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10 Excellent Books Empowering Teen Girls In 2020

For one of the most fragile times in a woman’s life, some motivation & empowerment is needed

Books are still a powerful tool to empower young women around the world. With complex issues that teenage girls are experiencing for the first time, some encouragement is necessary.

These books provide valuable lessons and self-care practices through moving stories. By the end, the teen that you know will feel more confident about her present and future self.

#1 Girls Who Run the World by Diana Kapp

An empowering book for adolescent girls: Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business is a compilation of inspiring and empowering stories of women who refused to take no for an answer and built businesses including Glossier, Spanx, and Rent the Runway.

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#2 I LOVE MYSELF: Affirmations For A Happy Life by Christine Scott-Hudson MA MFT


Girls will learn to practice their self-love affirmations in the mirror. They will practice saying “I love you.” They will be reminded that they are worthy of love right now, whether anyone else sees it yet, or not. Their worth is independent upon other people recognizing it. It will clearly tell them to look deeply into their own eyes, and remind themselves that they are unique and irreplaceable, and they will learn early to love themselves until the end of time!

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#3 Be that Unicorn. Find your Magic. Live your Truth. Share your Shine. by Jenny Block

That Unicorn is the best you. That Unicorn is a glittery, rainbow-maned metaphor for one’s joyful self…the kind of person we are all drawn to. That Unicorn is you. My mom has always said that people are drawn to me because I make everyone feel good about themselves. Throughout my life, people have echoed that sentiment. It’s the thing I love about myself the most: I’m the big sister, the BFF, the mom, the cheerleader, the coach…“the little unicorn that could” who everyone deserves.

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#4 The Twelve Gifts of Birth by Charlene Costanzo

The Twelve Gifts of Birth is a tender yet empowering tale that speaks to the heart as it encourages girls and women to recognize and use their inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith. It is especially meaningful and valuable for adolescents.

The Twelve Gifts of Birth is a fable I first wrote for my own daughters when they were teenagers and I wanted them to always remember that they have powerful resources within them to face every life challenge and make the most of every opportunity that comes into their lives, for all the years of their lives. After fashioning the story into a hand-made book for them, I realized that every child needs to hear, and deserves to hear, about their natural gifts and talents and their worth. So I published the book.

With an empowering message expressed in just 500 words, The Twelve Gifts of Birth can be read often to enrich a girl’s sense of herself, especially her worthiness and dignity. Every girl can benefit by being reminded that she is truly gifted and talented and that she can make a difference in the world by using her gifts and talents and by following her dreams

The Twelve Gifts of Birth has been the basis for several program designed to help girls transition from middle school to high school, a time when self-worth diminishes for so many girls. (StAR and GEMS)

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#5 The Starless Girl by Liz Delton

The Starless Girl embarks on a journey to a new realm, a world of magic, of knights and mages, of temples and castles: a place where Kira Savage must find her true self. A journey to find her strength, her past, and her self.

Thrust into a strange new world of magic, Kira must learn how to survive in this place and learn how to use her newfound magic to protect herself and those around her. Forced to hide her true identity, Kira must forge friendships and alliances, and hone her new magic skills–because something isn’t right in the Realm of Camellia, and she might be the only person who can save the realm.”

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#6 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak was a frequent independent reading choice for my freshman literature students, and it’s not hard to see why.This young adult novel about finding one’s voice, even after all seems lost, perfectly captures the feeling of isolation that high school brings for so many teenage girls. But there is hope for the main character, Melinda, who breaks her silence in an unexpected way.

Those who wrestle with issues of identity, traumatic experiences, and self-expression will identify with and cheer for the main character through her struggles and triumphs during her traumatic freshman year.”

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#7 Big Life Journal

While this may not technically be the kind of book you’re looking for, hear me out! Big Life Journal is a combination of inspiring quotes, motivational messages, and the opportunity for adolescent girls to sort through their thoughts. It asks insightful questions about their interests, life goals, self-confidence, and more. Every colorful page is packed with uplifting messages and space for the reader to express themselves.

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#8 What to Expect when having Expectations by Ben Winter

The only reason anyone gets upset is because an expectation hasn’t been met. Most young women (and all people) get upset for what seems to be no reason. What they don’t realize is that they had an expectation, realized or not, and it is likely completely unreasonable. But that’s for them to explore.

This book walks them through where expectations come from, why we have them, and what to do when having one. Once you have control of your expectations and how to handle them, life becomes so much easier and empowering.”

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#9 A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This eloquent and moving narrative set in the early 1900’s, draws us into the life of a family, beginning when it’s main character, Francie, is 11 years old. Throughout the family’s struggles with poverty, and the father’s frequent unemployment and alcoholism – this story honors the complexity of familial relationships with their inherent aspects of love, disappointment, hope, devotion, denial, and loss. Francie’s ability to see things as they are, despite the minimization and denials of her reality by adults, is what gives this story its freshness, honesty and appeal. We follow Francie, as she grows into a strong, intelligent, and independent young woman who strives for a better life for herself – one that she must figure out and forge on her own. Like the tree that grew in dismal surroundings in her poor neighborhood as a child, Francie too overcomes adversity to grow and flourish – reminding us that our surroundings and early life experiences do not have to determine the rest of our lives. It is a wonderful story of the resiliency and triumph of the human spirit.

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#10 Helen by Beverly Westman

As Helen Marshall grows up the eldest in her family, she is mentored by her mother who talks to her often about becoming a woman while preparing her for the life that lies ahead of her. But when Helen is promised at a young age to marry a local man, Gustav Krueger, she is overwhelmed by an agonizing fear of the unknown. In this historical novel, a determined girl betrothed to a local man at a young age begins a journey into the unknown where she must face many challenges she never expected.

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Contributors to this article
Brian Weisfeld from The Startup Squad

Christine Scott-Hudson from Create Your Life Studio

Jenny Block from Be That Unicorn

Charlene Costanzo from CharleneCostanzo

Liz Delton from LizDelton

Leslie Kiel from USInsuranceAgents

Erin Ford from Hotels4Teams

Ben Winter from SuccessImprov

Shirley Porter from Choosing Therapy

Courtney Vasquez from Lavidge

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