We never really got into the American Girl Dolls in this house. I mean, my 9 year old loved looking at the catalogs when she was younger, wanted to order everything, and needed a trip to a store while we were in LA, but then of course we got her one and she didn’t get a whole lot of attention. That said, the American Girl books have always been a hit. J read them when she was in elementary school and E has enjoyed a few. But what E really likes are the Smart Girl’s Guides.
The Smart Girl’s Guides are a way for young girls to ask the questions on their mind without the embarrassment of actually asking the question. The transition from little kid to tween is challenging and confusing. There are lots of new possibilities and responsibilities. The Smart Girl’s Guides have found a way to give them information without being preachy about it. The books feature bold colors and illustrations to keep readers engage and they usually have at least one quiz. They also show that there isn’t always a “right” answer. Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut and do what is right to you.
We have a number of these books and recently I was given the opportunity to review 2 new books that are coming out in August – Crushes and Making a Difference. What I really like is that the books don’t talk down to kids and don’t shy away from topics that sometimes we are not ready to discuss (dating, ugh!) But they have been covering a number of topics that are pretty awesome.
Crushes is actually a redesign and reprint of an older book called Boys. It focuses on dating, rejection, and tries to answer some of the questions of why boys and girls act certain ways. It touches on bullying, cyber-smarts, crushes, and jealousy. From what I can tell, one of the biggest changes between Crushes and Boys is that it is inclusive for the LGBTQ community which I think is awesome. In general, all of the pictures are multicultural which isn’t a surprise from American Girl and the information is spot on for kids that would pick this up.
Making a Difference is perfect for my little activist as it focuses on “using your talents and passions to change the world.” I always like books that show kids that they can make a difference in the world right away. I walked in my first AIDS walk when I was 12. It was a small move, but one that grew over the years and just being there and showing support was a big deal at the time (late ’80s). This book shows kids to follow their hearts and pick organizations and efforts that resonate with them. They also show the readers examples of other kids who have made a difference. Anything to help this generation become our next leaders.
One book I wish had been around when I was a tween is Liking Herself. Those tween years are super hard on a girl’s self-esteem. There is a lot of self-doubt and comparison happening. Friendships are changing, cliques start to form, your hormones are wrecking havoc on your body and your emotions. This book not only explains self-esteem, it talks a lot about retraining your brain and working towards a positive outlook. Yes, a parent could explain this stuff to their kids, but believe me, I’ve tried and it works much better coming from another source.
Finally, we have the book Getting it Together. These past 2 my younger daughter requested recently, but I really want my older one to read. Some people are natural organizers. They don’t need this book. On the other hand, some people don’t even notice when things are a mess. This book tries to help those who need a little help – from keeping a clean desk, organizing your backpack and locker, and ridding clutter from your life. It is kind of like a Marie Kondo for kids. One of the cool things about this book is that it shows you how organization impacts other aspects of your life. So make life easier and clean it up!
I really love these books and am totally okay when E asks me to purchase one. This is a great series that gets to the heart of a lot of issues that young girls face.