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Book Review: Girls to the Rescue, for age 10+: A Must-Read for Girl Empowerment!


We have discussed what “Being boys” mean in today’s world….we can’t leave our girls behind…..can we? If there’s anything that has gone through a metamorphosis of role and status….it is that of the women today. Though we still have a long way to go to achieve a truly egalitarian society, girls today have a lot more choice than the previous generation. Women enter almost all fields of work demolishing the earlier notion of male bastions…they also juggle many roles and lead more complicated lives than before. So from the State sponsored “Beti bachao Beti Padao” campaign (Save and educate the girl child) or the elitist “It’s my choice” video, an awareness initiative of Vogue magazine that went viral on the internet ……it’s all about women being in charge ……all the way!

So when it comes to reading to our girls….. why are we still stuck with the age old fairy tales with princesses being boring and one-dimensional characters whose only role is to wait to be rescued by their Prince Charming? Given a choice, most moms would want to skip reading the fairy tales like “Sleeping beauty” or “Rapunzel”  as they perpetuate the primitive mindset wherein the ultimate destination for any girl is to find her Prince Charming!

So if you are such a parent, here’s a book that offers a refreshing take on six fairy tale princesses …..who receive an “empowerment makeover”! “Girls to the Rescue” by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan brought out by Tulika publications is a must read especially for girls who can’t have enough of Princess stories. Though the reading level is most suited for children aged 10 and above, the book presents excellent read aloud stories for younger children. The princesses in this book have a mind of their own, think for themselves and not only dare to dream big but also make their own destiny without waiting for someone else to step in. With a touch of realism, a pinch of quirkiness, and a dash of satire topped with humour, these stories make for a fresh and healthy diet as opposed to the stale diet of Disney princess stories. While the basic plot of each of the fairy tales remains the same, the difference lies in the narrative, factual and situational details and of course the ending which is way better than “happily-ever-after’! Who wouldn’t want to read about what happens to “Rapunzel” who imitates her astronaut mother and dares her barber-father into going against the “tradition” or who the real wolf is,  in the complex and layered “Red Riding Hood” or further learn about the princess who willingly becomes a “Sleeping beauty” or get inspired by no-longer-kitchen bound “Cinderella” who takes charge of her own life and gets her sisters to ‘share’  the house work or laugh along with the rebellious princess when the frog meets its destiny after being kissed by her or empathise with “Snow White” whose mother worries that she may not find a suitable groom due to her (hold your breath) her extra-ordinary fairness! Do all of them meet their respective Prince Charming….yes? But don’t expect wedding bells …simply enjoy the moment!

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Divya Purandar is a practising advocate, wife to an IT professional and mom to an eight year old brat. She began blogging at http://divya-onestoryaday.blogspot.in/ .while living in the US as she was fascinated by the world of children’s books. The blog gave her a platform to share her reading adventures while offering a brief review of the book in question. She has also reviewed children’s books for other parenting blogs and forums. What started out as a penning down of reading experiences with her little one has turned into a journey of self discovery and a sounding board for Divya’s parental musings.


One thought on “Book Review: Girls to the Rescue, for age 10+: A Must-Read for Girl Empowerment!

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    Thank you for this wonderful recommendation! We really need such books for our daughters. As you rightly point out, we have had enough of silly princesses who sit around waiting for their male rescuer. I am glad to see that Walt Disney is also slowly but surely changing their princesses and making them more self-reliant, independent and powerful. Long live Mulan and Tangled’s Rapunzel! This is one book I will definitely pick up for my daughter – I want to read it too!

    Reply

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