Thursday, March 5, 2015

ELEMENTS For Girls, A Fun & Engaging Self-Discovery Project - Book Review!

"ELEMENTS for girls, A Fun & Engaging Self-Discovery Project" book, written by Mary Ellen Young and Sandra McDonnell, is a self-discovery workbook for pre-teen girls. It's great for them to learn about themselves, their friendships and what their lives will be after Jr. high high and high school. ELEMENTS for girls is a workbook to help pre-teen girls learn about themselves and to teach them to value who they are and who they will become. My five and a half year old daughter was excited that when she is older, this book will be for her! I hope that she finds her true self and figures out what is important to her when she decides she's ready to go through this book on her own. I can't wait to see what she'll learn about herself!

ELEMENTS For Girls is a fun workbook with lots of information presented in a non-threatening way. Pre-Teens will be open to checking it out, and reading what it has to say, along with discovering who they really are, and who they need to be as young women. I wish that there was a workbook like this around for me when I was around twelve years old. It would of helped me to discover more about myself, and who I was.

The life of a preteen girl has changed dramatically in the span of just one generation. Where 20 years ago, girls spent time curled up in their rooms, reading a book, talking on the phone or listening to music. Today's girls literally hold their music, books and social lives in the palms of their hands.

What does this shift to a digital world mean?

For today's girls, whose second language is "download," it's essential to be intentional - to not let the real be displaced by the virtual. Parents need to be diligent in helping girls find and take time to be quietly introspective. If girls fill their days with texts of 144 characters or less and Snapchats that last for less than 10 seconds, it's difficult for them to hear their authentic voice and to cultivate their authentic selves.

ELEMENTS for Girls - A Fun & Engaging Self-Discovery Project, provides a way for girls to slow down, disconnect from technology and connect with their authentic self. Each of the book's 10 chapters invites girls to read, reflect, create and complete interesting and introspective activities while exploring themes such as feelings, self-acceptance, empathy, decision making and communications. The theme of self-care is woven throughout the book in sections on sleep, healthy eating and stress management. Integral to the concept is a bracelet that girls create as they work their way through the book. The beads are a fun, visual reminder of what is learned in the book, which provides girls a way to reinforce healthy, positive habits and skills.

The section on empathy allows girls to work through real-life examples of how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. “Developing empathy is a critical skill in reducing bullying and building healthy relationships,” according to Young, a bullying consultant and speaker on relational aggression. “A cute flip flop is the bracelet charm for this section, and serves as a reminder for the girls to put themselves in each other’s shoes. It is our goal to create a reminder for our girls so that when the temptation is there to throw out their arm and save a seat, instead they will look at their wrist, think about what it feels like to be that girl standing there, and make room.”

Many girls had a hand in development of the concept for the book and bracelet project. Focus groups were held with local girls who subsequently completed two sample chapters at home. “Their insight was key. We were motivated by how much they loved the concept,” said McDonnell.

“Girls benefit greatly from opportunities for personal reflection and self-awareness,” says McDonnell who is also the current HGNA president. The project was a creative family affair with Young and McDonnell’s three high school- and college-aged daughters playing key roles. Sierra Young, a talented artist, created all the original doodle art, Nora Young inserted her keen sense of style into the book and bracelet designs, and Emma McDonnell researched and selected “the coolest beads” she could find.

The book comes with a kit to make the bracelet with beads that represent the theme of each chapter. The book and bracelet, priced at $24.99, are available at online at and on at for only $20.12.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book, "Elements for girls" in exchange for my post. No other compensation was exchanged or received.


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