Franco, Betsy. Things I have to tell you by teenage girls. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2001
This book is a collection of thirty poems, stories, and essays by young women age 12-18 from across the country. They tell their stories of their adolescence and how they made it through this challenging time of their life. The purpose was to give hope to everyone who reads it. The black and white photographs were how teenage girls fill their days like the mall, putting on make-up, taking a bath, and playing outside. The girls in the photographs did not read or write the poems.
The teenage girls who wrote these poems express how they feel the world is treating them. "The poetry offers a search for their identity" (Publisher's Weekly). Especially in relationships with friends and boys. Many of the poems have to do with the obsession of looks and being thin. Why the world stresses the ideal girl is thin. It deals with the pressures teenage girls face like sex and drugs. It talks about how they find the strength to deal with the pressures. It reminded me of my adolescence. Bad Hair Day reminded me of meeting boys the first time and Words reminded me of my father who always told me to never say "I can't". He always said it was another way of saying "I won't". I think teenage girls could really relate to reading this book of poems and prose. It would help them realize what they are going through is normal. "Teens will listen and see themselves" (Booklist).
"In allowing the words of teens from across the nation to shine through, without polishing or pushing, Franco has succeeded in compiling one of the brightest collections out there today. In a mixture of prose and poetry, the young women express their fears, dreams, relationships, and angst." School Library Journal
"The poetry and pictures offer glimpses into the writers' raw anger, budding sexuality and search for identity. Publishers Weekly
"Betsy Franco has collected the voices of a wide range of girls in poetry and immediate prose that speak with power and uncertainty....Teens will listen and see themselves." Booklist
An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
An American Library Association Quick Pick
An International Reading Association Young Adults' Choice
A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
Children's Literature Choice List Title