Children’s Book Encouraging Girls To Dream Big Wants To Inspire A “Rad Girl Revolution”

All you had to say was “Rad Girl Revolution” and we were hooked! A new children’s book is set to join the wave of media and literature that is part of the female empowerment movement we are experiencing right now. It is an exciting time to see so many voices rising up in the name of gender equality, especially when it comes to influencing the younger generation.

The ‘Rad Girl Revolution’ book is the brainchild of creators Sharita Manickam & Jen Bruno, neighbors from Forest Hills, NY who became fast friends when their kids started having playdates together. They found they had shared creative interests and similar values in raising socially-conscious children. The duo want to show young girls that they can be anything from a CEO to an astronaut, and even President! Aimed at kids age 3-7, the book also hopes to encourage a gender equality mindset in young boys, because changing the culture requires all hands on deck.

RAD stands for Rise Above Doubt and Reach Any Dream. The book will feature 30 inspiring storybook-style photos of real little girls in fields typically under-represented by women, along with a rhyming verse describing each career. The book includes occupations such as Scientist, Judge, Artist, Astronaut, Doctor, Pilot, Journalist, Director, Chef, Author, CEO, Engineer, Paleontologist, President, and many more.

Unlike most other children’s books, ‘Rad Girl Revolution’ features photos of actual girls dressed up so young female readers could really picture themselves in the occupation and know they are capable of striving for that career. Knowing just how many ingrained social messaging young girls have to battle to find their own sense of identity, and having kids of their own, the creators knew they were building something important.

“As a mom to two girls, I feel it’s important to show them that women and girls are capable of doing the same jobs men and boys can do. Despite what we teach them at home, kids start to pick up on gender stereotypes that are ingrained in our society. These biases start to seep in at a very young age from what they see reflected in children’s media. It is imperative that creators of children’s books and television make it a point to represent girls and women as having aspirations and as being strong, smart and capable of reaching any dream,” said Sharita, whose 5 year-old daughter Leela has aspirations to be the President.

What girls see in media, books and entertainment has a huge impact on their ability to dream about the future and decide what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do in life. According to The Geena Davis Institute which conducts extensive research especially in the area of gender representation in kids programming, only 19.5% of female characters hold jobs or have career aspirations in children’s media, compared to 80.5% of male characters.

The National Science Foundation says that gender stereotypes are defined between 5 and 7 years of age, and by age 6, girls were already significantly less likely than boys to say that members of their own gender were “really, really smart.” That should worry any parent, knowing that at such a young age such gendered messages are already becoming ingrained into the way kids think.

The literature world specifically has its own gender problems. In 2011 a study by Gender in 20th Century Children’s Books of over 5000 children’s books found that 25% of them had zero female characters. When TIME Magazine listed the 100 best children’s books of all time, only 53 had females that speak. That should give you an indication of where negative societal messages about women’s voices in the public arena stem from.

Sharita and Jen conducted their own research among parents whose kids were involved in the book’s images, and the statements they shared show just how timely and important a book like ‘Rad Girl Revolution’ is.

“I felt it was important to participate in this project because everyone always assumes that only my son wants to be a firefighter, they never ask my daughter. She’s also the child of a firefighter – why wouldn’t she be influenced by that just like her brother? I want her to break the mold,” said Anilsa Sanchez, mother of Luna, age 2 (firefighter).

“Lola is very fond of princesses, and while several modern princess stories tell tales of girl empowerment, we felt it was important for her to experience a real-life situation where she can be a girl in charge,” said Trevor Peterson, father of Lola, age 4 (Judge).

Trevor also went on to share how he worries that we’ll still be talking about glass ceilings and boys’ clubs well into the future, which is why he is a big believer in the message of gender equality.

Another mother expressed her fears of her daughters growing up in a world where they still have to prove themselves because of their gender.

“I want my girls to have the same opportunities boys their age have. The idea that they would have to work harder than boys to achieve the same things worry me the most,” said Kamila Podejma, mother of Nely, age 5 (Presidential Cabinet).

Sharita and Jen launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first round of books, and at the time of us writing this article, they are only a couple of days into the campaign and raised over two thirds of their $15,000 goal! We’ve said it a number of times about projects like this, but we’ll say it again. When parents decide to take a stand and create something that will change the gender status quo for children, especially projects that begin with a crowdfunding campaign, other parents recognize the importance and power and join the cause.

We highly recommend you get on board the ‘Rad Girl Revolution’ train while the Kickstarter campaign is running, and follow the book on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on its release, or join the email list. Watch the campaign video below:


One Comment

  1. Pingback: Author & Activist Marie Unanue Writes Books To Help Children Become Advocates For Kindness - GirlTalkHQ

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