Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution Book Poster Image
Empowering practical guide to becoming a social activist.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

In addition to the wealth of practical information Girls Resist!,  the author has added a page of "Takeaways" at the end of each chapter that sum up the main points, several brief "Case Studies" of movements like Black Lives Matter, a "Resistance Reading List," and a "Marginalized Identities Mini-Glossary" that includes both familiar names (Hispanic) and a number of possibly not-so-familiar identities for sexual orientation (cisgender) and people with disabilities (Neurodiverse/Neurodivergent). 

Positive Messages

Girls have the power to change their communities and the world.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Examples of and quotes from inspiring women (Alice Walker, Michelle Obama, and Noble Peace Prize winner Jody Williams) sprinkled throughout, but the focus is on showing readers how they can become positive role models.

Violence

Brief discussion of a "rape culture" that normalizes sexual violence.

Sex

Brief discussion of "hyper sexualization" (taken to the extreme, the belief that a girl's worth is determined by her looks). Mention of a program that makes condoms available to teens. The author mentions a talk line she helped set up for women who'd had abortions and needed to talk with a supportive person.

Language

"Damn" used in the context of one section's tips ("5 Tips for  Damn Effective Digital Organizing").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kaelyn Rich's Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution is a practical, highly detailed how-to for girls who want to be part of (or lead) a grassroots social justice campaign. The book covers everything from how to pick a cause and create a campaign plan to organizing a rally, lobbying officials, writing presses releases, finding volunteers, and running effective meetings. A must read for every teen activist.

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What's the story?

Each chapter of GIRLS RESIST! offers readers not only a call to action but also detailed ideas and tips for achieving their goals. "Creating (and Crushing) Your First Campaign Plan" shows how to pick a cause and then find the people and resources they'll need to get started. "Protesters, Petitions, and Taking Action" outlines tactics such as marches, rallies, petitions, digital organizing, and lobbying. In "Media, Messaging, and Talking the Talk," readers learn about creating a slogan, writing and submitting press releases, and tips for doing a great interview. Since every campaign needs money, there's a chapter entitled "Fundraise for the Girl Revolution."  How to enlist and support volunteers, run effective meetings, and talk to parents about about their cause are covered in "Group Dynamics and Rallying Your Troops." Unsure how to put words into action? There's a chapter on "Speaking Up and Standing With." Finally, "Caring for Yourself and Your Community" advises readers on how to give their minds and bodies what they'll need (unplug, take a nap) to be strong and effective advocates for their cause. 

Is it any good?

This inspiring and empowering how-to guide girls who want to become involved in a cause (or are already involved) the tools they'll need to succeed. The sheer volume of information in Girls Resist! may seem overwhelming at first glance, but the author has organized the material into accessible reader-friendly chapters filled with step-by-step instructions, tips, examples, and takeaways.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the call to action presented in Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution. What's happening in your school or community that you think is unfair or unjust? What can you do to help?

  • If you were to volunteer with a social justice campaign, what role do you see yourself playing? 

  • Who inspires you by their lives or words to speak out against prejudice and inequality? It doesn't have to be someone famous; a friend, neighbor, or family member can be a powerful voice for social change.

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For kids who love stories and practical tips about social activism

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