In the spirit of book suggestions, I wanted to create a list of books that help support young girls’ social-emotional development. It is of course my hope to change the minds of men and women who believe that one gender is inferior to another, but I also believe that it is essential to foster a strong social-emotional intelligence in young girls in order to respond to the bigotries that she may face.
Emotional intelligence helps us in understanding ourselves, our behaviors, and our feelings in relation to others. Having a strong emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with having a healthy amount of self-esteem. Like any intelligence, emotional intelligence needs to be cultivated; if nurtured properly, a person will positively interact with others in a sincere and confident way. Although all girls face some level of gender discrimination, the hope is that with an intact self-worth she may be able to discount the negative attitude or behavior.
The following are books that I have used with young girls (K-5). Together, they emphasize internal beauty, empathy, confidence, individuality, diversity, kindness, and inclusion. I welcome suggestions for other children’s books that may be helpful in fostering social-emotional development in girls.
- My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
- Happy to be Nappy by Bell Hooks
- Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
- The Color of Us by Karen Katz
- Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
- Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch
- Skin Again by Bell Hooks
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
- Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by Bebe Campbell
- Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
- Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
- I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont