Monday, September 19, 2011

Please Read (if at all possible): The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht [Nonfiction Inspection]

Title: Please Read (if at all possible)
Author: Kate Engelbrecht
Topic: Girl Power
Format: Softcover

Precis: One hundred and sixty-four teenaged girls are credited as contributing to this book.  They took pictures of their lives with disposable cameras and filled out a thirteen-question survey about what it's like to be them.  The pictures and surveys are reproduced here in this anthology, literally illustrating what it's like to be a teenaged girl in 2011.  (The surveys were due January 31st)  You'll find pictures of girls, of flowers, of stuffed animals, and of boys.  You'll find copies of their answers to those thirteen questions, a poem, and entire surveys reproduced so that you can see the girls.  You never see a name with a picture or a name with a survey.

Verdict:  As someone who spends at least ten hours a week mentoring teenage girls, I found this empowering.  This was important work.  Not only does it prove that teens know more than society gives them credit for, but it proves that they do not enter adulthood jaded with broken spirits.  We do that to them. 

It highlights their strengths, their insecurities, their fears and the things they're proud of.  It made me cry.  There is one particular set of photos in the book, one on the left where a girl is pinching her stomach, showing her extra skin.  On the right, there is a girl, the same size as the girl on the left, who is showing the same amount of stomach, who has written "I Love My Body," on it.  It was the most powerful part of the whole experience for me.
This book is important for teens and adults alike.  Adults, so you can see where teens stand, and teens, so that you can know that you are not alone.  No matter what you're experiencing, as a parent, as a teenager, you are not alone.  There is someone else out there that sees the world similarly to you and you will find strength in knowing that there are dreams, fears, and goals the same as yours.  No matter your age. This is a book to be turned and flipped.  It's changing orientations done on purpose to illustrate a shift in point of view and paradigm.  This is poignant.  This is powerful.  This is girl power at its apex.  Put it on your to-acquire list.  I promise you won't be sorry.

Pub Date: August 30, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Universe
ISBN: 978-0-7893-2260-9

Order It:
Book Depo
Changing Hands