• 10 Best Books on Raising Strong Girls
    Girl Mom Reviews,  Raising Girls

    10 Best Books on Raising Strong Girls

    Raising strong girls in the face of mean girls, bullies + life is tough. Even if you were a girl at one time, as a mom now, it’s a different world for girls than it was when we were growing up.

    Also, if you’re going at this parenting stuff for the first time, you’ve never raised girls before. It doesn’t hurt to have some information at your fingertips so you can have a plan in place for raising strong girls.

    These 10 books can provide you with the information, tips + advice that you need for raising daughters + raising strong girls that can take on this world while they are little + continue to take it on as they grow into teenagers + adults.

    1. No More Mean Girls

    No More Mean Girls

    Remember in elementary school how you we played + learned + then went home? Yeah, those days are gone. While mean girls tended to appear in high school for us, mean girls are now making an appearance as early as elementary school.

    No More Mean Girls by Katie Hurley tackles the issues like peer pressure, low self-esteem + cyber-bullying that is creeping up at younger ages than ever before. In a world where social media leads our girls to believe that building “likes” reveals to the world just how “liked” they are, it is our job to instill confidence in them so they don’t define their self worth by what others think of them.

    This books gives parents practical + actionable advice on exactly how raising strong girls is about teaching girls to stand up for themselves while being strong, confident + learning to build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

    Katie Hurley also provides parents advice on how to teach girls to deal with mean girls, how to seek out + build healthy friendships + how to express their emotions in a healthy way.

    2. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

    Strong Fathers Strong Daughters

    Raising strong girls has a lot to do with the relationship that said girls have with their fathers. The challenge is that most fathers have never been girls so it’s hard for fathers to connect to their daughters (It can be hard for mothers to connect to their daughters, too, + most of us have been girls.).

    In Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Dr. Meg Meeker, reveals the 10 secrets every dad needs to know about building or re-building strong bonds with his daughter. Building these strong bonds is the foundation for helping daughters + fathers create successful lives.

    3. Little Girls Can Be Mean

    Little Girls Can Be Mean

    When my oldest daughter was entering the 4s’ class at her preschool, I was shocked to find out from her preschool teacher that “mean” girls start as young as 4. Four! My oldest is especially sensitive so I wanted to arm her with + my other daughters with what it takes to stand up against bullying.

    Little Girls Can Be Mean provides you with the four steps you can take to bully-proof girls starting in the early grades (for me it started in Pre-K) such as elementary school.

    The great thing about tackling the issue of bullying in this book is it covers bullying for girls + bullying at young ages rather than with older girls. The book provides actionable strategies young girls can use to stand up for themselves when they are being intimidated, bullied + disrespected.

    While the focus of the book is on helping girls deal with bullying at a young age, you just might pick up a strategy or two on dealing with “mean moms.” Some things + people never change, right?

    4. Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    Growing up in Florida, I was surrounded by Disney. As I reached adulthood, I began to realize that Disney does girls a HUGE injustice by implanting thoughts such as, “One day, your Prince Charming will come along.”

    It creates a fantasy + fairytale mindset that is often far from reality. Now that I have three daughters, my focus is on raising strong girls that can stand on their own two feet — whatever way that looks for them — without a man, with a man, wearing a tiara or wearing a football helmet.

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter weighs the pros + cons of raising girls in a binary gender society. The biggest takeaway with this book is that we should just let our daughters be whoever it is they want to be.

    If she wants to don the princess dress + be girly, then that is A-okay. If she wants to roll in the mud + wear a dinosaur dress then that is A-okay, too. If she wants to wear a princess dress while rolling in the mud, then so be it!

    This book also dismisses the mindset that girls are all sugar + spice + everything nice mentality. It delves into the thought process that our society has about how important outer beauty + how to focus on inner beauty instead.

    5. What I Told My Daughter

    What I Told My Daughter

    This book screams Girl Power! It is a compilation of reflections from women leaders in politics, sports, business, academia + the arts. Strong + confident women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Laura Bush + Madeline Albright.

    These women lead by example for their daughters + provide their best advice in what they told or showed their daughters about life lessons in leadership, courage + empathy.

    What I Told My Daughter is a series of essays written from the perspective of the celebrities + women leaders. They each discuss the life lesson they taught their daughter(s) + how they went about doing it.

    You don’t have to be a celebrity or a power-leader to take away some great life lessons that you can share with your own daughter.

    6. Enough As She Is

    Enough As She Is

    While girls are outpacing boys in areas such as college enrollment + GPAs, girls are more anxious + stressed out than ever before. Many girls feel that no matter how successful they are that they just aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, popular enough, successful enough or thin enough for the world in which they live.

    Enough As She Is uses case studies + in-depth research to help parents give their daughters the necessary tools to become healthy, happy + fulfilled women that reject the pressure of becoming a supergirl + how to overcome the stress that society places on them.

    I remember being scared to death of turning 30, but my 30s turned out to be a time in my life when I finally felt comfortable in my own skin, didn’t care what other people thought of me + truly lived life on my own terms. If I had read this book or had a mother that read this book, I might have been able to get there way before I turned 30.

    By the way, my 40s aren’t looking so bad either đŸ™‚

    7. Odd Girl Out

    Odd Girl Out

    Boy bullies tend to push + shove. Maybe even punch + slap. They come at it from more of a physical side than girls. Girl bullies punch + strike with emotional abuse.

    Odd Girl Out reveals the hidden + dark side of girl bullying in our culture. This includes social media bullying online. The author arms parents with information to recognize the signs of social media bullying or girl bullying in general + provides ways to overcome it.

    8. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls combines the world of make believe with reality. Each story is about a true strong woman but is told as a fairtytale. This is a lead by example book for raising strong girls.

    The book includes 100 stories illustrating the lives of extraordinary women with the likes of Amelia Earhart, Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Cleopatra + Marie Curie. The illustrators of the book are 60 women. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a book for girls written about girls (past + present) by girls + illustrated by girls.

    It is a bit more for younger girls than it is for adolescent or teenage girls. Much like the fairytales from Disney, the book has engaging stories while teaching life lessons. It is the perfect book for bedtime stories.

    9. How to Mother a Successful Daughter

    How to Mother a Successful Daughter

    All any of us want as parents is to have happy, healthy + successful daughters. Success can look drastically different from one daughter to another.

    How to Mother a Successful Daughter delves into the steps you can take as a mother to help your daughter overcome the stress, pressure + anxiety that societal pressures put on her to build a successful life in her own eyes.

    As mothers, we lead a lot as example for our daughters. We have to model the behaviors that we want our daughters to exhibit. We definitely have an influence on whether those behaviors are healthy ones or not. The focus of this book is the dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship + how mothers can have a positive influence on their daughters.

    10. Strong is the New Pretty

    Strong is the New Pretty

    You know what they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So true. What is pretty to me may not be pretty to you. What is pretty to you may not be pretty to me.

    Strong is the New Pretty is a photo book that depicts girls just being themselves in all sorts of different outfits + situations. It debunks the myth that girls have to look or act a certain way to be pretty, to be accepted or to be liked.

    The 175 photographs depict that raising strong girls is all about fostering the beauty that is on the inside + that what is beautiful on the outside is a strong + confident girl.

    Raising strong girls is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough process but you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous resources available to you, Mama, so you can raise strong + confident girls that are going to do great things for this world.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    A Girl Mom + A Girl Review of When I Grow Up by Jon Hales

    We received our copy of When I Grow Up by Jon Hales. The book is about a young girl who is trying to complete a writing assignment for her favorite teacher on what she wants to be when she grows up.

    It’s an imaginative tale that takes you on a journey of exploration of the mind of a young girl in trying to figure out life (to some extent).

    I read it with my oldest, who is 5.5. Here’s what she + I thought of the book.

    What We Loved

    First + foremost, we loved, loved, loved that it rhymed. I was only a few sentences into reading the book to her when she piped up with, “It rhymes!”

    She is learning to read so she can read books herself but this particular book is a little above her reading level to read on her own. A quick divert as to why I was reading it to her đŸ™‚

    Another thing I loved about the book is that the narrator + main character of the book is a girl. I think it’s important to have strong female characters in books for girls to emulate.

    I think it is important for boys to see strong female characters in books, too, so that they understand that girls are strong. Girls are humans. Girls have goals, wants + needs, just like them.

    The third thing we loved is the creativity. The book takes you on an imagination journey. The girl in the book has to use her imagination to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up so she can complete a writing assignment for her class.

    And quite the imagination she has! She comes up with some fantastic job options like Alien Hunter!

    Another great thing about the book is the illustrations. At some point, my almost 4-year-old wandered over to read the book with us. Both girls were fascinated by the illustrations of the story.

    My oldest enjoyed the book so much that when we reached the end she asked me to read it again (which we did two more times in a row). On the third ending, she asked if there was another book!

    Finally, I also enjoyed that the main character of the book is completing an assignment for her favorite teacher. She talks about how great her teacher is + the reasons why she thinks he is a great teacher.

    I think this important for a couple of different reasons. It shows kids that teachers are people, too, + that teaching style has a lot to do with how kids learn + relate to the material.

    The girl speaks highly of her teacher even though his teaching style + interaction with the students is “different” from other teachers. The girl deems it important to take the assignment seriously because she wants, in a sense, to “please” her teacher by providing him with the answer to what it is she wants to be when she grows up.

    She learns from the teacher that it is OK to not have everything in life figured out yet. That he too doesn’t always have all the answers. This is a great lesson for people of ALL ages.

    What We Didn’t Love

    I don’t see any bad or negative things to say about the book. If I had anything to say about it, I would say that I wish my daughter could read it on her own but that has nothing to do with the author or the book.

    She’s getting there. She’s just not there yet.

    Like I said before, my girls really enjoyed the book from the story itself to the illustrations + wanted to read it over + over again.

    Maybe, there will be a sequel đŸ™‚

    Grade

    We definitely give When I Grow Up by Jon Hales an A+. It allows the kids to explore with their imaginations + creativity. It really takes you on a journey through the mind of a young girl who is trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. And it takes you on this journey with a creative storyline + amazing illustrations.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    A Girl Mom Review of Clever Count Photo Book

    Our copy of Clever Count Photo Book from Clever Publishing landed in our mailbox yesterday. I opened it this morning to share with my girls before my oldest went off to school.

    There is so much to love about this book that I am not even sure where to begin! I will admit, though, that my first impression was that the pages are way too busy with pictures, but…wait for it…

    Teaches Numbers + Colors

    While the main focus of the book is to teach numbers + counting, secondary, it teaches colors. Each page is dedicated to counting + to a color.

    So, Page 1 is red. They count from 1-10. Both pages are full with items that are red.

    Scavenger Hunt

    The count from 1-10 also associates with the objects on the page so it’s like a scavenger hunt for counting.

    Find the 1 red drum.

    Find the 2 red planes.

    Find the 3 red roses.

    And the counting goes up from there to 10.

    If your kids receive Highlights Magazine (my kids do + they LOVE it) then it is a little like those pages where they have to find 14 balloons (or whatever) in the picture.

    My girls spent all morning going through the pages of the book.

    Size

    The size of the book is perfect for smaller kids, ages 0-3. It’s larger than a standard book but is not as small as a lot of toddler books. The size helps them hold onto it in their laps while they work through the pages.

    Plus, the large pages make it possible to see the objects, numbers + the color words that are on the pages.

    Soft Cover

    While it is a board book on the outside, it has a bit of a cushy cover. This is a nice feature in a toddler book because, well, let’s face it, they throw it, use it to hit their sister + when they swing it around + hit themselves with it, it doesn’t hurt.

    Even I thought, oh, it feels so nice + soft on the outside.

    Grade

    Overall, I give the Clever Count book an A. My girls absolutely love it. The 1 + 3-year-olds wanted me to read it to them. Then, the 3-year-old went through it several times on her own (She doesn’t read yet, but she can identify colors, objects + some of her numbers + letters.).

    It’s a nice big, bright, colorful book that is a great tool for teaching colors, numbers, counting + objects to your toddlers.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    A Girl Mom Review of Hello Fresh

    I’m all about making my life easier. It’s why I use Instacart for Aldi for my weekly grocery shipping, Honest Co. diaper + wipes subscription, Kids on 45th for girls’ clothing, Amazon Prime subscription for overnight pull-ups + Amazon Prime in general.

    If it can’t be delivered to my door, I’m pretty convinced that I don’t want it or need it. I mean, dragging three small kids through any store is not my idea of a good time.

    I love to cook (or at least I did prior to doing it while three kiddos hang from me, climb me + whine at me while I’m doing it) + we mostly eat at home.

    We tried Sun Basket in the past so I thought that I would give Hello Fresh a shot. I received my first box + cooked my first meals.

    Here is what I thought.

    What I Loved

    The menu choices are amazing. So amazing that I had a hard time choosing the two meals I wanted for the week!

    (I ended up with a Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti + Cheesy Chicken Fajitas.)

    We’re going away for Spring Break so I knew ahead of time that I would want to skip that week. I LOVE, LOVE. LOVE that Hello Fresh allows you to skip weeks ahead of time so you don’t have to wait to the week before to skip your box.

    Ditto on choosing your menu. You can choose your menu options weeks ahead of time so that you don’t have to wait until the week before to decide. I’m a planner at heart so I like knowing far advance rather than choosing just a few days before my box ships.

    (You always have the option of making changes, though.)

    The food is delicious. Every single member (all 5 of us) ate it (with minimal complaining from the 3-year-old). The ingredients themselves were nice (the lemons, the fresh basil, etc.).

    I thought the pricing was pretty good, too. I had a coupon so I ended up with $80 off of four weeks worth of meals (+ I opted for two meals per week). For two meals per week, the cost was about $40 dollars so cheaper than eating out even one time.

    Without the coupon, the pricing would have been roughly $60 for the two meals so still cheaper than us eating out one time.

    What I Didn’t Love

    The delivery driver left the box in the middle of our driveway. I’m not sure if the drivers are contracted or actually work for Hello Fresh but I didn’t know the box had arrived until I walked out to get my oldest daughter from the bus + it was sitting in the middle of our driveway.

    The chicken (4 packets) comes sealed in bags. The bags leaked all over the bottom shelf of the fridge, including all over the bottom of the paper bags that held all of the ingredients for the recipes.

    Ewwwwww…so with a baby in one arm I had to clean up the ewwwwwy-gooey mess that chicken juice makes. The meat we received from Sun Basket was sealed in similar bags but never leaked so I wasn’t prepared for this.

    I wasn’t in love with the packaging in general. The individual packaging of the Sun Basket ingredients was more recyclable than that of Hello Fresh. The outside packaging + cooler packs, however, were similar in being recyclable.

    While I found the prep to be faster + easier than Sun Basket, I did not find the prep to be fast + easy. The prep time said something like 5 minutes + it took me a lot longer than 5 minutes to prep.

    Finally, Hello Fresh offers family meals, which end up costing you more ($5.99 per person) so you have to be careful about choosing those price wise. While $5.99 for one person doesn’t equate to a lot of money, when it’s for a family of 5, it’s almost $30 extra for one meal!

    Grade

    Say yes to Hello Fresh! Overall, I give it an A. I think all of the positives of Hello Fresh definitely outweigh the negatives.

    If you use my link to try out Hello Fresh, you save $40 + I get $20.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    A Girl Mom Review of Imperfect Produce + Save $10

    We have been using Imperfect Produce for a couple of months now. My husband thinks it is the “bees knees.” I’m going to tell you what I think of it but first let me give you an overview of what Imperfect Produce is, in case you’re not familiar with it.

    What is Imperfect Produce

    I think of Imperfect Produce as an advocate for the different, ugly + otherwise tossed away fruits + veggies of the world combined as a subscription box (+ I have to say that I LOVE subscriptions!).

    You can choose the size + type of subscription box you want to receive. Once a week, you customize the box + each Friday the box lands on your doorstep.

    Now that we have that out of the way, this is what I think about Imperfect Produce.

    What I Love

    I love that I am able to receive + use fruits + veggies that would normally become part of the landfill just because they are a little bog or a little small or not the right shape to make it into the produce section of a store.

    I adore that I can customize it for the week. It allows me to pick + choose what I can use + what my family is likely to eat. It helps me to plan my menu for the week.

    It also makes me happy that it arrives on my doorstep + I don’t have to step foot in a store. (Although, to be totally transparent, I don’t step foot in a grocery store for my weekly groceries, either. I use Instacart for Aldi.)

    The taste of the fruits + veggies is so much better than what we buy in the store. I am not sure what it is but it’s true.

    We are also able to get our hot little hands on stuff that I don’t always see in the grocery store, like purple potatoes (yum-my).

    Finally, the pricing is pretty good. We mostly choose organic for our box, which can be pretty expensive in the stores. I find that the pricing with
    Imperfect Produce is comparable or less expensive than most grocery stores.

    What I Don’t Love

    My kids + I had expectations of funny shaped fruits + veggies. Heart shapes. Veggies twisted like pretzels. You get the idea. To our dismay, we have not received one funny shaped fruit or veggie yet.

    This may change as the seasons change but I also wish the fruit variety choices were a bit more, at least for the fruits we eat. We’ve been able to get blueberries but no strawberries or raspberries or blackberries. The veggie choices seem to be abundant but I don’t feel like the fruit choices are.

    Grade

    I give Imperfect Produce an A-. The positives definitely outweigh the things we don’t love about Imperfect Produce so we will definitely continue to use it as a way to conveniently receive delicious tasting fruits + veggies. If you give it a try with my link you save $10.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    The Likeness Book Review

    The Likeness is a novel by the same author as Into the Woods (which I read eons ago), Tana French. I had this book sitting in my night table drawer for I don’t know how long.

    I was in between books for book club so I pulled it out one night + started reading it.

    It pulled me right in!

    The story is about an undercover detective that has taken on a desk job until she is drawn back into the undercover world after a college girl using her old undercover alias’s name is found dead in a dilapidated cottage in the country.

    Not only is the college girl using the detective’s old undercover name but the dead girl is a dead ringer for the detective. Hence, the name The Likeness.

    The detective ends up going undercover as the dead girl (because the police do not announce she is dead but instead say she was attacked + injured) to try to figure out who is responsible for the murder.

    What I Loved

    The story involves the same lead character as Into the Woods but it is two separate cases/story lines so I didn’t have to remember what actually happened in Into the Woods to read (+ thoroughly enjoy) this book.

    I also love that the main character is a woman detective. This is not the only author that has strong woman detective characters that I enjoy. Sue Grafton has a PI main character, Kinsey Milhone, that I also love.

    This book also has a BIG twist ending. I love a good twist ending.

    What I Didn’t Love

    The book is pretty long. It has over 500 pages. While it was a page turner + I enjoyed reading it, I think it could have been just as good with less than 500 pages.

    It creeped me out at the beginning so I could only read it at night when my husband was home. I had to start putting my contact case + solution on my nightside table so I didn’t have to get up to take them out before going to sleep.

    It became less creepy as the story went on but about the first half of the book put me on high alert.

    Grade

    I give this book an A + I highly recommend it. If you are a fan of Into the Woods or true crime type novels, then this book should be on your bookshelf (or at least your reading list).

    I even convinced my Moms’ Book Club to read it so it’s our book club book for May.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    Shenandoah Discovery Museum Mom Review

    My cousin’s daughter recently had her 7th Birthday Party at the Shenandoah Discovery Museum. We live about an hour and a half from there but we usually go out for birthday parties for the kids + to visit.

    What I Loved

    My first impression of the museum from the outside was, “What a neat place!” It looks like it’s an old fire station that was converted into a museum. It is the end unit of a building with more than one business now but there is a large window garage door that makes up almost the entire front lobby of the museum.

    On the side of the building is a painted mural. It gives off a fun, vibrant + artsy vibe.

    It’s location, in the middle of downtown Winchester, is a special treat. There is plenty to do in the historic area. Pubs, restaurants, museums, historic homes + more are within walking distance to the museum. Bonus points because you can walk the area easily.

    The inside of the museum is a kid wonderland. It is three floors of activities. The second floor also has two or three party rooms dispersed throughout the activities.

    My girls (5, 3, and 1) really seemed to enjoy the activities. They had indoor climbing structures, an ambulance, a hut that you can crawl through + sit inside of + arts + crafts + so much more!

    They also had a small soft-play area for younger kids.

    In the lobby is a huge maze-like structure. There is likely a better name for this but it’s not coming to me at the moment. It’s not a maze that you can walk through but it has different moving parts that my girls really enjoyed watching on the way out.

    What I Didn’t Love

    I wish there was more activities for the 1-year-old. She enjoyed the soft-play area for some time but it did not entertain her for the entire time we were there. She’s also not walking yet so she wanted to crawl around on the floor, which made her a target for kids + adults that were walking/running around to the various activities.

    The climbing structure/maze on the first floor was hard for my tall 3-year-old (almost 4-year-old) to climb up into. Even with her older sister + two other girls who were climbing trying to help her, she could not get past the first climb-through hole.

    I noticed that many children were having a hard time climbing it so it wasn’t just one of my kids.

    Parking was also a HUGE challenge. Street parking is free on the weekends so we eventually found street parking at a meter that was approximately one block from the museum. There is a parking lot adjacent to the museum but it was small + full.

    We used the stroller to get two of the kids from the street parking to the museum but the museum is not really set up for strollers so my husband ended up returning the stroller to the car while we were there. We carried the baby back to the truck when we left + the two older girls walked.

    Of course, there is a small shop right when you are entering + exiting the museum so my girls wanted to go through it + buy everything when we we arrived + when were leaving. It took some effort to keep them out of it because we don’t need any more trinkets (aka crap) at our house.

    Grade

    I give the museum an A. It’s definitely a unique place in a great location. Kids of all ages enjoy it + you can grab a nice lunch or enjoy other activities within walking distance from the museum.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review

    As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    This is another book that I read for my Moms’ Book Club. Where the Crawdads Sing has high ratings + fab book reviews all over the Internet + is part of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club.

    It is so wildly popular that I was like # one million (total exaggeration) on the wait list for it at the library. I put out a call to borrow a copy on our neighborhood FB page but no luck there either so I ended up buying it on Kindle.

    I say all of this to point out just how popular the book is right now.

    Overview

    The book is about a young girl, Kya, who lives in a marsh in North Carolina. Her family is extremely poor + one by one both of her parents + all of her brothers + sisters abandon her.

    The book is all about her daily life of survival. She finds ways of finding food, making money to buy her necessities + learning about the flower, fauna, animals + more that live in the marsh.

    Kya ends up fending for herself over the years until she becomes a young woman. In the end, she is accused of murdering her former lover + stands trial for it.

    What I Loved

    The book has a TOTAL twist ending, which I loved. While it is possible that I should have seen some of the ending coming, I did NOT. I really enjoyed the twist.

    What I Didn’t Love

    I did not enjoy the beginning chapters of the book. In fact, after reading the first two or three chapters I was starting to wonder how in the world this book is so popular.

    If you decide to read it, push through the first few chapters. It DOES get better.

    I also had a hard time believing, at times, that a girl that was so young could actually fend for herself. She literally lived alone in a marsh from about the age of 5 or 6 until she was a woman (+ even continued to live there as an adult).

    On one hand, I can see a “survival” mentality that would have had to kick in so that she could forage for food, live in a marsh + raise herself from a very young age. On the other hand, I have a five year old girl + cannot really imagine her actually raising herself, feeding herself, living by herself–having to completely fend for herself.

    Overall, I give the book an A. From a few chapters in, this book ended up pulling me in. It ended up being a page turner because I wanted to see what happened next.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    The Hate U Give

    Last night, I finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is technically a Young Adult novel but we read it for my book club for moms.

    The Overview

    The novel is told from the point of view of 16-year-old Starr Carter, an African-American girl living in Garden Heights, which most consider the ghetto.

    Her parents are hard-working — mom is a nurse at a clinic + her dad owns a convenient store in their neighborhood. They work hard to send all three of their kids to private school outside of their neighborhood, a primarily white school.

    One night, as Starr + her childhood friend, Khalil, are driving away from a party, they are pulled over by a white police officer. The cop ends up shooting + killing Khalil.

    The book is all about how Starr deals with witnessing the killing of her friend for the second time. She also witnessed a friend, Natasha, who was killed in a drive-by shooting when Starr + Natasha were 10-years-old.

    It’s also a book about race relations. A white officer killing a black boy. A black girl dating a white boy. Black children attending a predominantly white school + how they interact with their classmates + how their classmates interact with them.

    What I Liked

    The book was an easy read. It was a page turner so I kept turning, not wanting to put the book down, so I could find out what happened. I wanted to know if the cop was going to be charged with murdering an un-armed boy.

    I wanted to know how Starr would deal with witnessing the murder of her friend.

    I wanted to know.

    For me, it was not about what color the officer was + what color the boy was that he killed. To me, they were human beings + one of them was dead at 16 + his friend was dealing with the trauma of witnessing his death.

    For the characters of the book, however, it was about more than that. It was about race + their feelings about the fact that when there are officer-involved shootings that it’s typically a white cop + a black victim + that the white officer is never charged for a wrongdoing.

    I also liked that the book was about a strong girl character. Having three girls, I am always drawn to characters that are girls, that are strong + that want to make a difference in this world.

    In this novel, Starr is that girl.

    Even though she is only 16, she is wise beyond her years. She is grappling with being a teenager + with being a black teenager in this world. She struggles with making the right choices + decisions + for the most part she does the right thing throughout the novel.

    What I Didn’t Like

    I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book. Angie maybe could have wrapped it up in fewer pages but maybe not.

    I think she did leave some things hanging, though. Maybe she’s planning a sequel or maybe she just forgot to tie up some loose ends.

    Book Grade

    Overall, I give this book an A. My kids are too young right now but I suggest this as a book for teenagers to read, especially girls. I think it gives an insider view of what it’s like to be a teenage girl + what it is like to be a black teenage girl.

    The author does a good job of revealing to other teenage girls that may be reading the novel that they are not alone. That everyone feels self conscious at times. That everyone feels uncomfortable in certain situations + that they are not the only ones dealing with these feelings + problems.

    Next on my list of reads, Where the Crawdads Sing.

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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    My MoM Group Cooking Class Experience

    We have a huge + active Mom group for our neighborhood. We’re the MoMs of Mantua.

    Throughout the year, we have events just for moms, for the kids + for couples.

    Wednesday night, we had a MoMs cooking class at a local cooking school — Culinaria in Vienna, VA.

    What I Loved

    I had expectations of what the night would be like + I was wrong on many accounts. The first of which is that we would be doing the cooking as we learned.

    In an unexpected surprise, the chef prepared the entire meal + his assistants served us wine, bread, the appetizer, the main course + the dessert.

    I LOVED that he taught us how to make each item, gave us tips + answered our questions + we didn’t have to cook one thing! He was very down to earth, easy to follow + easy to talk with.

    They did give us the recipes to take home with us, though, so we can prepare them ourselves.

    What I Wish Was Different

    The setup was perfect for learning from the chef but not so great for interacting + mingling with the other moms at the event.

    We sat at a counter facing the chef + the kitchen. All 20+ of us were sitting in a straight line along the counter so we could really only talk with the two people sitting on either side of us

    It was sort of a good + a bad setup. I realize it’s ideal for learning from + being able to watch the chef but not so great for the social aspect of the experience.

    While I did LOVE being somewhat pampered by being served delicious food + wine that I did not have to make, I sort of wish it was a hands-on event, where each of us prepared the meal as the chef instructed.

    I would have loved to prep it, package it + take it home so my husband + could have eaten it (I doubt the kids would have jumped at the menu choices even though they were delish).

    I Highly Recommend This Experience

    I highly recommend that you check out your local culinary school for this type of an experience. If you are local to Vienna, VA, definitely check out Culinaria.

    This was a private event for the MoMs of Mantua group but they also have couples cooking classes, kids cooking classes + more.

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