by KB Meniado
At 15, I moved to another city to go to college. I don’t remember it being such a difficult of an adjustment for me, as I was then coming from a melting pot. But I do recall how apparent the differences in experiences and perspectives was among the students, especially those around my age. It felt like every character in all the stories I’ve read and watched came to life! And so when an ARC invite to Girlhood: Teens around the World in Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja landed in my inbox, I went for it. I had a feeling this book was going to be a perfect match for me.
What do the lives of teenage girls look like in Cambodia and Kenya, in Mongolia and the Midwest? What do they worry about and dream of? What happens on an ordinary day?
All around the world, girls are going to school, working, creating, living as sisters, daughters, friends. Yet we know so little about their daily lives. We hear about a few exceptional girls who make headlines, and we hear about headline-making struggles and catastrophes. But since the health, education, and success of girls so often determines the future of a community, why don’t we know more about what life is like for the ordinary girls, the ones living outside the headlines? From the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia to the South Pacific, the thirty-one teens from twenty-nine countries in Girlhood Around the World share their own stories of growing up through diary entries and photographs. They invite us into their day-to-day lives, through their eyes and in their voices, in a full-color, exuberantly designed scrapbook-like volume. Available in bookstores nationwide / Read reviews: Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
Remember all those autograph notebooks or slam books back in high school, even grade school? This book felt a lot like that, except more modern and extensive. I liked how on top of engaging profiles and personal accounts via journal entries, there was also a sidebar for research-based information related to the conditions the teens came from or were facing.
It doesn’t cover all nationalities or countries (the closest I could relate to in terms of geographical and cultural factors were those, let’s say, from Cambodia and Singapore), but it’s quite a well-rounded representation, covering six continents. Not only did I learn a few new trivia, but I saw patterns, similarities, and yes, differences as well in the lives of these young girls. The inclusion of their photos made it more personal too, and it was an honor getting to know them through their own words, and I hope they grow up carrying the same, if not more, enthusiasm and idealism in life, and achieve their dreams.
The ARC says the final version of this book will have pages in full color, and that’s great, but I wondered about the diary entries. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the actual handwritten pieces or online messages or texts were to be printed as is?
Young girls of the world, take heed! If you need even more encouragement and inspiration to be the amazing person that you are, then Girlhood: Teens around the World in Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja is it.☁️