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10 Powerful Books To Inspire Every Little Girl

10 Powerful Books To Inspire Every Little Girl

Reading to and encouraging children to read is terribly important, though it’s also important that the books they read are empowering and uplifting. When it comes to little girls, it’s particularly helpful to encourage them to believe in themselves and their abilities. The following ten books are fun and absolutely essential for anyone trying to empower young girls.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

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    The Paper Bag Princess humorously chronicles the bravery of a young princess whose fiancé is kidnapped by a dragon. When she tries to save her prince however, he criticizes her unkempt appearance. A witty tale for young girls, this powerful book shows readers to never settle for less than they deserve.

    I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

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      I Love My Hair is a powerful story for young girls. A toddler named Keyana complains about her hair one night while her mother gets her ready for bed. Keyana’s mom helps her to understand why her hair is special and why we should celebrate things that set us apart. A beautifully illustrated story to help little girls accept and be proud of their looks.

      Odd Velvet by Mary Whitcomb

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        Odd Velvet centers around a little girl who sticks out like a sore thumb. Velvet’s odd qualities keep her from getting to know people at school and she starts to feel left out. As Velvet gets a chance to show her qualities to her classmates however, they see her for who she really is. A great book that celebrates every little girl’s uniqueness.

        I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

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          I Like Myself is a powerful book about self acceptance for little girls. Set to rhyming verse, this upbeat story celebrates a little girl who loves who she is. Sure to help little girls appreciate themselves for who they are, I Like Myself is an enjoyable, humorous read.

          Winners Never Quit by Mia Hamm

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            In this fast-paced story from Olympian Mia Hamm, a young girl learns to love playing a sport more than winning or losing. Emphasizing the joy of pursuing what you love, this book is sure to engage young girls. An encouraging and powerful book, Winners Never Quit is perfect reading material for those with little girls.

            Black, White, Just Right by Marguerite W. Davol

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              This uplifting tale celebrates a multicultural family whose little girl is “just right.” Inclusive and optimistic, this book helps little girls admire differences in themselves and others. It also encourages girls to look past skin color and see a person based on their personality.

              The Skin You Live In by Micheal Tyler

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                Every young child is celebrated in this nursery rhyme, focusing on the ways skin makes us both different and similar. Ultimately the story highlights the importance of who we are beneath the skin, in a fun, upbeat way.

                Not All Princesses Dress In Pink by Jane Yolen

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                  This lighthearted book celebrates girls across a wide spectrum of interests and hobbies, all with optimistic rhyming text. The book doesn’t follow a particular story, instead opting to celebrate girls’ uniqueness in a free-form fashion.

                  Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

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                    This gripping story follows the life of Wilma Rudolph, who was expected to never walk again at just five-years-old. Instead of giving up, Wilma not only walked, but became an Olympic hero. An uplifting and supportive story, this book encourages girls to shoot for the stars.

                    Matilda by Roald Dahl

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                      No list of powerful books for girls is complete without this classic book by Roald Dahl. Chronicling the story of a little girl with no one to rely on, Matilda shows little girls to pursue their dreams, even when things look hopeless. An ultimately upbeat and inspiring tale, this book reminds girls they are capable and strong. 

                      Featured photo credit: Dana via flickr.com

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                      Alicia Prince

                      A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                      Posture

                      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                      Facial Expressions

                      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                      2. Relax Your Face

                      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                      3. Smile More

                      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                      4. Hand Gestures

                      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                      5. Enhance Your Handshake

                      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                      Final Takeaways

                      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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