Each year authors Meg Medina and Gigi Amateau launch the Girls of Summer List of “amazing books for amazing girls,” in partnership with the Richmond Public Library. The lovingly curated selection of titles–from picture books through young adult–all feature strong girl protagonists navigating incredible tests on their journeys to womanhood.
The summer’s list launches with a party at the library, which draws girls of all ages, ethnicities and identities to talk books–no worksheets, vocab tests or reports required.
The idea emerged five years ago as Amateau and Medina prepared to send daughters off to college. “It came out of a very personal place for both of us,” Medina says. “We were sort of in mourning. You look at your daughters and you feel like you’ve run out of time. You want to tell them something else. You want to give them some other piece of information or skill so that they can go out into the world and really be strong. We just started to talk about how books helped us raise them.”
That discussion ultimately led them to pick 18 books for strong girls, one for every year of their daughters’ lives, and share them through a blog and public library event.
“It’s really something to be at a library and look out at these girls and know that what you’ve done has given them a reason to come to a library,” Medina says. “I feel like the conversation dignifies who they are and gives them practice in how you think about what you read, what you ingest, what you bring inside yourself as entertainment and as a reflection of who you are.”
As an adult and a mother, I can attest to the power of the list and its launch event to do just that. We are, to a great extent, what we read, and each year I eagerly anticipate bolstering my and my young daughter’s strength through Girls of Summer selections.