3 Amazing Books for Black Teenage Females
Looking for books for black teenage females?
Womanhood is a complex journey. I was fortunate enough to have a Mother as a guidepost in my life. Still, there were things she could not teach me. Things that other women with other experiences knew. Even as an adult I continue to learn from other women.
Some of the most successful people in the world have attributed their accomplishments to the mentors in their life. Maya Angelou was once a mentor to Oprah herself. Speaking in an interview about Ms. Angelou Oprah says, “I would now say that she is one of the greatest influences in my entire life. She is like a mother to me, a sister to me, a friend to me”.
Though mentorship is often accessible only to the affluent and connected, anyone can tap into this resource by reading. An avid reader myself, I developed an affinity for autobiographies written by black women. Their stories have often mirrored my own stories, taught me things about myself I didn’t know, made me die laughing and helped me move past experiences that haunted me. Here is my list of 3 books for black teenage females to read (and would actually enjoy).
1. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl - Issa Rae
Reading this book, I had so many flashbacks of awkward middle school memories. I was brought back to school dances, first-time relaxers and the painstaking labor of getting my hair braided. Of this particular black girl rite of passage Issa relates, “This long length of time would be bearable if every damn West African woman that took me on as a client didn’t marathon the lifetime channel. If only the sensitivity and empathy these women share with the overly dramatic characters on-screen translated to how they braided their client’s hair as they twisted and pulled every inch of my scalp with their rapid-fire fingers”. Until I read this I thought I was the only one forced into the Lifetime “Sunken Place” while getting my hair done. Issa really taps into the struggles of middle, high school & even college-aged girls with the kind of irony & wit that makes humor healing. This is required reading.
2. We’re Going to Need More Wine - Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle is the cool Aunty every young Black girl needs. The one who will teach you about things you need to know (that your mom might not). What I most loved about her book is that it’s neither preachy nor a blueprint for everything you should and shouldn’t do to become successful. It’s a collection of stories young girls can relate to mixed with a warning of future mistakes you don’t have to make to learn from.
The most valuable lesson, in my opinion, was her personal effort to stop belittling other women to make herself feel better. Having healthy relationships with other women is essential to growth. Her candor on this issue was both illuminating and inspiring.
3. Do What Feels Good - Hannah Bronfman
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Hannah on her book tour for “Do What Feels Good”. Not only do I love her but I love the overall emphasis on self-care that her book encourages. There are so many negative messages about body image and misconceptions about health. Of her own experience, Hannah says, “Like so many of us, I grew up surrounded by unhealthy body images and body issues both at home and out in the world, and I had to work hard to change the way I see myself and define what’s beautiful.”
I would love to see a world where we teach young women that self-care is an act of survival. Hannah’s insights, recipe’s and recommendations really illustrate that putting your health first can be fun and enjoyable.
There is a lot of truth to the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. I’ve learned that I can grow by learning about women that come from different backgrounds than me, that share different beliefs than me and I can even learn from women I disagree with. Reading other people’s life experiences is a way of adding to your “village” and supercharging your growth.
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