“Strong is the New Pretty”: Twelve months of girls kicking butt

“Strong is the New Pretty” is a 12-month calendar with photographs by Kate T. Parker. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman

Here’s to girl power.

Pam LeBlanc, age 9.

When I was a kid, I scrapped in the mud, rode horses, set up tents in the backyard, and hiked. They called me a Tom Boy. I hated to wear dresses, and when I was told I had to, I wore long pants underneath them. I also paired my favorite brown leather combat boots with everything – and I mean everything – in my closet.

I was shy, but – I think – fearless in my own way. Other kids teased me because I had buck teeth. That hurt, a lot, but it shaped who I am today. It forced me inside myself, where I developed my writer’s voice, which got me to where I am today: A very happy place.

All that brings me to why I love this calendar, titled “Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves” (Workman Publishing Co. Inc./$14.99). It reminds me of how I felt as a kid, and that despite the value society places on physical beauty, the beauty of a confident and strong inner self shines brighter.

The calendar features photographs by Kate T. Parker. Each one is accompanied by a quote from the girl in the picture.

Consider 5-year-old Alice, who is pictured with her arms spread wide, her mouth wide open, water splashing hard on her head: “I am really loud, and when I am happy I like to scream at the top of my lungs.”

Or 12-year-old Kylie, who says “Strong girls never lose. They only learn, and come back stronger.”

That’s a good message, for kids of all ages.

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