I have a friend whose niece is 14/15 years old. She is beautiful, intelligent and witty but recently, she has retreated inwards and the bright sparky young girl I’ve watched grow up has been replaced with a girl who is unhappy with herself, judgemental of who she’s becoming and has such negative views of herself- it’s honestly heartbreaking. When she does open up, she touches on the complexity of colourism, how she doesn’t feel accepted and doesn’t fulfill the standards of beauty that are projected onto her generation; she doesn’t wear wigs or weaves or makeup- she’s what 15 year olds should be. So what can be said to a girl who feels misunderstood and isolated which is further exasperated by the lockdown? I turned to Twitter and asked what books, YouTube channels and resources would be good for a young black girl who’s not feeling herself and this is what I received.
‘The skin I’m in’ by Sharon G Flake
This book follows a teenaged girl who has low self-esteem due to her skin tone. It covers topics including self-love, self-esteem, friendship, bullying and body image.
‘The State of Black Girls’ by Marline François-Madden, LCSW
Written by child psychologist Marline, the book “affirms black girls with guided activities” with chapters on “self esteem, depression, friendship, self care and natural hair.” It is available now on Amazon.
‘Love is a revolution’ and ‘Piecing Me Together’ by Reneé Watson
Reneé Watson is a critically acclaimed black author whose books centre young black women navigating life’s challenge of love, trying to succeed against all odds and more.
‘Dear Teen Self: tips to help a teenage girl navigate adolescence’ by Jaynay C. Johnson Mamft
It is available here.
‘Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves’ by Glory Edim
A collection of short stories for black girls.
‘Dear Black Girl: Letters From Your Sisters on Stepping Into Your Power’ by Tamara Winfrey Harris
For trans girls.
‘Redefining realness’ and ‘Surpassing Certainty’ by Janet Mock
Janet Mock gives insight into her journey of transition from childhood and adulthood; beautifully written.
Written by Leomie Anderson