Do you have a daughter and want to engage in activities with her to build confidence and empowerment?
I was recently contacted by Melissa Foley, founder of Hopscotch Girls. Hopscotch Girls is a company that uses media to empower girls. She has published two books, I am Confident, Brave and Beautiful and Outdoor Sports Sticker Adventure.
When I received I am Confident, Brave and Beautiful, A Coloring Book for Girls, I immediately loved the drawings and the message of the book. I also loved the message and vocabulary used throughout the book. Words such as sincere, intelligent, clever, strong, powerful and unique can help initiate wonderful conversations for both girls and boys alike.
How do you help your child learn this vocabulary? When I was coloring with my daughter, we discussed each word and how it relates to both of us. I asked her, What makes you unique? What makes you powerful? If your child has trouble answering these questions, answer first to give a good language model! I love this activity and wanted to learn more about other ways to use the coloring activity.
I wanted to ask Melissa Foley about some questions about her company, Hopscotch Girls and her two publications.
Hopscotch Girls uses media to empower girls. We believe in strong female role models, reinforcing a healthy body image, inspiring confidence, and encouraging STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. I started the company after my three year old daughter was inundated with princess gifts for her birthday, including a book pushing girls to pledge to never complain. I asked my family members why they chose so much princess stuff for such a young girl and they responded with “That’s what’s available!”
I did some research and they’re right! The children’s media market is dominated by male-centric, stereotype-reinforcing media. Experts say this kind of media can be very damaging to young girls (princesses can magnify stereotypes, etc.). I decided to flip this on its head and use media to build girls up instead of tearing them down.
I wrote the text for the coloring book myself, and worked with an illustrator to make my vision a reality. From talking with other parents (and being a parent to a young girl myself) I knew what kind of qualities parents were hoping to instill in their girls (strength, independence, bravery, etc.). I liked the idea of emphasizing how multidimensional girls are, so I balanced these with some softer qualities (creative, loving, etc.). I tried to put myself in the shoes of a young girl and think about what each of these qualities might look like to her. That became the inspiration for each of the illustrations.
The coloring book was designed to inspire girls, as well as conversations with adults about what it means to be a girl. Parents are the best teachers, and the book makes these conversations easier by giving them structure and making them fun. Parents can color with girls, help decipher the drawings, or answer questions about the words in the book. Some of the terms in the book spark these conversations naturally because they are less common or challenging – like “inventive” on the “I Am Inventive” page. Parents can help kids understand what a term means and think through how it applies to their own family.
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