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Lacey Recommends Books with Girls Being Beautiful as Themselves

Hey, girls! Every May, we celebrate what makes girls truly beautiful — not what they look like or what they wear, but who they are on the inside. So this month, I’m featuring books about beautiful girls — all sorts of girls who are beautiful for their personalities, their dreams, and most of all, for being themselves! I’ll also be sharing a few books that can help you find new ways to let your own inner beauty shine.

Fiction – Stories About Beautiful Girls

  • Sometimes being true to yourself involves taking some big risks. In “Amal Unbound” by Aisha Saeed, Amal is forced to become a servant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. At first she thinks she will have to put aside her dreams of becoming a teacher … but the longer she works for the Khan family, the more she realizes there are even bigger issues at stake — like the cruel ways in which the Khan family weilds its power. She knows that she needs to learn to work with others — including those who resent her for being a “favorite” at the estate — if anything is ever going to change. Author Aisha Saeed says about the book, “There are brave girls all over the world. They may feel afraid sometimes, like Amal. But doing the right thing despite the risks it may involve is the bravest thing there can be. It is my hope that this story shines a light on brave girls everywhere.”
  • In “Length of a String” by Elissa Brent Weissman, you’ll meet not one but two beautiful girls. Imani has always wondered where she came from, because she is Black and almost everyone she knows is White. But when her great-grandmother dies, she finds her diary about fleeing the Nazis in World War II and moving in with an adoptive family in New York. Knowing she is not the only member of her family who has been adopted helps Imani, but she still wants to know more about her biological family. As her Bat mitzvah approaches, can she find a way to make peace with the missing pieces?
  • Ten-year-old Katy is told that only boys can join when she tries out for the 1958 Little League baseball team. But why should she take no for an answer, when everyone knows she’s the best pitcher around? Instead, she takes lessons from the Civil Rights Movement and follows the example of the great female baseball greats who have gone before her as she pursues her sports dreams in “Out of Left Field” by Ellen Klages.
  • Annie Brown is used to coming in “second best” in comparisons with her best friend, Savannah, who is the most-valued player on the track team, gets straight As, and won the school spirit award. But when Annie gets the opportunity to audition for a kids’ web show, she’s sure she is the perfect fit. After all, she has been writing “As-Seen-on-TV” type commercials for her own inventions for years. In “Annie B., Made for TV” by Amy Dixon, can Annie keep her friendship with Savannah alive even when it looks like Savannah might get the leading role that is perfect for Annie?
  • Judy Moody isn’t afraid to be herself, even when herself is always changing, and that’s what gives her inner beauty! In her first book, “Judy Moody Was in a Mood,” she gets to explore what makes her unique through her teacher’s “About Me” collage project. She pursues fame in book 2 (“Judy Moody Gets Famous“) and sets out to save the world in book 3, “Judy Moody Saves the World.” And if you can’t get enough of Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody series, more books will be out soon, including “Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party.” Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the series, these books can help you remember there’s beauty in being moody!

Non-fiction

  • Often, it is our friends’ inner beauty that draws us to them — and the people who see OUR inner beauty that are true BFF material. If you and your bestie want a way to always remember the special friendship you share, check out “All About Us: Our Dreams, Our World, Our Friendship,” a journal that you can write in together. The journal is full of activities to do together, like designing outfits, taking quizzes, and comparing notes about your one-of-a-kind friendship.
  • Looking for some inspiration from other beautiful girls? Then read “Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women” by Kate Schatz, where you’ll meet Trisha Prabhu, who invented an anti-cyberbullying app when she was 13; Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl who stars in her own TV series; and Ify Ufele, the youngest designer to ever debut her creations during Fashion Week, among many, many others. No matter what your interests, you’re sure to find someone to connect with among the dozens of girls from diverse backgrounds and time periods featured in this book.
  • For even more inspiration, turn to Hannah Alper’s book, “Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change,” which includes interviews with change-makers and activists from around the world. It also features tips on what YOU can do to make change. And it was all written by a 15-year-old girl whose path to change-making started at age 9, when she created a blog about her passion for animal rights and the environment.
  • And if all this inspiration has you ready to ACT, turn to “Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All” by Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin and Jamia Wilson or “Putting Peace First: 7 Commitments to Change the World” by Eric David Dawson. “Road Map for Revolutionaries” gives you the real deal on protests, boycotts, politics, and more. (What will happen if you are tear-gassed or arrested at a protest? How will you keep yourself safe on the road to revolution? What are your rights as an activist?) And “Putting Peace First” will introduce you to kids and young adults who have stood up against gun violence, unfair treatment by police, and the separation of kids with disabilities from those who are able-bodied. THEN it will help you examine your heart, speak up, and take steps to change the issues YOU are passionate about. And that’s pretty beautiful!

What about you? What are your favorite books featuring real or imaginary girls with inner beauty? What books do you know of that can help your inner beauty shine? Share your recommendations in the comments!

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