06/17/03
Girls Rule
    by Laurie Taylor

There's a growing trend toward evermore powerful female characters appearing in cartoons like "The Powerpuff Girls"; in books like Artemis Fowl, in which a hi-tech, sci-fi female fairy crime-buster saves the day; and in comic books, like CrossGen's Emma Bishop, the teenage sleuth in their Ruse series for high school age students. But while these are stalwart heroines, they are also only young people, and they have a lot they could use help with. A number of new books have appeared that are full of candid information and are dressed in cool packaging. And hip presentation is pivotal since most of these books are aimed at teenage girls. The teen years can be painful and confusing, and these books seek to help with basic discussions of everything from nutrition and skincare, to the more delicate subjects of physiology and sexuality. Although we would like to think that all parents are covering these issues with seemingly informed daughters, these young girls are often hiding the fact that they haven't quite gotten all the answers, or at least not yet.

One example of such a book is Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a Gurl (spelled g-u-r-l)which has sections that try to speak directly to teen girls about their bodies and how to properly care for them, about their emerging sexuality, and about lots, lots more. In fact, the whole book is designed as an argument for the equation:

knowledge equals(=) power.

Informed and aware girls are more likely to become responsible, mature young women. To get this central message across to girls is possible because the book is written and designed with style and flair, so that even the act of reading itself looks cool.

Another book, GirlWise: How to Be Confident, Capable, Cool, and in Control, offers advice on what to do in both common and uncommon situations. This book offers advice on everything from how to handle yourself in job interviews to what to do if you accidentally spill a drink all over someone. Again, the author's over-all purpose is to provide level-headed, good counsel that many girls simply aren't getting in ways or under circumstances that they can absorb. Some of the information in Girlwise isn't particularly glamorous -- like how to unclog a toilet -- but the directness of the book's approach and its light, unthreatening tone will keep girls reading.

Books like these address what girls really want to know about, in a package that will fit right into a backpack for the beach, the mall, the park. And if you're giving one of these books as a gift, don't be worried if your "thank you" comes in the form of rolled eyes and disinterested looks -- the young recipients will thank you after they've read the books.

Copyright 2003 Laurie Taylor

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