November 9, 2021

5 Books to Help your Daughter (or Son!) Understand the World in a New Way.


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Between school, extracurriculars, homework, and time with friends, there’s little precious time available for our girls to spend quiet time by themselves.

Even when that happens, we’re most likely to see our daughters curled up browsing TikTok or watching videos on YouTube.

If your daughter is not already an avid reader, it can be a struggle to entice her to spend her already limited time with a book. However, sometimes it just takes the right story to engage your daughter and convince her to spend more time reading. Reading is a habit like any other, and sometimes it takes practice to get your daughter interested.

However, one thing that usually helps is a book with a heroine who’s both exciting and relatable. These protagonists offer your daughter a positive role model and will help her understand the world in a new way.

Here are some of our favorite books for tween and teen girls:

1. The Girl of Ink and Stars

The Girl of Ink and Stars, written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, is a novel that follows adventurous Isabella as she explores her island home, accompanied only by ink-drawn maps and her astrological knowledge, both of which are legacies from her father. Isabella’s journeys are inspiring to any girl who dreams of being an explorer and will show your daughter that there’s nothing she can’t accomplish with preparation and knowledge.

2. Little Women 

The world-famous novel Little Women is a story that deserves to be told to every generation of young girls. Written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868, this story follows the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they grow up and try to determine a future connected to and independent from their family.

Since the language is a bit more antiquated, this is a great novel to read aloud with your daughter.

3. On the Come Up

On the Come Up follows teenager Bri, the daughter of an underground rap legend who dreams of being a hip-hop star. However, her passion for art must contend with the realities of her family’s struggle to survive. Written by Angie Thomas, this novel is an unflinching examination of the pressures that face many girls of color growing up in poverty, who are trying to thrive in a world that’s stacked against them.

4. Swallows and Amazons

This classic novel was written in the early 20th century by Arthur Ransome and followed the adventures of two groups of children who meet while on vacation in England’s Lake District. Swallows and Amazons is a celebration of their friendship, play, and fun, and is written in a way that doesn’t infantilize the children but shows just how capable they are on their own.

5. The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass, the first novel in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, follows Lyra, a young girl who is the subject of a mysterious prophecy. As Lyra matures, she starts to explore both her abilities and her place in the wider world around her. The themes of this series get pretty advanced in the later books, but Pullman is adept at explaining and exploring these complex topics in a relatable way.

Have trouble getting your daughter to sit down with a book? Here are some tips to try:

>> Read with her. You can either take turns reading the same book out loud or just enjoy some quiet one-on-one time together as you read your books.

>> Start by playing audiobooks if she would prefer to hear her books read out loud.

>> Take her to a library or bookstore and let her choose her books. She may be more amenable to reading if she can pick a story she’s interested in.


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