You Don't Have to Be Everything -- review of new poetry book for young adult girls about growing up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

April is a month full of things I care about. We just had Easter weekend. April 2nd is World Autism Day. Earth Day is fast approaching, and it is National Poetry Month. I shared the first book last week that is a great one to share on Earth Day and will be sharing more this month. Today I want to focus on a new poetry book. It is You Don't Have to Be Everything edited by Diana Whitney. It was released March 30th. 

Let's face it growing up is tough and it is especially tough on girls these days! Diana Whitney has put together a collection of poems by different poets that she wishes she had to read and relate to when she was growing up. The poems range in topics and are by many different female poets from all walks of life. Some deal with race, sexuality, as well as just everyday feelings and events. She has the book divided into eight chapters of emotions. They are emotions that every girl feels at some point growing up.

The poems are powerful and many resonate with my own memories of growing up and others describe a life I didn't have--I'm white, I'm heterosexual, etc. As you can see from the contents there are many different poets represented including Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman. The pages contain illustrations that help the reader with the poems as well as just decorative pages. The pages are colorful and yet simple. 

Some poems are written in a certain manner to portray part of the meaning and this book shares them how they are meant to be shared. You can see what I mean in "Black Daughter's Pointillism" by Amanda Gorman below.

This book is recommended for ages 12 to 18. As I read it I am not sure my 12-year-old is ready for some of its topics. There are poems about sex and other mature topics. However I do think many of the poems would be helpful to her as she grows up and relates to what other girls go through (being the same and different from her). I love how the poems are shared in the categories so if you are feeling anger, you could read poems on rage and perhaps help release your own feelings. If you are feeling lonely, you can read poems in the loneliness chapter and realize others feel the same way as you. Each chapter also has an introduction explaining the topic/feeling and how it can be felt in life. 

At the end of the book is information about each of the poets as well as the illustrators of the book. This book is perfect for every teenage girl growing up in today's world. I know everyone relates to poems differently but there will be poems that resonate with each girl and help her to feel more "normal" and accepted in this world while going through such a difficult stage of life. I hope you will check it out!