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  • Samira Sine

Just For The Children's Editor Picks: Books To Promote Healthy Body Image in Teenage girls

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

There's so much information on teens mental health and the connection to social media emerging. The messages that certain apps and social media influencers have an outsized effect on teenage girls in particular.

And Instagram is making it all much worse! Information from a leaked power point presentation from March of 2020 showed a full 32 percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. While tech companies still have too much control, as parents and educators, we have tools to help support teenage mental health.

Our book list, curated especially for teens, is one way.


“Love is a revolution” - Renee Watson.

The book is by Newbery Honor Award-winning author Renée Watson. It tells the story of 17-year-old Nala, who wants to fall in love over the summer holidays. Without any spoilers, the book is about a teenage girl of Jamaican descent who lives in a large community where folks come in all shapes, sizes and complexions. Complexities abound. In the end, the journey is not the one Nala envisions at the start of summer, but eventually she finds her own peace. We love this book for its

handling of social issues including racism, body positivity and more! Ages 13 and up!

2. "Just As You Are"-Michelle Skeen and Kelly Skeen

This book is a fun, practical guide where teens learn tools to quieten that inner critical voice that makes themselves hyper-critical and instead, discover what is truly important to them.

The book is perfect for teenagers who feel an incredible pressure to conform to current culture, a dizzying array of touched up and altered images on social media feeds and more.

Ages 12 and up!

3. Starfish:- Akemi Dawn Bowman

Starfish is a powerful and empowering novel about a young 17 year old teenage girl who struggles with being bi-racial, growing up in Nebraska. She struggles with her Asian looks at school and her suffers from self-esteem, social anxiety and certain forms of abuse. In the end, after many struggles and wrong turns, this beautiful story sees Kiko, the protagonist achieve success with unlikely friends. It has so many positive messages for young women today. This book checks Just For The Children's boxes for positive messages and positive role models. It also helps kids who have dreams, that happiness can be achieved with different kinds of support, and that some struggles need to be faced. While Kiko may face too many unfair challenges, many young teens will find her story compelling and inspiring.

Ages 13 plus!

4. Genesis Begins Again : Alicia D. Williams

Genesis Begins Again is a life-affirming story where a teenage girl living in Detroit, overcomes issues of race, abusive family life and more. Our heroine Genesis tries to sun-bleach and lemon scrub her skin to lightness but eventually finds out what really matters goes well-beyond skin deep. The author is a 2020 Newbery Honor and the 2020 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent and we give the book many props for its powerful writing that will help teenage girls today relate to the tough topics. We suggest 14 and above and guide them through the book if needed. The waters do get rough but the story rises like our heroine and many invaluable lessons can be learned.

Ages 14 and above!


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