Living the Confidence Code: Real Girls. Real Stories. Real Confidence.
By Mandie Caroll,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Compelling, relatable stories inspire girls to greatness.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Using girls' stories from around the world, the authors show the confidence code -- "risk more, think less, be yourself" -- in action in real girls' lives, as well as clearly marking "Confidence Building Blocks" (risk, resilience, authenticity, etc.) and "Confidence Quicksand" (fear, overthinking, stereotypes, etc.).
Girls everywhere have incredible stories and contributions to share with the world, including you! Trying, failing, and learning how to try again is a confidence building practice. Sometimes that voice in your head is holding you back. Learning to ignore it when it's wrong will help you take healthy risks. Strive to be who you really are, even if it might anger or disappoint others.
Positive Role Models
Inspiring stories of "regular" girls who've found the confidence to stand up and make change. These relatable stories include pitfalls, failures, fear, and some hard circumstances, and provide helpful suggestions for overcoming challenges both small and large. The girls come from many nations: Bali, Ethiopia, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, Brazil, the United States, and many more. American girls in the book are also Black, White, Mexican, Chinese, and so on. Disabled girls, girls with autism, and transgender and queer girls are also represented.
Violence & Scariness
The lack of girls' safety and bodily autonomy is talked about in the context of street harassment and child marriage. General descriptions of racist bullying, including pushing/shoving, and references to police brutality and murders of unarmed Black people are included. However, no graphic experiences are detailed in any of these stories.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The issue of girls having babies after being forced to marry as children is discussed, though the act of sex is implied/assumed, not described.
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Products & Purchases
One story discusses the designer basketball shoes Curry 5s and the company that sells them, Under Armour.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Living the Confidence Code: Real Girls. Real Stories. Real Confidence, by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, and JillEllyn Riley, tells the stories of 30 girls whose experiences have helped them build the confidence to do great things. This collection builds on the authors' previous book, The Confidence Code for Girls, by showing how girls find the courage to risk more, think less, and be themselves. The girls profiled are incredibly diverse: They hail from many different nations and represent a variety of ethnicities, genders, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexualities, and citizenship statuses. Girls with autism and disabled girls are also included. These young activists, photographers, feminists, entrepreneurs, scientists, and on and on also share their real and relatable struggles as they face and overcome odds small, big, and seemingly insurmountable. No graphic violence, though some stories include general descriptions of bullying, as well as references to police murders of unarmed Black people and street harassment of girls and women. Sex is implied, though not described, in stories about forced childhood marriage. Tweens and teens will find a lot of high-interest content and inspiration in this book.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
The 30 stories in LIVING THE CONFIDENCE CODE show readers how real girls have found the courage to pursue their goals, gaining confidence along the way. A short introduction covers the confidence code – "risk more, think less, be yourself" – and provides terms and definitions used throughout the book. Some girls' stories are relayed interview-style, with text bubbles that help readers make connections to other stories or give background details, and highlighted passages that demonstrate either pitfalls (called "confidence quicksand") or growth opportunities ("confidence building blocks"). A handful of profiles are captured in comic strips. The final chapter is blank, except for an invitation for readers to write their own story. A helpful "shout-outs" section lists websites related to each girl's story so readers can learn more about the issues and projects they read about.
Is It Any Good?
In this powerful collection of girls' stories of confidence-building, authors Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, and JillEllyn Riley demonstrate that there are many paths to leadership and making change. Living the Confidence Code features truly impressive girls, but their stories also cover low points, failures, or fears, as well as plain old fun information like each girl's favorite comfort food and dream destination. Readers will find it hard not to connect with at least several of the girls struggles and triumphs. The authors link aspects of each story to research-backed confidence building skills, identify potential obstacles and offer tips on how to grow from them.
The warm, conversational narration will appeal to tweens and teens, while the varied fonts on each page add interest and emphasis. Nan Lawson's grayscale-and-teal comic-strip renderings of some of the girls' stories and her decorations of all the girls' portraits lend a joyful feel to stories that sometimes cover serious topics. This valuable book definitely deserves a spot in tween and teen girls' to-be-read piles.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about which stories really stuck with them from Living the Confidence Code. Who did you relate to? How do these stories help you think about your life and experiences differently?
What are some of the concrete strategies and tools from the book that can help you or others build confidence?
The stories in this book talk frankly about topics like racism, child marriage, and street harassment, to name just a few. How do these issues (or others from the book) affect your life? What can you do to make positive change in your life, school, or community?
- Authors: Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, JillEllyn Riley
- Genre: Emotions
- Topics: Activism, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: February 23, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 10, 2021
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Books with Strong Female Characters
Books with Stories of Extraordinary Women
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