REVIEW: Ridge Writers on Books – ‘The Confidence Code for Girls’

By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, for ages 8-12, B&W graphics, Harper, hardcover, 309 pgs, 2018, $14.99


On the heels of their New York Times bestseller “Womenomics,” two high-profile TV reporters have combined a wealth of first-hand experience and examples to guide tween girls to forge ahead in the challenging adventure of life. Making good on the promise of the subtitle, “Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self,” they deliver solid steps for building confidence. They address dealing with social media, stress, self-doubt, and bullying.

They discuss power and understanding in various forms, showing girls how to equip themselves with a toolbox for combating faulty thinking, how to stand back and watch their own thought processes and how to break down what they observe,

Along with real-life stories and results, the authors present a series of “confidence close-ups” and quizzes, instructing to first “be brutally honest.” The quiz “How well do you understand the power of failure?” explains how to live with it and live it down, how to harness the value of embarrassing defeat and how to find much better than frail “learning moments” in it. They’ve compiled a Top Ten Failure Fixes list that, in fact, helps quite a lot with the inclusion of “The It Could Be Much Worse” analysis and more. One quiz concerning social media tests “screen smarts” (social media) and supports cautionary advice with the scary revelation that one third of all private pictures sent or shared go public.

Among the many excellent lists, one suggests good comebacks to use on bullies such as “I can’t believe you just said that” and “It’s not funny unless everyone is laughing.”

To underscore the importance of mastering the skills of blossoming into a girl of action at an early age, “The Confidence Code for Girls” reports that in September 2016, the front cover of Boys’ Life headlined “exploring your future” and “here’s how to be what you want to be” while the Girls’ Life cover featured “dream hair” and “the new denim checklist.”

Do you see a pattern here? The answer seems clear. Girls can grow into women who change the world – nor do they have to wait another 10 years to flourish. Then can start now, doing it with confidence.

This monthly column is written by members of Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Meetings are held the first Thursday evening of each month at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church, and free programs are offered throughout the year.

Ridge Writers’ book “Planet Mojave: Visions From a World Apart” is available at the Historic USO Building, Jawbone Canyon, Maturango Museum and Red Rock Books.

Story First Published: 2019-02-15