Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices
February 9, 2021
Algonquin Young Readers
Blurb: What does a teenage girl dream about in Nigeria or New York? How does she spend her days in Mongolia, the Midwest, and the Middle East?
All around the world, girls are going to school, working, dreaming up big futures—they are soccer players and surfers, ballerinas and chess champions. Yet we know so little about their daily lives. We often hear about challenges and catastrophes in the news, and about exceptional girls who make headlines. But even though the health, education, and success of girls so often determines the future of a community, we don’t know more about what life is like for the ordinary girls, the ones living outside the headlines.
From the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia to the South Pacific, the thirty teens from twenty-seven countries in Girlhood share their own stories of growing up through diary entries and photographs, and the girls’ stories are put in context with reporting and research that helps us understand the circumstances and communities they live in. This full-color, exuberantly designed volume is a portrait of ordinary girlhood around the world, and of the world, as seen through girls’ eyes.
Masuma Ahuja’s Girlhood Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices is an interesting and enlightening exploration of teenage girls. While there are many commonalities from country to country, there are also vast differences highlighting political and economic disparities.
While most of the young women dreamed of further education and planning life and goals, some also faced hours of daily chores, the fear of being caught out after dark, and the realities of dealing with unexpected situations. Many binged on Netflix while one wondered if there would be electricity that evening, which puts many things in perspective.
Many of the diary entries read similarly to me. Some were eloquent or loquacious or insightful. While the editor noted that at 29, she was far from being the group of girls being represented in this book, I am even further. However, there is a resonating sense that though years pass the experience of being a young woman, preparing to take on a large world, never changes–even if some aspects of it we wish could.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies