The Girl-Positive ­Library: Inspiring Confidence, Creativity, and ­Curiosity in Young Women

Libraries Unlimited/Teacher Ideas. Dec. 2018. 172p. bibliog. index. pap. $45. ISBN 9781440860638.
This well-researched, straightforward work offers librarians guidance in reading, critiquing, and recommending YA books that advance positive and accurate representation of girls and young women. Harlan discusses complex issues: character archetypes that define norms of adolescent behavior, bodily autonomy and sex positivity, and the importance of reading YA fiction through a lens of intersectional feminism. Less of a programming handbook and more of a social critique, the text provides an accessible and thorough foundation for meaningful conversations surrounding representations of girlhood in media, particularly novels and film. About half of the work is comprised of in-depth reviews of YA fiction published in the last eight to 10 years. While these titles may feel dated with time, Harlan’s meticulous review process will remain a strong example of how to dig deep into new releases and identify and question problematic narratives. The short activities section features simple but engaging ways to help patrons reflect on relevant issues.
VERDICT Essential reading for librarians seeking to develop YA collections with care and purpose in order to promote social awareness and change

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