #5: We Get To Be Out There Too

Stress and anxiety aren’t restricted to girls in a girl-world cultural bubble; we adults are right there with them. Many of us are blurring the lines between work and home life. We are going to bed with our phones, and finding it hard to be in the moment without wondering how our moments compare to others. Except for the initial resistance or eye-rolling from our kids, getting outside this Black Friday could be as important for us as it is for them.

My dad always used a treat at the mountain top to keep us going. So when the potatoes and pie are done, I will put my sneakers by the door, and pack a chocolate bar with almonds while thinking of Frank.

Support Girls Leadership

(1) Hinkelman, L. (2017). The Girls’ Index: New insights into the complex world of today’s girls. Columbus, OH: Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.
(2) Blewitt, John. The Media, Animal Conservation and Environmental Education. Routledge, 2013.
(3) Tsukayama, Hayley. “Teens Spend Nearly Nine Hours Every Day Consuming Media.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Nov. 2015. Web.
(4) Stritzke, Jerry. “Force of Nature: Let’s Level the Playing Field.” REI Co-Op Journal, REI, 17 May 2017. Web.
(5) Louise Jack, “Children spend less time outdoors than prisoners, according to the new Persil Ad.’ Fast Company.

The post Five Reasons to Get Outside With Your Girls This Black Friday appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Girls Leadership by Dorothy Ponton, Digital Marketing M.. - 3M ago

Last year we invited amazing teaching artists to guide our campers on projects that allowed them to recognize, honor, and celebrate their voices through creative media.

Learn More About Summer Program 2018

ARTIVISM = ART + ACTIVISM

“The artivist (artist + activist) uses her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression — by any medium necessary. The artivist merges commitment to freedom and justice with the pen, the lens, the brush, the voice, the body, and the imagination. The artivist knows that to make an observation is to have an obligation.”
– M.K. Asante


Teaching Artists from left to right: Ashley Hamilton, Caitlin Carvalho, Dr. Amber Johnson, Lisa Whittner, Maxine Lyle, Natalie Boburka, Purple Norris, Ra and Xianix, Tammy Kremer

An important aspect of setting the tone was discussing what it means to be a “teacher-student” – that we are all capable of not just learning, but teaching. In an education system that often teaches students their educators are the ones who hold the knowledge they seek, it has been a thing of true beauty to witness young women sharing their learned beliefs to teach one another, and come to a place of deeper introspection around why social and restorative justice are so important to them.

Their vulnerability and trust in one another has lead to the growth of the community; much like a network of oak trees or water lilies, each young person has opened themselves up to receive nutrients from others, and grow individually to make this community strong. When these young activists return to their homes, they will be better equipped to prioritize love and community to enact the change they are so passionate about seeing in the world around them and within.

GRADES 6-8 PROJECTS

The projects for our youngest participants ask girls to learn about themselves, their thoughts and feelings, and learn to respect them. As girls go through middle school, they learn skills to engage with peers and family – how to share thoughts and feelings, ask for what they need, and navigate conflict as an opportunity for positive change.

 
The Grades 6 – 8 Arts Fest projects included:

“Flamenco + Poetry Fusion”

“Evolution of Step Dance”

“Expressive Mindfulness”

 
“The Justice Fleet Mobile Museum”

“Empowerment Sculptures”

GRADES 9-12

For our high school campers, Artivism teaches them to reflect on the cultural expectations that shape their identity and how they might create change not only with those they know in their immediate circle, but with a wider audience. Participants come away with a deep understanding of how power influences privilege and oppression, how this has impacted their own development, and what actions they want to take to create greater equity in their community.

The Grades 9 -12 Arts Fest projects included:

“Step Dance”

Evolution of Step Dance by Maxine Lyle, Teaching Artist - YouTube

 
“Performance Art”

 
“Brazilian Dance”

 
“Say Word Hip Hop”

 
“Upcycling Clothing”

 
Learn More About Summer Program 2018

The post Why use art to exercise the power of voice? appeared first on Girls Leadership.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview