Mini-Review: Because I am a Girl: I can change the world, Rosemary McCarney & Jen Albaugh (2015)

October 23rd, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

An Excellent Addition to Middle School Libraries

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

Because I am a Girl Manifesto

Because I am a girl…
I watch my brothers go to school while I stay home.

Because I am a girl…
I eat if there’s food left over when everyone is done.

Because I am a girl…
I am the poorest of the poor.


Because I am a girl…
I will share what I know.

Because I am a girl…
I am the heart of my community.

Because I am a girl…
I will pull my family out of poverty if you gave me the chance.

Because I am a girl…
I will take what you invest in my and uplift everyone around me.

Because I am a girl…
I can change the world.

An initiative of Plan International, Because I am a Girl organizes and funds projects “that create better lives for girls, young women, and their communities around the world. Girls in different environments have different needs, so these projects cover everything from clean water and nutrition to education and microfinance.” Some of the current projects include improving accessibility to primary and secondary education in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia; combating child labor in India; and improving prenatal health care in Indonesia.

Because I am a Girl: I can change the world introduces children (grades six through eight) to the myriad issues facing girls and young women around the globe; everything from poverty, clean water, access to education, natural disasters, human trafficking (including sexual slavery), child marriage and rape, family planning, and gender discrimination are addressed – but gently, in a way appropriate for a younger audience.

McCarney (who also penned Dear Malala, We Stand with You) and Albaugh use the Because I am a Girl Manifesto as a jumping off point for their discussion; each declaration is brought to life with a profile of a young woman who has persevered in the face of overwhelming odds. The authors allow the women to speak for themselves, imparting a feeling of intimacy to the project. The stories are at once heartbreaking and uplifting; the many facts and figures sprinkled throughout, depressingly bleak – yet essential to elevating the conversation.

The continued emphasis on improving the lot of girls and women for their families’ and communities’ sake niggled a bit – aren’t girls deserving of basic human rights regardless? – even as I understood the need for it: incentivizing the issue for those who might not otherwise care.

Nevertheless, Because I am a Girl would be a valuable addition to middle school libraries and classrooms.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)


Comments (May contain spoilers!)

Diversity: Because I am a Girl profiles teenagers around the globe who are making valuable contributions to their families, schools, and communities; most of the individuals profiled are girls and young women of color in developing nations, including Nepal (Anupa), Zimbabwe (Lucy), Pakistan (Farwa), the Philippines (Marinel), Uganda (Hakima), South Sudan/Uganda (Kathryn), and Peru (Maryuri).

Animal-friendly elements: n/a


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