Illana Raia, CEO and Founder of Être, a resource site for middle and high school girls, has written a guidebook, “Girls, Who Do You Want To Be,” dedicated to helping girls develop their own identities. Filled with colorful pages and wisdom from over forty women and fifty girls, this book encourages girls to find their passions, stick with them, and use those interests to fuel their way to become their best possible selves. This book offers tools to help girls develop and thrive while staying authentic in the process. The book’s framework will empower girls to be the next generation of leaders and role models in our world. 

This book’s design, both in content and cover, is ingenious. Être approaches it from the perspective of middle and high school girls and dives into concepts like, innovation, philanthropy, and financial confidence, in an engaging, very positive way. The bold text, the variety of images, and the incorporation of quotes from different women and girls make this book fun to read and keep you in high spirits. This book reminds me of a self-development magazine filled with thoughtful articles, inspiring quotes, and how-to’s, to make girls successful. The book is organized by topic, such as “#BeInformed, #BeSmart, #BeBrave, #BeCharitable, #BeHappy, #BeWi$e…” Each topic is broken down into a theme. For example, #BeWi$e focuses on identifying and developing financial confidence. In each of these topics, there are examples from women and girls, who’ve made an impact in different areas like business, science and technology, and charitable institutions. The topics also provide girls with step-by-steps processes on how to achieve certain ambitions, to name a few – 1) seek mentors, 2) run a strong student council campaign, and 3) find charitable work you care about. What I like about this book is that it not only discusses these important topics but also provides structure as to how girls can further develop in these areas. It leaves girls knowing how to go about their initiatives. The tools in this book are pretty much endless!

This book resonated well with me because many of the concepts described are similar ideas I discuss on Unraveled. In particular, Unraveled encourages students to stop, think, and constantly ask questions throughout their education to formulate their own thoughts on things, understand the whys behind certain things, and stimulate creativity. Similarly, Être encourages girls to #Besmart by “[raising] their hands instead of lowering their standards,” which will get their questions answered and voice their opinions. The book acknowledges this skill as one which girls can carry with them in their schooling, through college, and in their careers. It also inclines girls to think versus react. Rather than sharing or taking information from social media or online and simply reacting to it, Être inspires women to receive information from more than one source, think about the differences in what they might be reading, and curate their own thoughts and opinions. On both platforms, we want our audience to be well-equipped by providing them with tools, so they can be successful in whatever they’re doing.

I liked that Être provided a variety of book recommendations for girls. There are suggested readings for girls who want to learn about other women impacting the science and techworld, or female athletes changing the game of professional sports, while also providing some solid classics to allow their imaginations to soar. In other posts I’ve written, I discussed the importance of reading, and how I didn’t realize how much you could learn from reading until after I graduated from college. You can call me naive, but it’s the truth. I didn’t introduce reading into my life until I started professionally working. I didn’t know the impact reading could have on my imagination, creativity, and overall knowledge. I saw reading as a chore for my classes and not a means of personal and professional development. As a young girl, I would have benefited from reading this book to help me understand how reading could make the best person I aspire to be. I would have seen reading as a source of information and a means of becoming smarter. 

What I think sets this book apart from others is how appealing it is for middle and high school girls in its design, its content, and its flow. Not only is it enjoyable to read, it gears you up with tools to be the best you can be, which brings me to my next point…The book doesn’t suggest you to become something you don’t aspire to be. Instead, it provides constant encouragement to be yourself by finding what you love to do, sticking with it, and leveraging resources along the way for your development while staying true to yourself and your passions. It’s relatable, it’s fun, and its purpose is to help girls become their best versions of themselves. This book enables girls to evolve into who they want to be as women, leaders, role models, and mentors. The topics in this book will help girls shape not only their future but ours. 

A must-read for girls, everywhere.