Monday, June 30, 2008
A post on the Feminist Law Professors blog reported the author's experience of looking for a book to give a 12-year old girl as a gift. What she found in her local Barnes & Noble bookstore, "were shelves of books promoting vanity, consumerism and sex. The titles were things like Gossip Girl and Cheetah Girls. After reading the cover summaries it seems that in order to encourage reading in our teen girls we have to expose them to the promotion of celebrity worship, buying designer handbags, gossiping about your friends, and having sex to be popular."
I asked my 15-year old daughter her reaction to this. She reports that it is the case that the bulk of books in the teen section of our local Barnes and Noble consist of things like Gossip Girl and Cheetah Girls. Fortunately, she also reports that one can, in fact, find wonderful books the encourage and inspire girls beyond the sorts of things promoted in the teen series. Why it takes such work to find such books is another matter.
For those looking for some good books for teen girls, I share some of Elena's suggestions: Chinese Cinderella, by Adeline Yen Mah; The Great Good Thing, by Roderick Townley; The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak; and The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King (one of Elena's favorites)