“Crying is not weakness” – a book for girls by a Hollywood actress was presented in Lviv
A first book of the Hollywood actress Mayim Bialik Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular translated into Ukrainian was presented at the 25th Lviv Book Forum. A book by the author who is more known as Amy Farrah Fowler from TV series The Big Bang Theory was published by Osnovy Publishing House within the charitable project LuckyBooks.
The book differs significantly from many other editions “for girls” since it doesn’t teach how to become a princess, to cook borsch in the tastiest way or to keep order at home. The author tells how to fight for one’s own convictions, change the world, get a good education, experience complicated feelings and reach any set goals.
The book provides readers with several components necessary for success: to know well and love one’s body, learn the ways to overcome stress and fears, advocate one’s own opinion whatever happens. And when you manage to do this there are no peaks you cannot conquer, - says a literature critic and department coordinator from IT-company Lucky Labs Iryna Nikolaichuk.
Nonmentor style in which the book is written also distinguishes it from the other similar ones.
The most interesting thing regarding the book is the author’s sense of humor, her story of growing up and success - the story of a girl with a Jewish appearance which is non typical for American TV. She writes about not only the body structure but also stresses that it is quite normal to have breasts of different shapes. Her humor helps break stereotypes, overcome shame and doesn’t make fun of all these things, - notes a practice psychologist Nataliia Pashko.
There was a public discussion during the presentation, the topic of which can be defined as follows: What books do girls need in the 21st century in general? Another issue was the reason why the books like Girling up are so rare to appear on bookshelves.
Book publishing is a market and our market is not already ready for many beautiful texts, beautiful ideas, and beautiful illustrations. They require pedagogical work, they require education, and they require education both for children and parents.
This topic of how not to scare adults away from children’s books was discussed deeply. Since topics that are interesting and necessary for teenagers, such as development of sexuality, borders of one’s own self-dependence, acceptance of death, harassment, often frighten parents. All speakers reach the same conclusion - one should not be silent about things that hurt or scare. It is difficult but at the same time necessary to become strong enough to speak about such issues.
The head editor of the website about literature for children and their parents Bokmal Mira Kyivska shares the same opinion:
The mass culture forms a new generation, while the mass culture is moved by small things - lone authors and critics, small publishers, which hurt themselves to please others. It is they who change the overall picture.
It was as well discussed whether gender division should exist in children’s literature. However there was no unity between the participants - the first group advocated the necessity of such division, the second one proposed to leave it only for non-fiction books, the third one believed that it was artificial and dangerous. Finally, everyone agreed that the main criteria should be the quality of a book.
Of course, the necessity of more diversity of girls’ images in modern literature was also noted.
We should provide the greatest diversity of girls’ images in literature so that every girl can see something that fits her, something that is in harmony with her, and see herself while reading. That is why we should show different images of girls, - noted Tetiana Stus, an author of books for children and teenagers, founder of the project aimed at supporting children literacy BaraBooka.
In foreseeable future, the book by Mayim Bialik Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular will be sent to children’s libraries in the Eastern and Southern parts of Ukraine.