Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Girls Building Healthy Relationships - May 2013

Selected and annotated by Tad Andracki

This bibliography was created in conjunction with the SMART Girls Conference hosted by the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club on April 13, 2013. The theme of the day was "Girls on FIRE," and attendees from 6-12 grades in the local community explored issues of building healthy relationships in a day-long conference.

Brashares, Ann. 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows. Delacorte, 2009. 336p. Gr. 6-9.
Fans of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants will appreciate this follow-up, in which the Sisterhood has become the stuff of legend at the middle school where Ama, Jo, and Polly are about to graduate. The three good friends are drifting apart as they prepare for high school, and the problem is exacerbated by their divergent summer plans. Can they rekindle their dwindling sisterhood amidst their own adventures?

Daly, Cathleen. Flirt Club. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2011. 288p. Gr. 6-9.
Izzy and Annie are eighth-graders tired of living life on the margins and set out to learn the fine art of flirting. Establishing the Flirt Club, they observe the girls who’ve already snagged popular boyfriends, copy them, and find out: they’re pretty good at flirting. But they also find out male attention isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and must learn how to juggle their newfound suitors while still remaining friends.

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. The Kind of Friends We Used to Be. Atheneum, 2009. 240p. Gr. 5-7.
Kate and Marylin are starting seventh-grade, having just mended a broken friendship in The Secret Language of Girls. The two are offered different sets of opportunities, though: Kate takes up the guitar and finds that a friend maybe could be more than that, while Marylin finds that she might like student government more than cheerleading. The girls find out that as we are always changing, so too do our relationships develop in order to stay viable.

Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School. Bloomsbury, 2011. 150p. Gr. 4-8.
Joylin’s feeling all kinds of pressures dealing with middle school and puberty. Her friends are starting to act weird, and she’s got her eye on impressing cool boy Santiago. But when she teaches her brother Caden to be proud of his artistic talents rather than trying to be a star basketball player like her, she finds that she just might need to learn a similar lesson.

Halls, Kelly Milner, ed. Girl Meets Boy: Because There are Two Sides to Every Story. Chronicle, 2012. 204p. Gr. 9-12.
Containing six stories by twelve authors who pair up to tell male and female perspectives on a relationship, this collection traverses all kinds of pairings. The stories are deeply varied: a girl poses as a boy online to find a romantic mate for her gay brother, and a white boy navigates racial differences when he falls for a black girl, for example. This is a delightful mosaic of the divergences that can happen in that thing we call “love.”

Hogan, Mary. Pretty Face. HarperTeen, 2008. 224p. Gr. 9-12.
Hayley, a little overweight with thick brown hair, feels out of place in her Santa Monica high school and with her health nut mom, so when the opportunity to travel to Umbria and stay with an old friend of her mom’s arises, she jumps at the chance. Her slowed-down lifestyle in Italy surprises her by showing her the ways that a positive approach to life can be utterly life-changing.

Humphrey, Anna. Mission (Un)popular. Disney Hyperion, 2011. 401p. Gr. 6-9.
Margot’s a typical middle-schooler with a best friend, Erika, and an archrival, Sarah J. But when Margot’s impulsivity causes her to take a foolish dare, Erika’s parents decide that Margot’s a bad influence and ship Erika off to a Catholic school. Margot’s left alone in dealing with Sarah J., until Em arrives on the scene. But Em’s friendship may not be all it promises to be…

Ignatow, Amy. The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang. Amulet/Abrams, 2010. 208p. Gr. 4-6.
Lydia and Julie are on a mission: to make it to the status of “popular” when they hit junior high. And what better way than to approach the problem scientifically? This book is written as their field notes, documenting their failed and successful attempts at schemes to join the A Table. The girls find, however, that navigating their relationships with each other and their family is also important.

Kadohata, Cynthia. Outside Beauty. Atheneum, 2008. 265p. Gr. 6-9.
Shelby and her three sisters, each the daughter of a different father, are close as close can be, and they live at breakneck speed, whipped across the county as their mother chases various men. When their mother is hospitalized, though, the four are split up and sent to stay with their respective fathers, causing each to have to adjust to new modes of family life.

Larson, Hope. Chiggers. Seo/Atheneum, 2008. 176p. Gr. 5-9.
In this graphic novel, Abby arrives back at summer camp to find that her friendship with her new cabinmate, Shasta, threatens her relationship with her old camp pals, who find Shasta weird and annoying. Can Abby find a way to salvage both?

McCall, Guadelupe Garcia. Summer of the Mariposas. Tu/Lee & Low, 2012. 352p. Gr. 6-9.
In this version of the Odyssey adapted for the Rio Grande borderlands, Odilia and her sisters daringly attempt to return a dead man’s body to his family in Mexico. The girls must learn to band together as they face witches and chupacabras, only to return home to find another emotional battlefield: Their father has moved on to another family and will force the sisters to choose between two parents.

McMahon, Jennifer. My Tiki Girl. Dutton, 2008. 246p. Gr. 8-12.
Maggie is reeling after the death of her mother in a car accident that’s also left her using a cane—a car accident that Maggie feels like she caused. Enter Dahlia, a freewheeling fan of retro music who starts a band and befriends Maggie in her depression. Maggie however, begins to feel that her attachment to Dahlia might even extend into romance, forcing her to confront her dejected self-image.

McVoy, Terra Elan. After the Kiss. Simon Pulse, 2010. 400p. Gr. 9-12.
Camille’s father’s job makes her family move every few years, this time to Georgia, while Becca’s a Georgia girl, born and bred. When Camille kisses Becca’s boyfriend at a party, she has no clue that Becca even exists. Becca finds out about the kiss, though, and breaks up the relationship. The two do meet, but instead of an angry confrontation, the verse novel wanders through both girl’s emotional worlds as one learns to move past a love lost, while the other learns to trust herself enough to give love a chance.

Soto, Gary. Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing. Harcourt, 2008. 112p. Gr. 5-8.
In this accessible anthology, Soto explores burgeoning romance from both male and female perspectives, providing about forty poems for each. The poems run the gamut from admiration from afar to the joys of spending time with those we love, to the pain of a first loss.

Telgemeier, Raina. Drama. Graphix/Scholastic, 2012. 240p. Gr. 5-7.
Callie, a seventh-grader, is thrilled to be chosen to lead set design for her school’s production of Moon over Mississippi. That is, until the personal drama of the cast begins to outshine the drama of the production. Callie must negotiate conflicting signals from multiple romantic interests while trying to remain true to herself and her friends in this graphic novel.

Vivian, Siobhan. The List. Push/Scholastic, 2012. 332p. Gr. 7-10.
Each year, a secretive student at Mount Washington High School publishes an “official” list of the prettiest and ugliest girl in each class. This year, the list is full of surprises, and the eight girls—one of who is newly skinny and thinks she needs to keep losing weight, another who glibly brushes off her “ugliest” crown but whose boyfriend can’t so easily—take turns telling their stories about how their sudden fame affects their relationships with themselves, their peers, and even their families.

Wood, Jamie Martinez. Rogelia’s House of Magic. Delacorte, 2008. 320p. Gr. 8-10
Marina, Fernanda, and Xochitl are three Latina young women who become friends when Xochitl’s grandmother becomes a maid for Marina’s family. Xochitl’s grandmother is also a curandera, a practitioner of a spiritual healing tradition that’s been handed across generations of Mexican American women. As the three girls learn the arts of curanderismo, they also must navigate boy troubles, arguments with their mothers, and a deepening bond between them.

Woodson, Jacqueline. After Tupac and D Foster. Putnam, 2008. 160p. Gr. 7-10.
D Foster—who uses that name because of her life spent in foster homes—shows up in the lives of two girl friends in Queens, and changes everything. D’s love for Tupac helps the girls identify what might be beyond their lives on the block. D flits in and out of their lives, helping them cope with the highs and lows of life and showing them how the people we love become parts of ourselves.