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100 Books for Girls to Grow On


100 Books for Girls to Grow On

100 BOOKS FOR GIRLS TO GROW ON is the must-have guide for children's reading groups. Aimed largely at girls, but more than suitable for boys as well, 100 BOOKS is an excellent source for recommendations in children's literature.  

The book was written by Shireen Dodson, whose THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB inspired thousands of such groups across the country, from her personal experience in picking books for her own mother-daughter club to read. Dodson mines the almost endless shelves of children's and young-adult literature and gleans the best of the lot for her list. Selected with care, each of the titles she presents is a worthy read for both children and adults.

Dodson's choices are most notable for their diversity. Though mostly stories about girls, Dodson does her readers a service by not limiting herself to female heroines. Titles such as DOGSONG by Gary Paulsen and THE OUTSIDERS by S. E. Hinton are told from a male point of view. Dodson includes books from a wide cultural spectrum, most especially stories about African-Americans. HABIBI by Naomi Shihab Nye is about a 14-year-old half-American half-Arab girl who moves from Missouri to Jerusalem. MAIZON AT BLUE HILL by Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of a young girl who becomes one of only 5 black students at a boarding school. Some of the books are appropriate for younger readers and some are for older ones; and choices such as THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM, LILY'S CROSSING, and RED SCARF GIRL run the gamut of genres --- from sci-fi and fantasy to historical novels to nonfiction.  

For each selection, Dodson offers a short synopsis, estimated reading time, and a brief list of themes. She also includes a list of discussion questions. These are in-depth questions, aimed at getting children and parents to talk about the book. They go beyond the "what happened" questions frequently found in reading guides and instead ask readers to take a thoughtful look at why things happen in the book as they do, how the characters make the choices they do, and what the consequences of those choices are. They inspire readers (both children and adults) to relate their own lives to the books --- to discover what is universal in great works of literature. Dodson concludes each book's entry with author information, "Beyond the Book" suggestions for activities that tie in with the story, and then a list of other books to try on similar topics or by the same author.

Whether your preteen daughter (or son) is in a reading group or not, 100 BOOKS FOR GIRLS TO GROW ON is a welcome addition to any family library. Beyond giving you great titles to read, Dodson's reading guides will inspire what may be some of the best and most revealing discussions you'll ever have with your children.  

Reviewed by Liz Keuffer on January 20, 2011

100 Books for Girls to Grow On
by Shireen Dodson

  • Publication Date: September 1, 1998
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0060957182
  • ISBN-13: 9780060957186