Ambitious Girl

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Ambitious Girl Book Poster Image
Motivating words and pictures reinforce drive, big goals.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Notable ambitious women in history are in the background on some pages to offer context. Strong message of ways to handle outside criticism and other social-emotional lessons.

Positive Messages

Don't let the world define you or tell you that you are too much. Believe in yourself, and support others to do the same. 

Positive Role Models

There's a lot of family and community support to be herself and speak up. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ambitious Girl, by Meena Harris (Kamala and Maya's Big Idea), is packed with inspiring words and colorful images, all encouraging girls not to be boxed in by those who say their dreams, voice, and determination are "too much." The young girl narrator and main character mentions the strong, ambitious women in her family, and the author's note says that her aunt, Vice President Kamala Harris, was one of those women. In rhyming verses, she tells readers that other people's words can hurt but they can also motivate, an important acknowledgement that being ambitious can be tough but rewarding.

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What's the story?

In AMBITIOUS GIRL, a young girl watches as a woman is called "too assertive" and "too confident" and "too loud," then explores how to use the words designed to silence her as motivation instead. The confident young girl says that she will take up space, be persistent, and not be afraid to use her voice, acknowledging that these detractors exist but reframing their words to be empowering.

Is it any good?

This inspiring book reminds readers that being told they're too much can be empowering, and to wear those words with pride. It's an important distinction, to use the naysayers as motivation rather than criticism, and makes this an excellent book to read aloud and talk about. Author Meena Harris talks about having purpose and power, and Included with a motivating message that encourages young people to speak up is the reminder that they are not "too much" of anything and should take up space in this world. The vibrant images in Ambitious Girl energize readers right along with the words, celebrating hard work and persistence in the face of being told to be less.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the ways the Ambitious Girl has been told she's too much, and how she reacts. Have you ever been told something like that? How did it make you feel?

  • How can communities support kids' ambition?

  • What other books have you read about kids who speak up and speak out? Which are your favorites?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love empowering books

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