Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Book Review Club (November 2019)

Welcome to the November edition of The Book Review Club. Here's a little Thanksgiving trivia to help you dazzle everyone at the holiday dinner table. Turkey chicks are called pults or turkeylings. That wobbly bit on top of a turkey's beak is a snood. Minnesota raises the most turkeys. End of trivia.  Below my post are links to great reviews of recommended books. May they spark some holiday shopping. Books do make terrific gifts. Happy Thanksgiving in advance to all who celebrate. Gobble. Gobble.

by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman 
(children's non-fiction)

"Confidence is what turns our thoughts into action." (pg. 9).

The Confidence Code for Girls is a practical, accessible and encouraging book for tween and teen girls. Co-authored by two broadcast journalists, this book is written using lists (eg. Top Ten Failure Fixes), quizzes (eg. What's Your Failure Style?) comic strips, scientific research, exercises, and interviews with real girls from different cultures and backgrounds. A wide range of topics is discussed such as social media etiquette/safety, friendship choices, wearing a hijab, speaking up for yourself and much, much more. The tone is friendly, empowering, down to earth.

I love how the authors approach the F word. Failure. "But failure really does have an upside. It's not so much the failing, actually, but the recovered and learning that can be really valuable. It's all part of that critical confidence-building process...The lessons of failure get stamped onto our brains, something scientists call imprinting, more deeply than other kinds of experiences. When you fail, you can learn a ton of useful stuff, if you pay attention." (pg. 54)

I wish The Confidence Code for Girls had been around when I was in middle school and high school.  Recently, I was talking to a female friend, and we agreed we would've made some different choices back in the day if we'd had more self-assurance. If we'd learned to look at failure as a stepping stone instead of, uh, failure. If we'd learned to take action and smart risks early on.

There's an interesting section on female stereotypes and facts about women around the world (eg. "Countries with more gender equality are wealthier and healthier.")

I plan to read Kay and Shipman's The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance--What Women Should Know.

The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self is a book to have in your home, your classroom and your library.

(Dear FCC: library)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Phyllis Wheeler: DIARY OF A WIMPY KID #1 by Jeff Kinney (MG, contemporary)

Sarah Laurence: HOW TO BUILD A HEART by Maria Padian (YA, contemporary)


Linda McLaughlin: THE VINE WITCH by Luanne G. Smith (fantasy)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts (historical)
                                                      THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott (historical)

Margy Lutz: THE TESTAMENTS by Margaret Atwood (dystopian science fiction)

Patti Abbott:  THE BODY IN QUESTION by Jill Ciment (literary)


Ray Potthoff: THE BRITISH ARE COMING by Rick Atkinson (history)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. The Confidence Code sounds terrific, although the title is disappointing. It seems to imply that girls lack confidence and need this guide to fix their gendered weakness. However, I love that positive message about failure. Failure also teaches empathy and hopefully some degree of modesty. At MIT they used to tell us that if you're the smartest student in the room, you're in the wrong classroom. Great review and thanks for hosting!

  2. The Confidence Code sounds like a terrific book that many (all?) of us could have used as we grew up. I hope it gains some traction.

  3. This sounds like a great book for girls to read. Wish we'd had something like that when I was young.

  4. Thanks for hosting, Barrie. I just couldn't do one. Still teary...

  5. As a teen I stressed out a lot about failure, especially at school. Well, to be honest, I still don't like the thought of failing at something. Intellectually I can see learning from failure, but I can only get there after a period of contemplation. - Margy


Comments are always welcome!