Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time

Girl Rising, a book by Professional Writing professor, Tanya Lee Stone, inspires readers to get involved in their own communities, and gives them ideas for ways to make the world a better place for girls.

Nearly 98 million girls around the world do not have access to education. Whether their barriers to school are geographic, financial, or cultural, these girls will make on average half as much money as their educated counterparts, are more likely to get married before they turn 18, and have a higher risk of contracting HIV, among many other life-changing consequences.

Award-winning author and Professional Writing professor, Tanya Lee Stone, has written more than 100 books for young readers.

Since 2012, the United Nations have coordinated the International Day of the Girl on October 11 to focus attention on “the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights” (United Nations). 

Award-winning author and Professional Writing professor at Champlain College, Tanya Lee Stone, first saw Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time in 2013, when the documentary was first released. When she stepped out of the Roxy Theater in Burlington after the showing, Stone knew she needed to write.

She collaborated with the producers of the Girl Rising documentary to compile her book of the same name. The filmmakers provided her with hours of raw interview footage with girls from all around the world sharing their experiences, or lack thereof, with education. In total, she featured the stories of 25 girls, delving into difficult topics such as human trafficking, child marriage, and gender discrimination.

Mariama’s story is featured in Girl Rising. She was the first girl in her family to attend school, and went on to participate in a Girls Making Media program that taught her, and other girls, how to research, write, and put together radio shows.

It’s sometimes really easy for us to think, oh this happens to other people in other places, but really the single most powerful tool that we have to creating a functional and more healthy world, is to educate girls. 

Tanya Lee Stone

Over the course of her career, Stone has written more than 100 books, many of which focus on telling underrepresented stories from marginalized groups. Almost Astronauts, winner of the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Medal, tells the story of 13 women fighting discrimination to be the first women astronauts in 1961. Courage Has No Color, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award, shares the stories of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion—the first Black U.S. paratroopers. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors, listed in NPR’s Best Books of 2013, is a picture book biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the United States. 

Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time earned praise from Glamour (“Powerful…We love this book.”) and The Washington Post, and is featured along with I Am Malala and Half the Sky in the reading guide for Girls Opportunity Alliance, the Obama Foundation’s branch focused on girls education. Filled with stunning full-color photos and riveting stories, Girl Rising inspires readers to get involved in their own communities, giving them ideas for ways to make a difference in someone else’s life and make the world a better place for girls—and consequently for everyone else. After all, Stone asserts that, “Educating girls is our single most powerful tool to change the world.”

Sokha, who as a little girl lived in a garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, went on to attend the Zaman International School on a scholarship from Cambodia’s Children Education Fund.

Tanya Lee Stone is a professor and advisor in the Champlain College Division of Communication & Creative Media. She has published more than 100 books, and her narrative nonfiction book, Girl Rising, is now available in paperback from Random House Children’s Books at your local bookstore.

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