Some of my favorite bedtime stories as a child include Where The Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Giving Tree, Velveteen Rabbit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bridge to Terabithia and the list goes on.
However, in mostly all the books I listed, the main character is…a boy.
As a mother in a time of elevating the girl child, the books my daughter read are quite different. Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls. Padmini is Powerful. Rosie Revere, Engineer. I love that she loves reading and I know that the characters she reads about…strong, female, diverse and smart are only helping her LOVE it more and more.
As parents, caregivers, aunts, uncles alike, we want our kids (boys and girls) to love reading.
Children are our future.
But we cannot ignore the cultural ideas and media influences that shape our young girls minds to sometimes deter from that book in hand to other things she could and “should” be good at. Like looking pretty. Or being liked.
Unesco reported that of the 774 million adults (15 years and older) who still cannot read or write, two–thirds of them (493 million) are women. Among the highest percentages fall in areas that include the countries of South Asia.
It’s why I love when I see a good South Asian female character for BOTH my daughter and my son. I want him to know of these strong girls too when he is ever in a situation where another boy may say something like, you throw like a girl. I hope he will tell them of the strong girls we read about.
My kids and I even smiled while we read it! The illustrations are edgy and fun and reminded me of my NYC days 🙂 It starts off with Satya, a precocious, love-able Indian-American girl, ready to have a super day, including finally conquering the tallest slide in her hometown, Hoboken. But things takes a not so super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner. Will she be able to face her fears, help her friends and be the true hero everyone knows she is?
These are questions our kids ask themselves over and over again in this frenzied world. Heck, it’s what we even ask as adults.
How can we let our truth shine and not be afraid of what anyone will think?
Oh and how synchronous is it that the main character’s name is Satya, (the yogic word for truth)??
How can we face our fears of failure?
I want my kids to know these emotions exist and it’s ok to feel them. That like Satya, it can take an experience like not having her cape to come to that empowering realization on your own.
I want my daughter to know that the more she stands in her truest self, the more other girls may join her. That there were women before her who were banned from school and reading and to know that it is beautiful how things have evolved and changed.
The more our girls read about confidant girls who take chances, we will have girls like Satya who save the day everywhere.