Written by K. Wind Hughes & Linda Wolf
Photography by Linda Wolf
Published by New Society Publishers
Daughters of the Moon, Sisters of the Sun is a fantastically interesting, unusual, and useful book about that most frightening of stages in a woman’s life: the transition to womanhood from childhood. It is a collection of stories and narratives from a group of twenty-one teenage girls in a focus group, along with the mentors with whom they worked. The focus group was conducted on a weekly basis over a period of two years, and so the thoughts contained in this book are very mature and in-depth, the result of genuine thought and much mental work.
The book is arranged thematically, with each chapter devoted to a particular issue confronting womanhood, such as “the Emerging Self” and “Finding Our Power.” Each topic presents talks from both the girls in the focus group and from the mentors with whom they worked. They touch upon such vital issues as “Kids Having Kids,” girls in sports, aging, drug abuse, and relationships with men. In a day when more and more parents are frustrated by their inability to get their children to talk to them, this book is a breath of fresh air and could be the key that opens those dialogues.
While the individual names of young women may not ring any bells in readers’ minds, some of the mentors will be known to readers. Examples include Maya Angelou, the Indigo Girls, Carol Gilligan, and Starhawk, whose artistic, academic, and literary works also serve to empower and inform women of all ages.
While this book is primarily of use to young girls, boys should find a wealth of information to help them in their search for a good self, as well. Especially in these days of increased gender equality, men could benefit from understanding which “feminine” virtues they could embrace, as well as the struggles facing the other half of their species, their sisters and friends.
My only small quibble with this book is that there is no index. For parents and children alike wanting to revisit specific topics or even follow a single voice throughout the book, it would have been quite helpful to have had even a rudimentary index. This book is, however, the sort of book readers will mark up again and again, as they read it repeatedly, loan to their friends, and then read again as they grow older and wiser.
This book is not only suitable for girls over the age of ten or so, it is, I would say, necessary. Even fully grown women could benefit from reading and considering the ideas contained in this book. For a society that lacks the necessary rites of passage, the transition to adulthood can be a terrifying and challenging time. Now, at least girls are helped by the arrival of this book. We can only hope that a companion book to help guide boys to responsible manhood will follow. Get this today for any girl you love and watch it help her grow into a wonderful woman. All teachers from middle school to college should also have a copy of this book in their bag of tricks, to stimulate classroom discussion and to subtly help their students to confront and consider these issues.
Review submitted by Dindrane
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