Needs to find its way into the hands of anyone who ever identifies as a girl.




This junior version of The Confidence Code (2014) encourages pre- and early-teen girls to crack the Code, building the skills they need to meet challenges with “Why not?” instead of “No way!”

Confidence is “that incredible energy when you find your courage and try something that’s not easy,” and the book’s goal is to help readers discover their individual codes. It is divided into three sections, each culminating with one of the Code’s three elements: “Risk More!” “Think Less!” “Be Yourself!” The authors suggest readers begin a “Confidence Notebook” in which to do the book’s activities, including “Confidence Warm-ups” and “Your Turn” exercises, as well as take “Confidence Quizzes” and puzzle out “Confidence Conundrums.” “Girls of Action” and “Confidence Close-ups” sidebars profile real girls and their confidence struggles and triumphs. Featured girls include Amiya Zafar, an American Muslim boxer who fought to wear her hijab during bouts; Cordelia Longo, an Asian-American girl who worked to make sanitary products free in her school; and the transition journey of a girl named Toni who was born “Tony.” “Quick Quotes” from real girls, cartoon illustrations (with a commendably diverse cast), and faux hand-lettering provide lots of engagement. Backmatter includes a lengthy list of resources and endnotes, both of which provide a trove of information from reputable sources.

Needs to find its way into the hands of anyone who ever identifies as a girl. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279698-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2018

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.


Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.



Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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