The best sexual harassment books

Many authors have picked their favorite books about sexual harassment and why they recommend each book.

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Somebody's Daughter

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

Book cover of Somebody's Daughter

Somebody’s Daughter is a thought-provoking read for parents on how you might handle an inappropriate video of your child being shared over social media. One of the most intriguing parenting aspects of this book is how the mom and dad dealt with their daughter’s dilemma so differently. Especially since the mom almost viewed the dad’s way of handling it as detrimental. It offered an invaluable gut-check on what I would do if I were put in the same situation.

Who am I?

I'm a mom of two daughters who is fascinated with reading nonfiction parenting books and listening to parenting-related podcasts. My absolute favorite, though, is when fiction authors take a dense parenting topic and turn it into a relatable and engaging story so that readers can explore the same important issues and challenges in a more enjoyable way.

I wrote...

Mom Walks: Starting in 5th

By Rebecca Prenevost,

Book cover of Mom Walks: Starting in 5th

What is my book about?

Mom Walks: Starting in 5th is the first book in a four-book women’s fiction series that follows a mom and her two best mom friends as they navigate the craziness of parenting tweens. The books are light, relatable, and heart-warming stories about mother-daughter relationships, mom friendships, and parenting tweens through issues like mean girl drama, first crushes, materialism, and cell phones. The series is sometimes described as The Baby-Sitters Club, but for moms.

We Should All Be Feminists

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Book cover of We Should All Be Feminists

This is a short, readable book that makes a compelling case about feminism and how it has a positive impact on society. It is easy to take in and very accessible. It encourages us all to talk about issues of equality and disparity and understand how we can all move forward together.

Who am I?

I grew up in an Italian-American, Catholic household. Early in life, I was told I couldn’t be an altar boy. When I asked my mom why, she told me that girls weren’t altar boys…that seemed ridiculous to me and it started me on a lifelong journey of advocating for the rights of women and girls. I have built a career out of pushing for better laws and policies to provide women the same opportunities and resources as men. I’ve served as Chief of Staff to two U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill, General Counsel in the Executive Branch, and in senior leadership in the non-profit sector.

I wrote...

Take Action: Fighting for Women & Girls

By Stephenie Foster,

Book cover of Take Action: Fighting for Women & Girls

What is my book about?

Take Action: Fighting for Women and Girls is a well-sourced and important toolkit covering advocacy & activism, with specific information about four issues related to girls, women, and gender equality—the power and importance of education, expanding economic opportunities, eliminating gender-based violence and participating in politics and public life. Filled with loads of tangible resources—such as specific questions to ask, ideas for identifying decision makers, influencers, and organizations that can help, books and movies that inspire action…

Would-be activists will start their work, stay focused and goal-oriented and make positive change in the world, while finding themselves referring back to this guide again and again.

Golden Handcuffs

By Polly Courtney,

Book cover of Golden Handcuffs

Although this novel focuses on the world of investment banking, I list it here because it shows the difference between being a female working in finance and being a male working in finance; like This is what happens, it shows the impact of sexism on one woman's professional life, her dream, her ambition, her failure to achieve the former despite the latter.

I read it quite a while ago but was reminded of it while reading recently about the recent Martin/Nicole thing (wherein they switched email addresses, so Martin experienced what it was like to be Nicole for a couple of weeks) ("Folks, it sucked" was his summary).  

Who am I?

I started keeping a journal when I was fifteen. Ten years later, I had the raw material for Fugue, a portrait of the artist as a young woman (I had read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) that ends in celebration, rather than suicide (I had also recently read Plath's The Belljar). It did not get published. Thirty years later, I had so little, far too little, to celebrate.  The portrait had become one of relentless frustration and persistent failure, despite my continued effort ... so much effort ... And so I wrote This is what happens, dedicating it to all the passionate, hard-working, competent women — it's not you. 

I wrote...

This is what happens

By Chris Wind,

Book cover of This is what happens

What is my book about?

How is it that the girl who got the top marks in high school ends up, at fifty, scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets for minimum wage, living in a room above Vera’s Hairstyling, in a god-forsaken town called Powassan? 

Tracing the life of one woman through three juxtaposed voices—the fresh, impassioned protagonist speaking through her journals from the age of fifteen; the sarcastic, now-fifty protagonist commenting about the events of her life, occasionally speaking to her younger self; and the dispassionate narrator—the novel will resonate most with older women, but it is younger women, and men, who most need to read it.  Because this is what happens

The Ship We Built

By Lexie Bean,

Book cover of The Ship We Built

This heartbreaking and powerful novel tells the story of fifth-grader Rowan, who isn’t a girl even though everyone thinks he is, but also isn’t the “right kind” of boy. At night, his dad comes into his room and does things Rowan can’t talk about with anyone. Silenced or ignored by everyone around him, Rowan writes letters expressing his thoughts, feelings, and dreams; he attaches them to balloons and sends them out into the universe. When he befriends a classmate who is as much of an outsider as he is, Rowan slowly begins to open his heart, and to speak up. I loved this novel both because of Rowan’s determination to be who he knows he is and because of the unexpected support he finds on his journey.

Who am I?

In That’s What Friends Do, the #MeToo experience that Sammie’s mom shares with Sammie is my story. I was thirteen. I never told anyone. Even as I started writing my novel, it didn’t occur to me to share with my husband, or my teenage children, my experience. But one evening, as the #MeToo movement was exploding in the media, I was sitting around a dinner table with several other couples. All of the women had had a #MeToo experience. Most of us were young teens when it happened. Shame and guilt had kept us silent for far too long. My novel – and the others on my list – are working to break through that silence.

I wrote...

That's What Friends Do

By Cathleen Barnhart,

Book cover of That's What Friends Do

What is my book about?

Samantha Goldstein and David Fisher have been friends ever since they met on their town’s Little League baseball team. But when a new kid named Luke starts hanging out with them, what was a comfortable pair becomes an awkward trio.

Luke’s flirting make Sammie feel uncomfortable—and David so jealous that he decides to make a move on the friend he’s always had a crush on. But things go all wrong and too far, and Sammie and David are both left feeling hurt, confused, and unsure of themselves, without anyone to talk to about what happened. As rumors fly around the school, David must try to make things right (if he can) and Sammie must learn to speak up about what’s been done to her.

Maybe He Just Likes You

By Barbara Dee,

Book cover of Maybe He Just Likes You

As the title suggests, this book asks readers to think about how to tell when action is required to bring justice to a situation. Mila finds herself on the receiving end of unwanted attention from boys in her class, but her friends tell her she’s overreacting. What’s a hug or a touch from a boy? It’s all just playful flirting, right? But it doesn’t feel playful or fun to Mila. In the end, Mila sets the record straight and makes her feelings heard. The ending features a restorative circle, which is an in-school version of the restorative justice process Gabe goes through in my own book.

Who am I?

As a parent, I’ve been struck by the fierce sense of justice my children have, from the unfairness of one getting more screen time to bigger injustices, like bullying or discrimination. Kids have an innate sense of what’s right, of what’s fair, but they can also lack a sense of nuance and have rather Byzantine notions of what justice requires. I wrote Wayward Creatures to explore a different way of thinking about justice and accountability. Restorative justice practices seek to bring the offending party together with the people hurt by their actions to acknowledge the harm caused and find a solution together. These five books explore other aspects of what it means to seek justice.

I wrote...

Wayward Creatures

By Dayna Lorentz,

Book cover of Wayward Creatures

What is my book about?

Twelve-year-old Gabe is frustrated with his family, his friends—his whole life, if he’s perfectly honest. In a desperate attempt to recapture the attention of his friends, Gabe sets off fireworks in the woods near his house and ignites a forest fire. A coyote named Rill—tired of her family and longing for adventure—is caught in the chaos of the flames. 

Gabe’s and Rill’s paths irrevocably cross when Gabe is tasked with cleaning up the forest through the court’s restorative justice program. The damage to the land and both their lives is beyond what the two can imagine. But together, they discover that sometimes it only takes one friend to find the place where you belong.

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