Strong Is the New Pretty
by Brianna and Ariel
In which Brianna and Ariel review and discuss a book that has been labeled a must-read for all parents of girls. This post contains affiliate links. By using them, you're helping to support Busy Nest News. Thanks!
Strong Is the New Pretty, by Kate T. Parker
Strong is the New Pretty is a collection of photos captured and compiled by photographer Kate T. Parker. While photographing her own girls and their friends, she noticed that the most beautiful pictures captured them when they were being most themselves. These moments could occur during a moment of quiet reflection, intense competition, or any time in between. Parker set out to capture girls of all ages and backgrounds doing what they do best: being truly themselves. The result is a massive collection of stunning portraits of various girls laughing, playing, winning, and learning. Parker’s own girls, Ella and Alice, make many appearances within these pages, and it’s fun picking them out. Accompanying every photo is a brief quote from its subject, reflecting on what strength means to them, explaining what they were thinking in the moment, or telling a bit of their story. Parker captured the girls’ images, but the stories within this compilation are all theirs.
Brianna: Where to even begin? The photos and quotes in this book just blew me away. Not to mention, some of these girls are so focused and hardcore, it’s enough to make anyone who isn’t an Olympian or Nobel Laureate feel like a bit of a slacker. What were your impressions or favorite parts?
Ariel: I loved Strong Is the New Pretty! I went in not knowing what to expect. I was preoccupied worrying that this book, like so many others that claim to be about ‘girls being themselves,’ would have an agenda to push. But I didn’t feel that at all. I felt that Strong is the New Pretty really was girls being girls no matter what that meant. Parker didn’t shy away from contradictions. My favorite part was the quotes from the younger generations. The four-, five-, and six-year-olds have such a quirky way of looking at life that you can’t help but smile. Like Alice, age 6 “I can be whatever I want, even a unicorn.” What was your favorite part?
Brianna: I think my favorite part was the quotes, too. The quotes combined with the pictures. Both are a type of snapshot, but together they convey so much of these girls’ personalities. My favorite was from Briel, age 7 "I am into all animals, except spiders. I have three things I want to be when I grow up: a zookeeper, a paleontologist, and I forgot the third." So great. So real!
Now, we selected this book thinking that it was a parenting book. It’s safe to say that it was not at all what we expected, but do you think that it’s important or interesting for parents to read nevertheless?
Ariel: Absolutely! Especially if you have a daughter. If I believed in coffee table books, I would keep Strong is the New Pretty proudly displayed. Somewhere Bean can pick it up on a whim and casually leaf through the pictures giving her more ways of identifying as a female. Because that is what is so powerful about this book. It broadens our definition of what being female means. How about you? What do you think?
Brianna: I agree. Representation matters. This book is an easy way to enculturate your kids, boys or girls, to believe that girls can be just about anything. I love the idea of gorgeous coffee table books, but I just know that they cannot fit into my life at this moment. We will, however, be checking it out of the library again as Monkey gets older.
If your family does coffee table books, or you're looking for something inspirational and motivating for a kid in your life who loves poring over photo books, this is surefire winner. We're giving it four eggs, because as delightful as it is, we can't really justify keeping it on our shelves. It's a specific type of book that won't work full-time in everyone's home, but it's great for what it is- a beautiful collection of powerful pictures and charming quotes from active and happy girls.
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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