NPR Books, in a 2012 article about fiction for teens, reminds that while youth is fleeting, the books we read when we are young may remain favorites forever. Books to help your teen daughter can range from the obvious growing up female manuals to fun fiction. In between these two categories are self-help books, political information and biographies about strong female role models. Any book that encourages responsible behavior, independence and socially conscious action can assist your daughter's growth into womanhood.
Growing Up Female
Growing up can be puzzling, frustrating and messy if you are a girl. As if bras, periods, pads, tampons and body changes weren't enough, there are a multitude of new feelings. Informative books that don't beat around the bush can keep information at your daughter's fingertips when you aren't available or when you are both too embarrassed to discuss something. "My Feelings, My Self," by Lynda Madaras covers both physical changes and emotional ones. "It's a Girl Thing" by Mavis Jukes takes a conversational approach to being a girl.
Navigating Social Waters
Doing and saying the right thing in any given situation is a skill that will not only help your daughter through middle school, but can even carry over into her professional life. A deceptively simple little book, "50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know: What to Do, What to Say, & How to Behave," by Kay West, gives examples of the importance of basic courtesy, followed up with more modern advice on using cell phones, texting and social media. "The Art and Power of Being a Lady" by Noelle Cleary goes more deeply into correct social behavior, such as giving credit to others and the difference between being assertive and being a bully.
Looking for Role Models
"The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt" is a look into the expected behavior of women in the 1940s. "A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot," by Mary Walton recounts Alice Paul's battle to bring the vote to women living in the United States. A more light-hearted approach to famous women is "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women," by Catherine Thimmesh, which recounts some of the many women who have come up with basic items that we use every day.
Fiction That Inspires
Fiction gives insight into behavior and into human relations. Little Scout, in "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee provides a child's eye view of several serious problems in a small town. "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins portrays a young woman's sacrifice and transition from a girl to a woman across the trilogy. The Austin Family Chronicles, which includes "A Ring of Endless Light" by Madeline L'Engle, provides a model of family solidarity and dynamics.
- NPR Books: Best-Ever Teen Novels
- NPR: Top 100 Teen Books
- A Ring of Endless Light; Madeline L'Engle
- Girls Think of Everything; Catherine Thimmesh
- My Body, My Self; Lynda Madaras
- It's a Girl Thing; Mavis Jukes
- 50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know; Kay West
- The Art and Power of Being a Lady; Noelle Cleary
- The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt; Eleanor Roosevelt
- A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot; Mary Walton
- To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee
- Hunger Games; Suzanne Collins
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