In Ambitious Girl, by Meena Harris, a young girl sees a woman on TV that is being described as “too ambitious, too persistent, too confident, too proud, too assertive, and too loud.”
She is very concerned by this and it leads her on a path of reflection about what those words mean. She begins to wonder if there is there such a thing as “too assertive” or “too ambitious”.
She takes a journey and thinks about things she has heard from others, vs words she has heard from her mother. She feels like people try to stop her, but her mother, citing ambitious women in the past, empowers her to change the world and be who she is.
I LOVE the words she chooses to highlight and define and how she defines them as “I..” statements. I have read this page over and over and over again. I walk away from this book with such a spark inside me.
I feel compelled to share my favorite quote from this book; one I am considering posting on my classroom wall.
I think there are obvious reasons I love this book – not only as a teacher, where my job is to encourage and empower kids every day, but as a girl and as a mom of both a daughter and a son. As a girl, even as a grown up, I feel motivated after reading this book. As the mom of a daughter, I feel like this is a must read for her; it’s the exact message I want to send her off into the world with. And as the mom of a son, I think it’s an important thing for him to see that gender does not matter, especially in our typically male dominated society. He needs to see strong women and understand that gender doesn’t come into play in terms of your future potential.
Lastly, while race isn’t overtly addressed or mentioned, the main character is a girl of color and many of the women highlighted are as well. EVERYONE deserves to see themselves as the hero in a book, and EVERYONE needs to be humble enough to see someone that doesn’t look like them get to be the hero. I LOVE that this book is about empowering girls and that the girl that is highlighted is NOT caucasian, like SO many characters in SO many books are. It’s like a double win in my eyes – especially in our society today. Ambitious Girl is a must read, all around.