For today’s teens and tweens, “Strong Is the New Pretty” by Kate T. Parker (2017, hard cover), is part of the new attitude. According to this author, “Real beauty is about being your authentic self, and owning it.” This book is refreshing, enlightening and full of pictures of brave young girls who are preparing for their futures. Girls must be strong, educated and sensible to succeed. And yes, they can be pretty, too! It’s just a different kind of pretty today.

There are many misconceptions of beauty that mostly comes from the media. Just recently, a 4-year-old girl told her grandmother that she didn’t want to be called “pretty.” Makena Randolph prefers the word “awesome” when she describes herself, though she did settle for “pretty awesome.” Her 10-year-old sister, Soraya Randolph, “doesn’t feel that she is being judged by her hair,” which is naturally curly, long and often in braids at school. “Grandma, it’s more about my performance in school. Can I think for myself, play aggressively, fair and get along with folks, are things I focus on,” said Soraya.

“Respect” is another important word for young girls. In class, reading, math, science and having intelligent conversations are also important factors. Today’s young girls are not always in front of the mirror, applying nail polish or wearing (or even worrying about) lipstick. They are too busy working on making the grade, dancing, watching their videos, talking on the phone, playing chess and music, socializing and accomplishing their tasks. Their schedules are tight.

Nice to see the younger girls growing away from the old-fashioned stereotypes. “Strong Is the New Pretty” is filled with beautiful pictures and stories about girls who are fierce, funny, adventurous, assertive, loud, creative, athletic and artsy. They are fighters and survivors. The author, a professional photographer, shows a wide variety of young teens who play sports, go boating, wear football jerseys, climb, run, jog, swim and perform gymnastics.

There are many encouraging quotes in the book by famous athletes, stars and accomplished women. You can find other photos and stories about teens who are defiant and proud, showing off their messy hair, dirty feet, scars. These young ladies are not afraid to walk through a sprinkler or get their hair wet, and raising their hands, claim their independence in the face of adversity. Some are playing music together, leaping and laughing.

“Strong Is the New Pretty” delivers a powerful message for every girl. If you are raising a young girl, it’s a must-read for youngsters, parents, coaches, mentors and everyone in the village. This book is very inspirational, educational and a great guide and gift for today’s girls.