It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
These two fierce books serve as a primer to female activism and the power of raising one’s voice for resistance, leadership, and yes, starting a revolution.
Written by Kaelyn Rich
Published by Quirk Books (2018)
ISBN: 1683690591 (ISBN13: 9781683690597). Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
This is a comprehensive nonfiction primer on activism specifically meant for females. There are eight chapters in total beginning with powering up the girl resistance and ending with caring for one’s self and one’s community.
This book is for girls who have something to say, for girls who have something to get off their chests, for girls who are ready to use their voices to slash through injustice.
While definitely commendable and much needed, I did feel that boys will also benefit from reading about women’s struggles. That being said, I also recognize that the hashtag we are presently using (#WomenReadWomen2019) to refer to us three ladies reading only women authors this year – may also be perceived as limiting. Regardless, I do admire Kaelyn Rich’s resolve to make this entire book only about girls and the steps that girls should take to start off a revolution!
While the language is accessible and definitely empowering – the book is super dense. At certain points, I wondered whether it would have been better to split this book into two parts, just so it isn’t too information-heavy, which truthfully can be overwhelming.
While the blocks of text are cleverly partitioned with illustrations, the occasional quotes (which I really enjoyed reading), I can not help but think how it would have been better if there were essays (in addition to the quotes) written by other female activists on their experience in fundraising, rallying troops together, and difficulties encountered in creating one’s campaign plans: having these other female voices would have personalized this primer more effectively.
What worked for me in this activist handbook (or start-up activist kit) is how Kaelyn Rich really went into the actual nitty-gritty of drafting protests and petitions, the many struggles one had to prepare for and contend with, along with very helpful tips and recommendations in the event that things don’t work out as planned. What I especially appreciated was how she highlighted how movements are now changed radically, thanks to the Internet and social media.
It is like having an insider’s account of what works and what doesn’t in planning protests, rallies, movements – broken down into one-two-three easy steps. One of my favourite quotes from the book is from Kaelyn Rich herself:
This is a fascinating read about girls wresting, claiming, and owning their power – and very clear guidelines on exactly how to go about doing it.
Our Stories Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, And Growing Up Female In America
Edited by Amy Reed
Published by Simon Pulse (2018) ISBN: 1534408991 (ISBN13: 9781534408999).
Borrowed a copy from the NIE Library.
While the first book is a guidepost to starting a revolution, this collection of essays written by YA authors on what it means to grow up female in America, specifically written after the results of the United States Presidential Election have been announced was harrowing, heartbreaking, and uplifting at the same time.
As Editor Amy Reed wrote in her Introduction:
In the days after the 2016 presidential election, I felt lost.
Like so many people, I was overwhelmed by feelings of shock and powerlessness. I needed a way out of my despair; I needed to do something. So I became determined to channel those feelings into action and hope. Out of that determination, and the determination of twenty other YA authors to make our voices heard, this book was born.
I read this book over the #24in48 Readathon weekend during the last week of January. The essays were highly personal, honest, raw, and bleeding. As I was reading each woman’s stories, there is a recognition of a shared experience, with the very clear and painful truth that these struggles are still ongoing. Yet collectively, what each woman seemed to be saying is: I know your pain. I see you. I carry it with you. You are not alone in this.
Apart from Amy Reed’s quote above, I also made a few more collages of my favourite quotes. Hope they entice you to find a copy of this book and read it while hugging the important women in your lives close to you.
Unite, women of the world! Make your voices heard!
#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America.