My love of books began at a very early age. I was only four years old, but I was devouring the pages of children’s books at a pace that was impossible for my poor parents to maintain. To this day, I love a book’s ability to transport me to a different place and time, to move me emotionally and to inspire and motivate me. I am a strong believer that reading makes you smarter, more creative, and stronger — just the qualities we all want to impart on our daughters. Below are five empowering books that your daughter needs to read right now.
If your daughter is a toddler…
"Rosie Revere Engineer" by Andrea Beaty
If you want to encourage your young daughter to not be afraid to dream big, take chances and get her hands dirty, "Rosie Revere Engineer" is the perfect book. This is the story of a young girl who wishes to be an engineer when she grows up and spends her free time inventing and building gadgets. When Rosie’s aunt comes to visit, she puts her ingenuity to use by building a contraption to help her aunt fly. Although the contraption ultimately does not work, Rosie learns a valuable lesson about the value of never giving up.
If your daughter is a tween…
"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L’Engle
This was required reading when I was in sixth grade and should continue to be required for all tweens. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a sci-fi classic in which the protagonist, Meg Murry, has to use her math skills to help save her scientist family. She travels through space and time, visits different planets and tackles some hard themes about conformity and the full range of the human experience. Bonus: a film adaptation of "A Wrinkle in Time" starring Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey is coming to theaters next year!
If your daughter is a teenager…
"I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World" by Malala Yousafzai
Teenagers often feel powerless. They feel like their voices aren’t heard and that they can’t effect real change. "I Am Malala" is the incredible story of how one Pakistani teenager courageously stood up to unspeakable injustice and became a voice and advocate for the education rights of all women and girls. Because of her work, Malala is the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and a shining example of how standing up for what’s right can change the world.
If your daughter is starting her first job…
"What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know" by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey
Entering the professional world can be challenging, particularly for women. While keeping our heads down and working hard are rewarded in academic settings, the workplace brings a whole new set of rules around which women must maneuver in order to move ahead. "What Works for Women at Work" is a comprehensive guide to how to navigate the professional politics of being a working woman in today’s workplace.
If your daughter is looking to become empowered AND laugh…
"Bossypants" by Tina Fey
I’ve read this book too many times to count, and I always laugh as if it was the first time. In her hilarious autobiography, Tina Fey recounts how she’s managed to succeed in the male-dominated world of comedy and entertainment, how she’s juggled motherhood and growing professional success, how she’s relied on strong female friendships and how being bossy isn’t a bad thing. This is a must read for anyone who likes to laugh.
Natalia M. Marulanda is a former practicing attorney, currently working as a Women’s Initiative Manager at a law firm in New York City. She also runs The Girl Power Code, a blog that focuses on empowering women in the workplace.