The theme of the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of New Moon Girls was “Have it Your Way.” January is a time when lots of us are thinking about how we want the next year to unfold, and this month’s book recommendations might give girls and boys some inspiration to make this THEIR year — the year that things go THEIR way! From sports to science to new ways to express themselves, I hope they’ll find something to love in the book recommendations below. 
Non-Fiction: Real Ways to Have it Your Way

  • The cornerstone of making a life that you want is freedom — the freedom to speak your mind, chase your dreams, pick your friends, and more. Check out My Little Book of Big Freedoms by Amnesty International for a reminder on why all these things are important, no matter what your age or where you live. A beautiful illustration accompanies each freedom, such as the right to life, fairness, belief, and love. And buying the book helps support Amnesty International, a human rights organization dedicated to making sure people all over the world have basic rights.
  • If you’re looking for ways to express yourself, we have you covered! Find your way to artistic creations through My Book of Beautiful Oops: A Scribble It, Smear It, Fold It, Tear It Journal for Young Artists by Barney Saltzberg, which can help you find beauty in ink spills, crumpled paper or paper full of holes, and more. If writing is more your style, you might like Every Day Is Epic: A Guided Journal for Daydreams, Creative Rants & Bright Ideas by Mary Kate McDevitt. In it, you’ll find lots of space for recording your rants, jotting down dreams for the future, and reflecting on what makes each day “epic” — even the ones that seem ordinary at first glance! If you’re looking for a journal that’s a little more low-key, try out All About Me: My Thoughts, My Style, My Life, which has questions on every page to get you thinking about your interests, life, family, and friends. Take a quiz to discover how much of a “daredevil” you are, and write a profile of your favorite pet. Most importantly, fill the pages with what makes you, YOU.
  • But getting artsy isn’t the only way to see life the way you want it to be. You can also express yourself through science and technology. Build the world you want by inventing something new, following the advice of Temple Grandin in her book Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor. Temple is an expert on the humane treatment of animals, and she used her experiences growing up with autism to invent the “hug machine,” a device that helps calm frantic people and animals. In addition to instructions for inventions YOU can make, Temple’s book includes stories about other famous inventors, and how they accomplished their achievements. You could be next!
  • If you’re reading this right now, you are probably using a computer of some sort, whether it takes up a whole desktop or fits in the palm of your hand. Digital technology, like computer software and websites, are a whole world of their own — and by learning to write computer code, YOU can help create that world. Get started with Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani. Reshma’s book has tips on how to get started, finding coding ideas, and more. It also has information about other girl and woman coders, so you’ll know you’re in good company! The series includes fiction books, too, like The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch, for even more girl coders!
  • Of course, to achieve all your goals in the new year, you might want to get organized first. Get Organized Without Losing It by Janet S. Fox can help, with tips on cleaning up major messes, making the most of your time, and more. It will even help you discover if you’re the sort who needs to get organized in the first place!
  • If “Have it your way” reminds you of a restaurant slogan, turn to Fearless Food: Allergy-Free Recipes for Kids. This is a book for you if eating at restaurants or at friends’ houses stresses you out because you are allergic or sensitive to common food ingredients, or if you want to plan meals and snacks that take your friends’ or families’ food sensitivities into account. From pancakes to pasta, you can find recipes in this book that will let you have food YOUR way, no matter what preferences or restrictions you might face.
  • Where would we be without the girls and women who insisted on having it their way and forged new paths for all of us? You can read about some of these brave girls in Girls Who Rocked the World and More Girls Who Rocked the World by Michelle Roehm McCann and Amelie Weldon. From Joan of Arc to Emma Watson (who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies) to regular girls just like you, the stories in these books will show you just how powerful insisting on having things “your way” can be.

Fiction – Inspiring Stories

If you want to read a story about brave girls who insisted on marching to the beats of their own drums, find inspiration in these books.

  • Eleven-year-old Maya is obsessed with soccer — but in 1980s Malaysia, where soccer is a “boys’ game,” Maya has trouble finding anyone who shares her dream of an all-girls’ soccer team. And at home, she can’t understand why her parents aren’t getting along despite her best efforts to keep the family together. Read about how she overcomes obstacles on and off the field in Ten by Shamini Flint.
  • With book titles like Rock Star and Class Act, you just know that Jada Jones is a girl who knows how to follow her own passions! You can catch up with her in the Jada Jones series by Vanessa Brantley Newton as she explores her passion for studying rocks and minerals while trying to make new friends and runs for class president despite her fear of public speaking.
  • In Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce, Ellie is used to being able to create anything she wants to. But when she wants to build a dog house for her best friend’s birthday, her plans get so elaborate that she needs help from two groups of kids who don’t usually get along. Can she build new friendships along with her friend’s gift? This book takes you inside Ellie’s plans with blueprints, notes, and drawings of her ambitious project as it unfolds.

What about you? Have you read any of the books above? What are your favorite books about girls who do things their own way? Leave a comment with your suggestions below!

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of 2 little boys. She has been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author...

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