A Mighty Girl
Today's A Mighty Girl Community Pick: "Maybe He Just Likes You" by Barbara Dee. It starts the day seventh-grader Mila wears a fuzzy green sweater to school -- and suddenly, several boys insist on hugging her, even when she doesn't want to.
Before long, there are smirks, comments about her body, and the unwanted touching is happening even when she doesn't wear the sweater, leaving Mila feeling confused, frustrated, and a little scared.
But when she talks to her friends about it, they leave her even more perplexed; one tries to smooth everything over, one insists she should tell the male vice principal she's being bullied, and one tells her she's immature for overreacting to the boys "just flirting" -- after all, she says, maybe he just likes you. With her divorced mother stressed over a recent job loss, Mila doesn't know where to turn for help. Fortunately, a few new friends and a confidence boost from karate classes help her figure out how to set boundaries, stand up for herself, and seek out the adult support she needs to put an end to the harassment.
This timely and important novel explores issues of sexual harassment and consent in a nuanced way that's still accessible to middle grade readers and young teens. Mila's uncertainty and discomfort feel authentic, and her inner monologue will help kids understand how such harassment, which can often be subtle at first, can be confusing and lead to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Author Barbara Dee draws a clear line between wanted, reciprocal flirtation and Mila's experience with harassment, emphasizing the importance of listening to and respecting a peer's boundaries. This empowering book is a valuable one to discuss with both tween girls and boys, and will hopefully encourage girls in the same situation to speak up and seek out the help they need. Highly recommended for ages 10 and up.
"Maybe He Just Likes You" is available at https://www.amightygirl.com/maybe-he-just-likes-you For two more books for tweens that explore peer-based sexual harassment, we also recommend "That's What Friends Do" (https://www.amightygirl.com/that-s-what-friends-do) and "How to Be a Girl in the World" (https://www.amightygirl.com/how-to-be-a-girl-in-the-world), both for ages 10 and up
To start teaching children -- girls and boys alike -- from a young age about the need to respect others and their personal boundaries, check out "Let's Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent, and Respect" for ages 4 to 7 (https://www.amightygirl.com/body-boundaries) and "My Body! What I Say Goes!" for ages 3 to 7 (https://www.amightygirl.com/my-body)
For two books to help tweens and teens feel confident when standing up for themselves and others, check out “Stand Up For Yourself and Your Friends” for age 7 to 12 (https://www.amightygirl.com/stand-up-for-yourself-and...) and “Express Yourself: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are” for age 13 and up (https://www.amightygirl.com/express-yourself-guide)
Barbara Dee is also the author of "My Life in the Fish Tank" which explores mental illness (https://www.amightygirl.com/my-life-in-the-fish-tank), "Everything I Know About You" about eating disorders (https://www.amightygirl.com/everything-i-know-about-you), and the new release "Violets Are Blue" about addiction (https://www.amightygirl.com/violets-are-blue), both for ages 10 to 13