The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Summer Reading VI: Queen Bees & Wannabes

My principal had recommended the book Queen Bees and Wannabes last year, but I never had time to read it. So when I saw it at a garage sale a few weeks ago and found out that the books were free, I immediately snatched it up (along with a few dozen other books). I started reading it in the evening and then read almost the entire book during my train ride to New York (including the eight hours at Union Station in Chicago.) I recently signed up to Goodreads, incidentally, and posted a review of this book by Rosalind Wiseman. It is as follows:

Queen Bees and Wannabes is a MUST-READ for any parent, teacher, or concerned adult who has or works with adolescent girls! The first two chapters do a fantastic job of explaining the different social roles that girls often adopt, and how parents fit into a girl’s world. I would recommend every parent and daughter read these two chapters together and discuss the content.

The remainder of the book takes the reader through different situations girls may experience, such as being excluded from a group, peer influence, boys, dating, sex, drugs, parties, and assault. My one major complaint about the book is that Rosalind Wiseman takes a somewhat defeatist attitude toward adolescent girls’ use of drugs, alcohol, having sex, and going to parties. Rather than encourage them to avoid these negative behaviours, she essentially says, “Oh, well, girls are going to do these things anyway, so the only thing you can do is teach them how to do them responsibly.” Also, Ms. Wiseman’s chapter describing boys and their roles noticeably lack any positive roles for boys.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the book. It was an easy read, written in very plain language, and gave realistic suggestions for working with adolescent girls. One of the more important features are Ms. Wiseman’s “potential landmines”: things that parents and teachers can say that inadvertently set off teens!


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