Poetry for Self Respect

I’m not sure where I saw this book, but the moment I did I knew I had to have a copy. I think it is incredibly important for kids to see know that they are perfect the way they are. Self respect and self love are really hard for a lot of people, adults and children alike. Vanessa Brantley-Newton put together a compilation of her poems that help girls of all ages, shapes, and colors find themselves in her pages.

© Vanessa Brantley-Newton

The publisher’s introduction of the book is as follows:

An ode to the girl with scrapes on her knees and flowers in her hair, and every girl in between, this exquisite treasury will appeal to readers of Dear Girl and I Am Enough and have kids poring over it to find a poem that’s just for them.

But it feels like more to me. One poem is entitled “I Love My Body” all about being perfect just the way you are. “Memawh’s Wisdom” is a loving tribute to our grandmothers, and our mothers, and the wisdom that they impart to us, even when we don’t want to hear it. For anyone who loves to dream big, “Explorer,” allows them to soar to unknown worlds. And for my little social activist, “Warrior.”

© Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Not only is the book a wonder about being kind to yourself and dealing with girl stuff, it also depicts lots of different girls. They are different colors, have different hairstyles, live in different places, and liking different things. That’s because it is cool to be different. It is cool to just be yourself.

When April rolls around and people are looking for new and different ways to show kids how cool poetry can be, this book should definitely be highlighted. It is stuff like this that makes me shake my head in amazement at how far children’s books have come.

© Vanessa Brantley-Newton

So this book also made me think about a Jewish prayer that I really love and I thought it would be a good way to end the post. Dan Nichols took the Asher Yatzar and put it to beautiful music and tweaked the words just slightly in the English translation. I keep wanting to teach it to the religious school…maybe this weekend. Also, for more posts about self-respect you can click here.

“I thank You for my life, body and soul
Help me realize I am beautiful and whole
I’m perfect the way I am and a little broken too
I will live each day as a gift I give to you”


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