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Teaching the Girls in My life Through The Powers of Books

“Sweetheart, we have been through it.”

By Beth Tabler

Being a parent is hard. Being an aunt is hard. Being a mentor is hard. If you love a girl, then this list is for you. We, adults, want the world for the children in our lives. We have so much to teach, and sometimes we lack the words or the confidence to impart wisdom to children even though WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT.

I got to thinking about things that move me, and most of the time those things are books. Books can start change and impart wisdom. They can teach lessons and give the reader context. They are invaluable as teaching tools and sometimes it will take just one magical book to spark an idea that will serve them through life.

Here are some great ideas the good people of twitter helped me with.

“Your body belongs to you and you only. You do not need to do anything to it for the benefit of others. If you want to do something, do it for yourself. The older I get, the more I see how important this is.”


Why is this is important?

This is something I have always struggled with, coupled with confidence in myself. Body autonomy is one of the most important things we can teach the younger generations. It makes me think of the book Firestarter by Stephen King.

Even though Charlie McGee has powers, and her parents were subject to experiments, she is her own person. Her life and future belong to her, not the government. She has body autonomy. No one owns these powers except for her.

Stephen King’s Firestarter

“It’s gonna be all right,” he told her, and rocked her, not really believing it, but it was the litany, it was the Psalter, the voice of the adult calling down the black well of years into the miserable pit of terrorized childhood; it was what you said when things went wrong; it was the nightlight that could not banish the monster from the closet but perhaps only keep it at bay for a little while; it was the voice without power that must speak nevertheless.”

― Stephen King, Firestarter

About the Book

First, a man and a woman are subjects of a top-secret government experiment designed to produce extraordinary psychic powers.

Then, they are married and have a child. A daughter.

Early on the daughter shows signs of a wild and horrifying force growing within her. Desperately, her parents try to train her to keep that force in check, to “act normal.”

Now the government wants its brainchild back – for its own insane ends.


“You can be and achieve anything you wish. You simply need to believe in yourself and never—EVER—give up.”


Why is this is important?

My choice for this is Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. Mrs. Novalee Nation – Mom, fighter, lover, artist. This is a book about community, perseverance, joy, and pain. Novalee isn’t a flashy protagonist, but she has a huge heart full of love.

“Then tell them we’ve all got meanness in us…But tell them we have some good in us too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. That’s why we’ve got to make sure we pass it on.”

There is meaness in people, there is also the infinite capacity for good and the will to carry on. That is Novalee. She is bruised, battered, she has been let down, but she strives constantly for something better and more beautiful.

Billie Letts’s Where The Heart Is

“Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town–a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her–and you, too–on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is.”

― Billie Letts, Where The Heart Is

About the Book

Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town–a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her–and you, too–on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is.


“Take the time to be comfortable and confident in who you are!”


Why is this is important?

If you haven’t read this novella, you should. It is unorthodox, wild, and imaginative. Its lead protagonist is an ecological scientist with octopus prosthetics for legs. It involves time travel and ancient civilizations. It is amazing.

It reminded me to revel in who I am.

Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

“I want to do important work,” Kiki said, and the light that shone from those clear, bright eyes was too intense. Minh looked away. “That’s all any of us want. To not go to waste,” Kiki said.”

― Kelly Robson, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

About the Book

Discover a shifting history of adventure as humanity clashes over whether to repair their ruined planet or luxuriate in a less tainted past.

In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity’s ancestral habitat. She’s spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.


“Remember the power of community. Instead of trying to tackle big things alone, let people in on your adventure. Let them champion you, even if/when their advice is bad. Find your cheerleaders. Your accomplishment does not mean less if you don’t do it alone.”


Why is this is important?

You are probably thinking, “what an odd choice for books about community?” One of the best parts of Bridget Jones’s Diary is the relationships she has with her friends and family. Bridget royaly screws up repeatedly. She has her heart crushed, and her friends and family pick her up again and again. They share in her accomplishments and hug her during her failures.

Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary

“Emotional fuckwittage”

Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

About the Book

Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

“123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)…”

Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you’ll find yourself shouting, “Bridget Jones is me!”


If/when someone tells you to be/act like a lady, remember, you are the perfect lady for who you are, not what someone else perceives.


Why is this is important?

You act however you are going to act. You be whoever you are going to be. And I will still love you.

Jane Austin’s Emma

“She was one of those, who, having, once begun, would be always in love.”

Jane Austen, Emma

About the Book

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen’s most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.


“The power of No. Just No. Not, “no, sorry” or “no, I can’t because of ____________” but just straight up NO. No I don’t want to volunteer. No I don’t want to go out with you. No, I don’t want to join this project. It’s okay to just say NO.”


Why is this is important?

Saying yes is one thing, but being able to have the courage to say no is an entirely different thing. Saying no without hedging is hard. ow about saying no to power. I picked Hunger Games because Katniss said no to power. What they were doing was wrong, and she was going to fight it.

Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games

“Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it’s morning again, they’ll wash away
Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.”

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

About the Book

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.


“Be happy by yourself, on your own, before pursuing happiness with another person. You are not half a person looking for another half. You are a whole person, and if you find another whole person to chill through life with cool. But it’s not a requirement.”


Why is this is important?

I know it is a bit of an odd choice. I suppose I could have picked a great romance for this quote, but honestly this book is the epitome of being whole in your own skin. Valentine Michael Smith is totally comfortable and happy in who he is. So much so that he can share his love and ideas with the world.

Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land

“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy – in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”

Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

About the Book

Valentine Michael Smith is a human being raised on Mars, newly returned to Earth. Among his people for the first time, he struggles to understand the social mores and prejudices of human nature that are so alien to him, while teaching them his own fundamental beliefs in grokking, watersharing, and love.


“Love and respect yourself,and fight tooth and nail anyone who wants to hurt you.”


Why is this is important?

I try and instill this in my little girl. You fight for what you believe in. Confidence and conviction is where it is at. Polgara is amazing. Courage of her convictions enough to raise generation after generation of heroes, only to watch them perish. She believed that could do it, and she did. She raised Garion.

David Eddings’s Pawn of the Prophecy

“We’re living in momentous times, Garion. The events of a thousand years and more have all focused on these very days. The world, I’m told, is like that. Centuries pass when nothing happens, and then in a few short years events of such tremendous importance take place that the world is never the same again.”
I think that if I had my choice, I’d prefer one of those quiet centuries,” Garion said glumly.
Oh, no,” Silk said, his lips drawing back in a ferretlike grin. “Now’s the time to be alive – to see it all happen, to be a part of it. That makes the blood race, and each breath is an adventure.”

David Eddings, Pawn of the Prophecy

About the Book

A magnificent epic set against a history of seven thousand years of the struggles of Gods and Kings and men – of strange lands and events – of fate and a prophecy that must be fulfilled! THE BELGARIAD

Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know? For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while… THUS BEGINS BOOK ONE OF THE BELGARIAD’


“Normal is boring. The people who change the world often don’t fit in. Don’t change who you are to “be like everyone else”. Encourage others to stand out, and have the courage to stand out yourself. “


Why is this is important?

Because going your own road is important. Being who you are is essential to happiness. It takes a long time to get comfortable with yourself, but when you do embrace it.

Elena Favilli’s Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women

“She soon discovered that she was one of the very few women animators there. “That’s when I realized why princesses in their films were so helpless: They had all been created by men,” she recalls. She promised herself that she would create a new type of princess:”

Elena Favilli, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women

Check Out Some More of our Lists

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100 Fantastic Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Written by Women #100 -70

About the Book

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

the power of books


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