I’d rather bring out the Princess Within my Teen than the Drama Queen

Princess WithinTitle: The Princess Within for Teens
Author: Serita Ann Jakes
Genre: YA Nonfiction
I requested this book from the publisher and was thrilled to receive it.

This title caught my eye. As the mother of a tween, I’m always looking for tools to assist me in guiding her on this life journey. You all know I’m a librarian and she’s an avid reader. This makes books a great tool. We’ve found that it’s easier for us to discuss the actions of characters or people in the book then direct personal statements. Maybe I’m avoiding conflict or eye rolling… I choose to believe I’m being resourceful. So there. Given that, I selected this title because of the description from Amazon:

Girls of all ages want to feel like Cinderella at the ball. But maybe you feel more like Cinderella beforethe ball–overlooked, inadequate, hurting, maybe even used and abused. Sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful, in God’s eyes or your own, when something or someone has robbed you of your inner beauty.

Serita Ann Jakes understands those feelings. She knows how past failures and present hurts can prevent you from realizing your true identity in Jesus Christ. She has helped hundreds of girls work through personal struggles, and now she wants to help you. Whether you’re struggling with poor self-esteem, difficult friendships, family problems, secret shame, or something else, above all, she wants you to know, you are a princess! The daughter of a King!


Well, this is in keeping with our belief system so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll be honest, the author totally flew over my head. I was so excited about the book that I didn’t pay any mind to the author. When I received the book and saw that Serita Ann Jakes wrote the book, I was excited. I expected current and dynamic. I can certainly attest that she delivered on this.

The book has 17 chapters. Each chapter covers a different topic. This arrangement makes this a great resource for the tough topics. No need to assign the reading for cover to cover if you are in a crisis situation right now, just flip to your particular challenge and drive forward. Each chapter includes a modern day verse of fairy tale, a current playlist, a narrative of this particular challenge in real life, a teaching with real life application of the Word, and a prompt to consider this application within the teen’s own life. Some chapters also include additional activities such as quizzes to aid girls in some self discovery.

What I liked about the book: The book is current. The playlist contains current artists and some classics. Current real life challenges are addressed such as social media. Jakes bares all in an effort to be true to the needs of young women. This honesty creates a book that isn’t preachy or authoritative. Instead Jakes is approachable and leads from a been-there-done-that perspective that would rarely be accepted from a parent but always from a ‘cool’ aunt.

What didn’t work for me: The obvious answer is that my daughter is a tween. The content of this book is beyond her level, more on that in a moment. But due to the current focus of this book, I’m concerned it would lose it’s appeal to my daughter by the time she’s ready for the content. To be clear, I think the topics will all still be relevant. But in 5 or 6 years, a teen might think that the older songs are an excuse to think the views are outdated. This book is the book that you buy now and give to a teen who needs it now.

Now about that content, Jakes pulls no punches. The first chapter opens with physical abuse and a gun to her head. Talk about jumping right in – to what felt like a shock of cold water to me! But this book isn’t written for me. It’s written for teens who might think grown ups don’t get it. Jakes makes it clear she does.

The only thing that really didn’t work for me was the unpredictability of the chapters. Sometimes I thought I knew right where she was going and felt led astray. For example in Chapter 2, Jakes talks about being the only one not invited to the party. We’ve all had the experience and in fact we just had that here not too long ago. Instead of a discussion about feeling left out, the chapter veered to body image issues. I think it’s safe to say, being left out of the party has happened to all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re thin, thick, or anywhere in between you need to learn to cope with sometimes being on the outside looking in. Let’s not blame that on weight, it’s just life. I didn’t see that turn in the road and felt led astray.

Recommendations: Given the direct delivery of sensitive content such as sexual activity, this book is best aimed at teens who are 16 or above. Although if you have a 14 or 15 year old who is veering off course a bit, this book might deliver the wake up call needed before they get in too deep. But all of us, teen or adult need to read Chapter 14, Where Did the Time Go about hurry-itis.

I am opting not to hang on to this book due to the timeliness issues I stated previously. But I believe in the message and believe it will be well received by the Young Adults in my urban library system. Therefore, I’m turning it over to our Collection Development Librarian for consideration for it to be added to the collection.

What are your book recommendations for teen girls coping with life?



Week in Review: July 4th edition

Outreach, Business Services, Budgets. This week has had it all! Here’s my wrap up:

After a bit of a struggle, I’ve figured out how to download this video:

Community Spotlight – Henry Co. Library System from SCB TV 15 on Vimeo.

to archive for future use on my digital portfolio 🙂 Yay me. I know it’s completely minor for most of you but I’ve had some pretty big fish to fry lately. If you want to see me – I’m the second half of the Library duo.

Other notables of the week:

I received The Princess Within for Teens: Discovering Your Royal Inheritance by Serita Ann Jakes for review. Bonus 🙂

I am working my way through editing book review submissions for Georgia Library Quarterly. Georgia Library Quarterly is the professional journal for Georgia Librarians in all fields. In addition to professional content, librarians offer book reviews. We review works both fiction and nonfiction which focus on Georgia and the South. This is my first time around editing for them in Chicago Manual of Style. I’m sure I’ll get quicker but right now the learning curve is creating a log jam with my time.

I have an Outreach Library! – I share most of this stuff on twitter –

I’ve been offered a free spot at a farmers market. My suggestion for libraries: Farmers Market: Be there. The farmers market was by far the best return on my time investment for all of my outreach efforts up to this point. Over 200 people walked by my booth. Of them, 40 or so stopped to learn more about the library and our services. Well over half of those were surprised by a service that they didn’t know we offered. Some were frequent library users. Most were not. I’m trying the ‘book dealer’ approaching to hooking users. I’m making non-circulating paperbacks available at the market and other outreach events. Hopefully they bring them back to me or one of our branches. Eventually, I’ll give enough books away for free that folks will be willing to get a library card for an even greater collection of FREE books!! 

Another big project: Business Services took a huge stride forward last week with a meeting between the Small Business Development Center, the Development Authority, SCORE & me (public library). I went in with my own concept of how to work with these entities. Good news: I shut my mouth and listened instead of speaking. I learned I was a bit off track AND exactly what they were looking for and willing to provide. I’m now very excited that this project is moving forward in a new direction with full support of some very good assets and contributors. When it’s really rolling out I’ll update you.

And on a personal note, life has been too busy to even really cook! Yikes. But I’m learning to appreciate yummy food that can be created in stages. Here’s what I’ve done step by step all week long: Homemade Twix bar cookies.

Pure food post:

Try some chicken & waffles on for size:

Cornbread waffles:
24 oz cornmeal
1/2 t baking soda
2 T maple syrup
2 c milk
5 eggs
1/2 c applesauce
1 t maple flavoring
1/2 t cinnamon
Mix well. Cook on waffle iron.
Warning these will fill ya up fast! No big eyes!!! I kept mine within a reasonable diet with grilled chicken, a sprinkle of cheddar & a side of seasoned beans.