The Daring Book for Girls

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A while ago, Neatorama reviewed Conn and Hal Iggulden's bestseller The Dangerous Book for Boys - a manual for boys on how to rediscover fun and adventure. But what about girls? Sure, today's girls have emails, iPods, cell phones, and other things that their mothers couldn't imagine when they were young girls, but for many, something is missing.

That something is the magic of girlhood: stories, crafts, outdoor activities and plain good old fashioned fun that young girls had been doing for decades before the age of the Web. To help today's girls take a break from the digital life and recapture a little of that "magic" is Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz's book The Daring Book for Girls.

Daring picks up where Dangerous left off: the beautifully bound, blue and sparkly (yes, sparkly!) book covers over 100 topics ranging from how to play hopscotch, press a flower, make friendship bracelets, to how to build a fort (it's not just for boys, you know).

Forgot how to play Four Square? Wonder what the slumber party classic "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board" game is all about? … And how does that campfire song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" go again? (girls, a tip: your parents looove this song, especially if you sing it for them over and over again on long car trips!) Well, The Daring Book for Girls got you covered.

In addition to the neat how-to's, the book also has great stories about famous women in history: queens and princesses, sportswomen, explorers and inventors (excerpted on Neatorama here). It has an article about women spies (did you know that during World War I, the counter-intelligence agency MI-5 used Girl Guides - the British version of Girl Scouts - to deliver secret messages because Boy Scouts couldn't do the job properly?) The book also has a list of women pirates (think Blackbeard was tough? Read about Ching-Shih, the early 19th century commander of the infamous and undefeated Red Flag Fleet. She commanded about 1,800 ships and 80,000 pirates!)

True to its name, The Daring Book for Girls itself does a daring thing: it tries to explain the mysterious, gross and yet fascinating beings called … boys! But you have to read the book yourself to find out what. (To my daughter Maddy, who might be reading this in a few years' time: ignore boys until you're twenty five, please.)

On a personal note, this is a book I truly looked forward to reviewing. I've heard good things about it. Andi and Miriam were interviewed on the Today Show and there are tons of great reviews in the blogosphere. The book is already a bestseller (it's ranked #9 on Amazon's after just a couple of weeks on sale). When I got the book, it was readily apparent that it was not just hype: the book really delivered. This is the sort of classic book that I will keep so when my daughter is old enough, we can go over it together.

Get a FREE The Daring Book for Girls Book

Now, the good folks at HarperCollins are generously sponsoring a book giveaway. For a FREE copy of The Daring Book for Girls, visit the website and leave a comment below about your most memorable experience or activity with your mother/daughter/sister, or an advice for a fun activity you can do together with your child. Best 20 comments win. Good luck!

Links: The Daring Book for Girls official website | at HarperCollins | Authors' websites: Andi Buchanan, Miriam Peskowitz. For your convenience, here's the Amazon link.

See also our accompanying article, an excerpt of A Short History of Women Inventors and Scientists.

This review and book giveaway are sponsored by HarperCollins.

Update 11/30/07: Thank you for your comments, guys! They were amazing and it was really difficult to pick the best ones. I had emailed the winners and will get the book shipped asap. Thank you again for participating!

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

when i was a little girl i use to be in a girl scout troop with my mother, she was a leader. one time we all went camping, i was about seven. it was night time, and we had just finished putting our tents up. we started a fire to roast marshmallows and to tell ghost stories around. "the man could hear the heart pounding from under the floor boards" aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! someone had screamed and trust me when i tell you, it was not part of the story. then someone pointed a flashlight into the long bare trees. and all i saw were eyes. it was a raccoon. my mother got up and within a second she was deep inside our tent. everyone was yelling because my mother knocked everyone over on her way in. to this day me and my friends still make fun of my mother. luckily she laughs along. i love my mother.
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Kind of a sad and happy memory together. Dad died in WWII and mom placed us in a boarding school in Quincy Illinois while she moved to New York, I guess to try and get a career there. She would come by train to visit and take us to town and buy us lunch at the drug store and a little something. We were only there one year.
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Wow - great input, guys! This has got to be one of the best set of comments on Neatorama yet. I've emailed the winners and will get your book mailed out asap.

@Leah Jet #51 - got your entry late. It would've won had it been submitted earlier. Sorry!
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One of my most memorable and exciting experiences with my unsuspectingly tenacious little 82 year old grandmother, who was terrified of spiders but had no fear whatsoever of snakes. She and I would make the 2 hour walk to the top of the hill at her ranch home every few months - it was her unspoken test to see if she 'still had it'and I loved having her all to myself outside in our favourite place - nature! She would often remind me to watch where I was setting my foot, to stay aware of snakes. The deadly king brown and the black snake was rife in our area, but I didn't care as long as I was with my beloved grandmother!

We would sit on a hollowed out log at the halfway point up the hill and eat some nuts and an apple and she would tell me of when her father drove bullock teams over the wild mountain ranges. Grandma was one of 18 children, she told me many stories of her siblings' mischief. There was this one time the twins, 3 years old, were very quiet-too quiet, so grandma went through the house to look and found them both on the front step with their bowls of milk on the bottom step, tea spoons in hand and a huge king brown stretched out with it's head going over to one twin's bowl lapping the milk, then the little girl would tap the snake on the head and say "Get!" and giggle like little girls do and the snake would turn it's head to the other twins' bowl and take a drink until the other twin tapped the snake onthe head and said "Get!" My grandmother was HORRIFIED! But what could she do? The snake played with the girls for 10 minutes going on like this, letting the twins tap it on the head - the snake was enjoying a game with the girls!
The snake just slid away when it had had enough to drink and to my grandmothers amazement the twins seemed to accept the snakes' presence as though it were a pet dog or cat!

I asked her did she kill the snake and she said she sent the boys to 'smoke it out'... (so yeah, I suppose it disappeared after that).
Those twins are still alive and they remember that snake...

Grandma had many, many stories of pioneer life in the bush. From what I can gather it was very wild, not at all fancy - they slept on bags of hulled corn cobs as mattresses because in the Great Depression there WERE no mattresses!

I'd better stop there, I could go on as she did, for hours!

I hope you enjoyed the snake story! xx :)
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I am an elementary school teacher and I love to inspire girls. This past week I held my first mother/daughter doll night at my elementary school. It was a huge success. Girls and mothers came together for the evening to celebrate books, hair and fashion. Th event is displayed at

I just found out about this book and am looking forward to using it for my next mother/daughter event.
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