Bridget Farr on Using Your Voice and Margie Kelly Breaks the Dress Code
In fifth grade, my favorite shirt read, “Jack and Jill ran up the hill. Jill won. Girls dominate.” Girl power ruled the day just as we girls planned to dominate our own lives. My favorite book series, Dear America, featured girls during important moments of history; their lives personalizing events normally told from the perspectives of old white men. Inspired and hopeful that my own diary would be worthy of publication, I began referring to my “dearest grandfather” and “darling mummy,” certain a British accent would lend me the necessary clout. Apparently, I didn’t realize that the voice I should want people to listen to was my own.
Girl power shirts aside, I also had women in my life who reminded me my voice was important. After moving to a new town too late to test into the advanced reading program, my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Schrader, made an entire curriculum just for me. Having now taught myself, I’m awed at the extra hours she put in to make sure I got what I needed. Likewise, Mrs. Hessen, my third grade teacher, encouraged me to move from the sidelines of the basketball court to state champion in the free throw shooting competition. And my mom was my biggest supporter, reading all of my notebook stories and covering my first book about mermaids in leftover seashell wallpaper.