From inspirational feminist essays to illustrated fairy tales and an interactive journal, three new books provide material for teen readers to savor during winter’s long nights.
Thirty-eight women and girls, from high school students to bankers to professional authors, write about the opportunities and struggles of being female in Because I Was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages, edited by bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz. Some contributors were discouraged from their chosen careers. Others have dealt with being the only woman in their offices, labs or studios. Some pieces rile the reader’s anger while others are laugh-out-loud funny. But all of the women featured have gone on to carve their own niches and find their own voices. Timelines of major events in the women’s rights movement are interspersed among short biographical sections, making Because I Was a Girl a great choice for either reading in batches or appreciating as an entire work.
TALES TO TREASURE
Everyone thinks they know the stories: the Minotaur in the labyrinth, the gingerbread cookie come to life and the sea princess with the beautiful voice who exchanges her mermaid’s tail for a pair of legs. We also know that an illustrated book pairs images with words to tell a story—but what if these ideas were inverted, turned inside out and presented in new and unexpected ways? In The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, author Leigh Bardugo and illustrator Sara Kipin collaborate to do just that. Five short stories and a novella, all set in the world of the author’s Grisha trilogy, subvert readers’ expectations of what, exactly, constitutes a happily-ever-after. The story forms through both words and pictures, as each page adds one more element to the mostly monochromatic, illustrated borders. Bring tissues: Some of these tales are total tearjerkers!
Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, is back with a new book made for creative scribbling. As readers pencil in the titular shape in The Line, they’re invited to explore patterns, navigate obstacles and participate in everything from revelation (“The answers are contained in the line itself. The line may reveal them to you, but only if you are ready to hear them.”) to destruction (invitations to cut, fold and otherwise mutilate the pages). The reader’s line meanders across shapes, words, blank spaces and black-and-white photographs as its adventures build to a crescendo. Like Smith’s previous books, The Line can be devoured in a single sitting, or each page’s activity can be completed one at a time. This is a great gift (especially when accompanied by an exquisite pencil) for teens who love art, journaling and introspection.