Title: Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices
Author: Masuma Ahuja
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers, 2021
“There are more than a billion girls in the world, each with her own voice and her own story, and this is not an atlas of girlhood, after all-but I hope it is representative of a vast range of girls’ experiences.” – Masuma Ahuja, Girlhood
Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja is a fun and engaging collection of stories that will compel readers to ask themselves what it means to be a girl in today’s world. (And realize there is no one right way!) Through these 30 stories, we travel around the world and into the lives and minds of girls who embrace their identities and defy the odds or expectations set upon them.
This is a beautifully compiled book in which Masuma is a facilitator in the truest sense for readers. Each entry is composed of a brief introduction written by Masuma, quotes, pictures, and, most importantly, the diary entries submitted by each girl. The diary entries set this book apart from others like it in that the stories come to readers unfiltered and in a voice that will resonate with any young reader who has ever felt like they have yet to find their “best friend” or has an endless list of things they hope to accomplish. No two girls’ story is alike as readers travel around the world, but similarities emerge in themes such as athletics, where Alejandra plays soccer with a passion in Argentina, while Claudie surfs in Vanuatu, and religion with Favour beginning each day with a prayer in Nigeria and Halima rising in Afghanistan at 4am to pray and read the Quran.
Readers everywhere, female to male, and old to young, will find a story they can relate to and hopefully a sense of community and inspiration with a girl who may be in their backyard or all the way on the other side of the world.
Author: Masuma Ahuja
Is currently launching a media venture for and for girls around the world.
She also reports and tells stories with words, audio, multimedia and social media, as well as with digital, emerging and unexpected platforms — from chatbots and text messages to disposable cameras and diary entries. I tell human stories that help us understand gender, power, and politics around the world.
She is the author of GIRLHOOD, a book documenting the lives of teenage girls around the world for Algonquin Books, out February 2021. The book is based on a newsletter and series that I wrote for The Washington Post’s The Lily.
Hannah Spratt is a Bookmobile Librarian for the New York Public Library. She has a background in Youth Services and is passionate about finding non-traditional ways for public libraries to connect with and engage young people.