Valentine’s Day can be so much more than a dozen roses and a box of chocolates. Skip the drugstore conversation hearts and pick up a book to freshen up shelves with stories about self-love and compassion. Whether it be a cheesy teenage romance novel or a motivational text preaching self-acceptance, mothers and teenage daughters alike will fall for these ten books about self-love.
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Ten Books About Self-Love for February
The Just Girl Project Book of Self Care by Ilana Harkavy
Both moms and daughters will not be able to put down this colorful whirlwind of a self-help book. Ilana Harkavy, author, and founder of online empowerment group Just Girl Project shares authentic anecdotes and tasteful tips on self-acceptance, mental health, body image, and more. Every page bursts with color by featuring illustrated quotes by Erica Lewis that are worthy of hanging on a bathroom mirror to serve as a daily reminder of female empowerment. Harkavy writes in a genuine and candidly humorous way, making each excerpt feel like a friend wrote it.
What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume
Try entering a beauty pageant when you’ve spent the majority of your life hiding your body. Meet 16-year-old Maisie, who recounts her summer in a diary-style novel by Jenna Guillaume. From a crush that does not like her back to a seemingly perfect sister making a mockery of Maisie’s comparatively subpar appearance, the candid and relatable nature of Guillaume’s storytelling makes turning the page that much easier. Following themes of body positivity and self-acceptance, What I Like About Me is sure to entertain and enthrall readers who need a little reminder before looking at themselves in the mirror.
Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown
For the daughter that prefers science over sappiness, professor and bestselling author Brené Brown’s work may just strike her interest. Using a compelling blend of research and storytelling, Brown shares ways to be productively vulnerable with one another. This book is an excellent choice for a mother-daughter book club as older and younger generations find the courage to share their feelings with those closest to them.
The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
Fans of poetry can’t miss Amanda Lovelace’s collection following a princess, a damsel, a queen, and “you” (a universal nod to readers). Lovelace modernizes stereotypical fairytale roles to fit themes of self-advocacy and confidence. Associating each of the “characters” with a period of her life, Lovelace recounts her journey of self-discovery, encouraging readers to live their best lives. Those nostalgic childhood tales will enjoy this contemporary, feminist approach to fantastic characters and journeys.
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Diehard followers of The Bachelor franchise will fall for Kate Stayman-London’s novel about Bea, a plus-sized fashion blogger selected to star in a reality dating show. Promising to enter the show not to fall in love but instead promote body positivity to viewers, Bea is quickly swept up in a tumultuous wave of unanticipated fame and eager suitors, leaving her to question what is real and what is scripted. This novel is essential for those wanting their reality TV fix, leaving readers with self-compassion and body advocacy themes.
What a Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue
Author Chidera Eggerue serves as a sassy life guru in this self-help book, combining aesthetic graphics with empowering messages to inspire readers to celebrate themselves. Bold colors and bolder themes make this manifesto necessary for anyone, especially teens and their moms. In the book’s three-section series, readers understand that putting themselves first should never be selfish when it fosters unashamed self-love and authenticity.
What Would Frida Do? by Arianna Davis
Known for her bold, creative spirit just as much as her world-renowned art, Frida Kahlo continues to serve as a confident, independent aspiration to women everywhere. Arianna Davis follows Kahlo’s approach to her career, love life, and style to inspire young women eager to make their mark in the world. This book encourages readers’ self-confidence and expression.
How to be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis
Literary classics have made us all susceptible to romanticizing our own lives – I mean, I can’t be the only one still wishing to be one of the March sisters from Little Women, right? Samantha Ellis’s memoir follows how her admiration for literary heroines impacted how she handled dilemmas growing up. Sprinkling in solutions to often relatable struggles, Ellis almost impersonates one of her admirable leading ladies by empowering readers to rethink the damsel-in-distress trope and instead become their saviors.
More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys
Multiple Grammy award-winning R&B singer Alicia Keys steps beyond the stage and offers a vulnerable look into her life in her autobiography. From her rise to fame, fight against female oppression, and continued self-discovery, Keys encourages readers to honor their worth. Apply the lyrics of her 2003 hit single “If I Ain’t Got You” to yourself as you recognize your power.
Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock
In this feminist poetry collection, spoken-word performer and poet Aija Mayrock emphasizes womens’ resilience. Heartwarming and truthful, Mayrock’s poems apply to both girls and women jointly grappling with unrealistic expectations and double standards. Touching on body positivity, the male gaze, and female empowerment, Dear Girl is the perfect paperback to pass from mother to daughter or friend to friend.
Bonus Book: You’re Strong, Smart and You Got This: Drawings, Affirmations, and Comfort to Help with Anxiety and Depression by Kate Allan
Whether you deal with social anxiety, depression, or are simply going through a rough patch, Kate Allan is here with her friendly animals to help. Negative thoughts can keep us from reaching our full potential, not to mention hold us back from attaining happiness. This book is a source of validation and encouragement for those moments when we need a reminder of our worth. Read more about Allan as part of the Girls That Create Creator Spotlight series.
Compiled by Brooke Weatherbie