Girls Leadership Book Club – What Did You Practice?

5 min read

As we wrap up this year’s Book Club, I’m pausing to look back on all we’ve accomplished together this year.

Stay tuned next week for an opportunity to win some Book Club prizes! We’re sending a survey to measure the impact this program had for you and your girl.

 

Another year of Girls Leadership Book Club has ended, and to all of our participating families, we sincerely thank you for going on this journey with us. Whether you’ve been on board since the first year or are new to our program, your participation means the world to us. When you post pictures of your wonderful meetings, or share inspiring stories about how girls are taking their leadership skills into the real world – or when you simply register and download your discussion guides – it touches our hearts. We love to think of girls and their grown-ups taking time to bond with each other and their communities, reading high-quality books together, and discussing the qualities of leadership.

 

Very soon, we’ll be sending out a survey to all of our participating families. Please take a few moments to tell us your thoughts. This program has grown quickly – in just three years, we’ve gone from serving families with girls in 2nd and 3rd grades, to serving families with girls across six grade levels. Now, there are 3,400 participating families in all, not just across the country, but around the world.

 

Next year, we’ll be keeping our grade levels the same and focusing instead on honing the program itself. Please help us meet your needs by letting us know what you’d like to see: More detailed discussion guides? More help meeting up with local families? More flexibility and options with your book choices? What else will you dream up with us?

 

Several years ago, I read about a study in which thousands of kids were asked to draw a scientist. A shockingly small number of kids – less than 1% – drew a female scientist. This spring, I read that this study had been conducted once again. Thousands of children were asked to draw a scientist. In this more recent study, about 30% of children drew a female (with the youngest children being the most likely to do so). Only 3 in 10 children asked to draw a scientist drew a woman. But that’s more than ever. This study got me thinking about leaders, and whether the image we carry in our minds of leaders is as narrow as these kids’ images of scientists. Do we imagine that all leaders wear suits? Make lots of money? Is our default image of a leader a man?

 

Or, do our girls have a broader idea of leadership?

Do they see leadership in the way that Amina from Amina’s Voice and Anna from The Year of the Book both reach past their discomfort in order to show the world who they are? Or, in the way the way that Isabel from Chains, Violet from The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, and Precious from The Great Cake Mystery speak up and stand up, demanding what they need and what is right? Do they see leadership in the way Ida Mae from Flygirl goes after what she wants, despite the risks?

 

Do our girls see leadership qualities in themselves?

In the way that they include rather than exclude, speak truthfully rather than keep the peace, and ask for what they need rather than settling for what’s given to them?

 

Because that is our dream. It’s ambitious, bigger than any one program or organization. But, it’s at the heart of everything we do – every single book recommendation, every single activity and discussion question. Achieving this dream requires all of us to see our own leadership potential, and to nurture it in others. It requires us to recognize that we’re stronger together than we are apart.


We’d love to hear about your Book Club experiences in the comments.

All of your feedback helps us to improve Girls Leadership Girl & Grown-up Book Club for the coming years!

If you are able, please support this program with a financial contribution. We rely on donations to provide this free resource to families around the world.


Not a member yet? It’s FREE! Sign up to get toolkits with meeting guides and discussion questions for our entire archive of books delivered right to your inbox. Book Club will start again this September.

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  1. Diana

    Any books on loving yourself as a person for middle schooler? Until you live yourself, you can then only love others, then you wil act in kindness…

    • Dorothy Ponton, Digital Marketing Manager

      The characters in these books grow to accept themselves and find their place in the world, so this is self-acceptance as a form of loving yourself. In particular, being true to oneself is more important than being liked or pleasing others.

      The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz – Joan escapes grueling life on a farm to find work with a wealthy Jewish family in Baltimore. Life at the Rosenbachs’ opens the naive, romantic Joan’s eyes to new experiences. The reader gets to know Joan’s passions and fears through the diary format of this historical novel.

      First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez – 12-year-old Malù is trying to figure out where she belongs, whether it’s with her Mexican mom, or the kids at her new middle school. As she tries to figure it out, she follows the first rule of punk: Always be yourself.

      Also, consider reading The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods – Bi-racial Violet always took after her dad but, after he passed away, she doesn’t quite know where she belongs. She conspires to meet her father’s family, hoping to discover herself by getting to know her relations.

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