In her 2017 best-selling book, Kate T. Parker wanted girls to embrace their strength and individuality.
Now, she’s giving them a road map.
In “Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls,” the Roswell photographer, Ironman and mother of two daughters encourages girls to write down their thoughts and ideas, then take action to ignite their creativity and build confidence.
“This takes it to the next level,” said Parker. “In the first book, I was trying to show the confidence and grit in girls. The journal basically takes those ideas and puts them into action. How do I become confident? How do I find my voice? How do I find my passion?”
The book, released by Workman Publishing ($13.95), offers girls ages 8-12 questions, activities, dares and creative ideas for them to do on a daily basis.
“It’s all about girls embracing who they are,” she said.
Parker will discuss and sign copies of her new book at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Milton Literary Festival at the Milton City Hall Complex.
In her first book, “Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves,” Parker included photos and bios of more than 200 girls across the nation.
Parker got the idea for the book after photographing and observing her daughters, Ella and Alice, who are now 13 and 10, respectively.
It was important to capture them as they were — sometimes messy, sometimes tomboys and sometimes sassy.
She wanted them to be comfortable in their own skins.
This book has fewer photos, but gives readers lots of chances to shape their own lives.
The second book could not have come at a better time.
The #MeToo movement. The confirmation hearings over the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
“Honestly, there’s so much divisiveness and what’s going on politically right now that we need to have that conversation about the worth of our girls,” she said. “I really feel like we need to validate it more than ever. They are worthy.”
For this project, she featured some of the girls from the nonprofit Girls on the Run of Atlanta, which uses running and physical activity to empower girls to develop self-esteem and health habits and build life skills.
Studies have shown that adolescent girls are at greater risks than boys of developing poor self-esteem and low expectations in life.
It’s a cycle that experts say is fueled, in part, by social media.
“Girls need as much positive and powerful messaging as they can get,” said Lea Rolfes, executive director of Girls on the Run.
She said young girls are bombarded by images they see in social media, music videos and television that often focus only on the outer beauty.
“They should be themselves and explore who they are,” she said. “… They compare themselves to others and can even edit their appearance in photos, not showing their true selves.”
Parker, though, is not just concerned about girls.
In April 2019, her third book, “The Heart of a Boy: Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood,” will be released by Workman ($30 for hardcover; $18.95 for paperback).
Talking to boys about self-esteem was not on her mind initially.
“Honestly, I didn’t see the need at first,” she said. She assumed boys didn’t need the message of self-worth and acceptance.
Then she started hearing from boys and their mothers. She discovered the expectations for boys were tremendous.
“It takes that message of who you are at your core is OK and extends it to sons and boys,” she said. “The message of acceptance of who you are is not a message just for girls or for boys. It’s a human message.”
Kate T. Parker, author of “Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls”
“A Picture Paints a Thousand Words” panel, Milton Literary Festival
3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Milton City Hall Complex, 2006 Heritage Walk, Milton. (The Children and Young Adults’ tent is located in the courtyard, in between City Hall and the Community Center building.) miltonliteraryfestival.weebly.com/.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.