Bloggerhood Etc. 9/29/14

Red moon and horizon.

Photo: Melissa Otterbein

Best Goodbye to Summer.Yes in Every Season: Thoughts & Longings on the Last Night of Summer” by Melissa Otterbein at Like Birds on Trees.

Best Admission.I’m Tired of Owning” by Micah J. Murray” at Redemption Pictures blog.

Best Parenting Post.Separating Twins at School and Other Misadventures in Twin Parenting” by Elizabeth Esther.

Best List.7 Ways Pro Athletes Are Like Toddlers” by Lorne Jaffe at City Dads Network.

Best Interview.Melissa Hart Rescues Raptors and Adopts a Child in Her New Memoir Wild Within” by Cornelia Becker Seigner at Oregon Live.

Most Thought-Provoking.The Racist Dirge of America” by Michael Peppard at Commonweal. 

Best Special Needs Post.He’s Not Scary, He’s a Little Boy” AliceAnn Meyer at Jameson’s Journey. 

Best Response to Bad Theology.Does God Really Promise to Give Us Our Own Nation?” by David Lamb at Biblical Theological Seminary Faculty Blog.

Best Advice.This is Hard, You’re Doing a Good Job.” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.

Best Book for New Parents. Zero to Five, reviewed by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Guest Post.Blueberry” by Ben Moberg at Cara Strickland’s Little Did She Know.

Best Apology. “‘We Screwed Up:’ Maker of DC Board Game Apologizes to Parents of Young Girls” by Rebecca Pahle at The Mary Sue.

Best Admission.I’m a Blogger Damnit” by Brandon Billinger at The Rookie Dad.

Best Dad Post.Happy Birthday, Mouse” by Buzz Bishop at Camp Dad.

Best Mom Post.When Growing Up Hurts (a Mama)” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Tribute. “Sean Taylor, A Football Lifeat NFL Network.

Sean Taylor Mosaic

Image: NFL Network

Empowering Books for Young Girls

Line-art drawing of a girl holding a stack of books.

In their most recent post, girl-empowerment site Toward the Stars is featuring a Top Ten Empowering Books for Girls list, supplied by “Mother-Daughter Book Club fanatic” Lori Day.

Quoting Lori’s daughter (written when she was in the eighth grade):

“The discussions we engage in during the meetings often begin as conversations about problems in the text that the protagonist encounters and overcomes, and inevitably shift seamlessly to conversations about similar problems we have experienced and dealt with while growing up.”

When Lori started to take notice of the books her daughter was reading, she noticed that the vast majority did not feature female protagonists. After doing some research and talking with teachers and librarians, she understood why this was the case. Girls, it seems, are happy to read and watch stories about boys, whereas the latter isn’t so true. Producers of media for children were making more money by producing books and films about boys that could attract children of both genders. So Lori took it upon herself to make sure that her daughter, and the daughters of her close friends, were getting exposure to inspiring female literary role models, and that was how her book club was first formed.

As much as they both love to read, I can see Julia and Anna in a mother-daughter book club in a few years. In the meantime, I’m saving Lori’s list and putting together one of my own for younger girls.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s just a handful of books (or book series) that Anna really enjoys, and that feature girls around her age as either the primary or secondary protagonists.

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Bright Girls

Psychologist Heidi Grant Henderson speculates on The Trouble with Bright Girls (at Huffington Post):

Chances are good that if you are a successful professional today, you were a pretty bright fifth grade girl. My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of “Mindset”) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how Bright Girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.

She found that Bright Girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up; the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel. In fact, the straight-A girls showed the most helpless responses. Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts rather than give up.

Anna just turned five—less than half the age of the fifth graders referenced in this article—but I’ve noticed her doing the same thing. She’s very bright, and a quick learner when she doesn’t realize she’s learning, but when faced with something new or difficult, her default response is “I can’t!”

The good news is that, for all the times we compliment her for making “good decisions,” we also encourage her to keep trying when something is hard. It seems to work. She still complains, but she ends up improving anyway and then conveniently forgets she ever struggled.

I wonder if Anna’s difficulties with speech, and her gradual but steady progress in being understood, makes a difference. Unlike most bright girls, not everything has been easy for her. She’s had to struggle to be understood all her life, and her only option has been to work hard and improve the clarity of her speech. She been working at it as long as she can remember so she takes it for granted.

And maybe since everything hasn’t come easy for her, she’ll be better prepared for future struggles. Maybe, in this case, her apraxia of speech has been a blessing.