I was lucky growing up in a family who honestly believed that I could and would be what ever I wanted when I grew up. I was lucky to have parents more supportive of me wanting to be a fighter pilot than they were when I wanted to be a Cowboys’ cheerleader. Unfortunately I am too short to become either, so when I realized I would never be tall (probably took until 4th grade for that to sink in) I figured I would just be President of the US. I remember telling my mom my goal and she never balked. I think she said something about me being bossy, center of attention and always arguing and it was perfect, I don’t know. I was just glad she agreed to run my campaign. So through out elementary I was obsessed about becoming president. I would read books about politics, I would map out how long I would have to be in congress before I could run for the big house. One day in class we did an activity of what we were going to be when we grow up. I was so excited, mostly because I knew the answer and it would be an easy assignment. When we had to share with the class, a few kids started laughing at me. One of the boys quickly pointed out that I could never be president because I was a girl. The part that stuck with me the most was the fact my teacher never told him he was wrong, she laughed and nodded. I remember feeling crushed. I knew there was no law against a woman being president, but did not argue. I told my parents that night and they informed me that there were people who actually thought women could not do certain jobs. I was appalled. These people never met my mom obviously, she is a warrior in her own right. Before that day I never knew there was an actual prejudice against women in certain careers. I remember wanting to go back and be naive. I hated everything about this.
As educators our goals need to encourage children equally. But women being able to have careers they want is still a new concept to many, so sometimes girls need that extra push. In a society that has pink legos and tell girls they should focus on being princesses when they grow up or become vampires to get the guy, girls need strong, intellectual role models. They also need exposure to all careers.
Over the last few weeks I have learned about a book series called “Girls Know How.” They are stories written by Ellen Langas Campbell about girls who explore career opportunities and learn about these careers. It teaches them how to put those dreams into a reality. These books are perfect for elementary school aged girls. Their website also allows them to explore careers from the books. The careers are journalism, construction (which I love that idea since I literally grew up on construction sites), and teaching (know any of those?). The books have been received enthusiastically by young readers, parents and teachers, and were named among the best in family-friendly media, receiving the Gold Award for Juvenile Level 2 Books ages 9-12 from the Mom’s Choice Awards®.
Here is the exciting part – “Girls Know How” is giving me the opportunity for a contest to give YOU a complete set of autographed books FREE! All you have to do in enter the contest below between now and Thursday, December 6. As a teacher I know you are always looking for opportunities to add to our classroom libraries. Here is a chance to do that and what an awesome set of books to add! Who knows how many girls you can encourage through it.
Fill out the form below to enter!! On the form I put “what I wanted to be when I grow up” and would love to hear your dreams as a kid and will add them to the end of the post! And sorry to my Canadian and Australian friends only those with US addresses are eligible.
By the way, the dream of being President stuck with me until I went to college. I was even a pre-law political science major when I enroll. Fortunately, the school messed up my enrollment and put me in as an elem ed major. I figured I would stay that way for a semester and change – never happened, found my passion that semester!