Mentoring Month: Day of the Girl

Next month on October 11 is the International Day of the Girl, a day marked by UN resolution for “promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of [girls’] human rights.” With equal rights and feminism very much in the news lately, it seems like a good time to share our experiences with mentoring girls and being mentored.

As a nerdy little bookworm myself, most of my mentoring came from books. So while I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about for this post, of course my thoughts turned to the books that helped me learn what it meant to be a girl. Okay, maybe at the time I wasn’t cogitating on empowered female characters, but I was definitely cheering on the awesome girls I was reading about.

My earliest conscious awareness of “girl as protagonist” was that girl-power classic, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET by Judy Blume. This book only gets better the more times crazy people try to ban it. 🙂 Margaret had issues — so many issues! — and they were my issues. Go, Margaret!

dragonsong   51LvdevLNwL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

When it came time to buy books for my niece, I was very aware that I wanted to be sure to find strong female characters for her. Two of my post-Margaret favorites — and still favorites today — are DRAGONSONG by Anne McCaffrey and A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle. Both were stories about girls who didn’t quite fit in, who wanted more out of life than what was easy, and weren’t hesitating to go after it. Plus, awesome adventures with a SFF, naturally.

I’m relieved to report that my pre-teen niece is continuing on with awesome reads about powerful girls. In fact, she gave me some new titles:

matched   graceling   slated

MATCHED by Ally Condie: Niece’s review — “She goes rogue. So that’s good.”

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore: “Her special skill is killing and survival.”

SLATED by Teri Terry: “It’s complicated. But she changes for the better.”

Aren’t those mini reviews sort of girlhood written short? Well, hopefully not the killing, but definitely survival — literally, for some girls, even in today’s world. We can hope that “changes for the better” is the ultimate outcome. Meanwhile I’m planning on watching (for the third time) that other new feminist classic MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Because every once and awhile I need Furiosa as my spirit animal.

mad max

Do you have a favorite book that influenced what you knew about being a girl or woman? Please share in comments.

About Jessa Slade

Jessa Slade is the author of the Marked Souls urban fantasy romance series (NAL Signet Eclipse), the Steel Born paranormal romance series (Harlequin Nocturne Cravings), and award-winning self-published science fiction romance with Hotter on the Edge. You can find her online at all the usual haunts.

Posted on September 7, 2015, in Auth: Jessa Slade and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I appreciate the book recommendations. When I was young, I was all about the Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps and Fear Street. As much as I loved those series, I’m so glad that there are so many more options for today’s Young Adults (plus adults like me who still read that genre) My favorite Young Adult series is still the Harry Potter series 🙂


  2. No one writes an empowered woman quite like Ayn Rand: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”


  3. Totally snagged Graceling for myself. 🙂 And I’ll always be a fan of The Secret Garden. It was my first experience with a girl who went from passivity to action, and I loved it.


  1. Pingback: Mentoring Awe and Success | See Jane Publish

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