Wednesday, November 6, 2019


I'm thrilled to share a recent interview I did with author Marianne Schnall, whose new book, DARE TO BE YOU: INSPIRATIONAL ADVICE FOR GIRLS, was published on October 22nd by Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

The book is filled with advice on eighteen topics, including Believe in Yourself, Use Your Voice, and You Have the Power to Enact Change, taken from interviews Schnall has conducted over the years with some of the most influential and inspirational women of our times such as Gloria Steinem, Jane Goodall, Kerry Washington, Oprah, Loung Ung, Melissa Etheridge and many more.

Schnall is an award-winning writer and journalist whose work has appeared in a variety of media sources and is also the founder of, a leading women's website and nonprofit organization, and, a media and event platform that engages women everywhere to advance in all levels of leadership and to take action.

I read this book in one sitting and was totally blown away by the content. While this book is aimed at inspiring girls, it also inspired me, and I plan to pass this along to many women in my life! I can see this being a useful tool to use in the classroom to launch wonderful conversations with both girls and boys.

Even better, Marianne has given us a copy to giveaway!

The Interview:

As I read this book, I was reminded again and again of the power of hearing similar messages delivered in slightly different ways. Did you decide from the very beginning that there needed to be a certain number of quotes per chapter, recognizing that some quotes resonate differently with different individuals?

Yes, I knew that different types of responses would resonate differently with readers, and also that it would be helpful and illuminating to hear about these same themes through a variety of lens and perspectives, to realize how many of these experiences and themes are universal. And while I realized that there are many famous names quoted they may have heard of already, there are also some new names of influential figures they could learn about.

I was so happy that your “Advice givers” spanned all races, ages, careers, education and life backgrounds. Did you consciously push for that, or did it simply happen organically?

Absolutely – it was a little bit of both - that diversity is something that I have always been conscious of in who I have reached out to interview over the years, and it was important for that diversity to be reflected in the perspectives that were included in the book. I wanted people of all backgrounds to find aspects of themselves they could relate to – and others they could learn from – through the multitude of voices represented in the book.

In the introduction you say “Ultimately, my hope is that this book will embolden you with the confidence and courage to be your full, unapologetic, fierce self”. I was so struck by this because so many women have been raised to apologize for their opinions, their brains and their beauty. Do you envision this book as a tool to not only inspire individual girls, but to be used as a tool to get conversations going at homes, at schools?

Absolutely! We need to not only instill these empowering messages in girls themselves, but in the many adults and institutions in girls’ lives to echo and reinforce them.  Our culture needs a course-correct since there are so many disempowering messages still directed at girls through limiting stereotypes and harmful pressures that are overtly and subliminally perpetuated by society and the media. And right now we need girls to find their voice, come into their power, see themselves as leaders, pursue their passions and dreams and contribute their visions, solutions and ideas to the world – now more than ever! Girls are a force that can transform our world – but we have to give them the encouragement and support to do so.

The eighteen chapters cover subjects that taken together, would support and create a very happy and fulfilling life, and a much happier planet. How easy was it to categorize the advice and quotes?

Going through the many hundreds of interviews was certainly not easy, but there were so many common themes that naturally emerged from my interviews as ones that were important to underscore. Whether on learning to love yourself as you are, guidance on overcoming hard times, believing in your dreams, or how you can use your voice to create change in the world  – the women who I had interviewed all had inspiring and helpful wisdom and guidance to share on these topics from their own journeys.

How would you suggest parents, teachers, and librarians use this book?

I would suggest that they first read it themselves, to see what stood out to them and what they feel inspired to impart to the girls in their lives. Then give the book to girls! (and boys too, since I believe boys can benefit from reading this book and may transform how they think about girls and women, or even about the harmful gender stereotypes that impact men and boys too).  I think having honest conversations around the themes in this book, either just with girls or with boys present too – what resonated with them, what further support they need or questions they have, what we can do in our society to further support girls (and all people) to embrace their true selves and fulfill their potential, would all be very interesting, important and fruitful for all involved! 

Thank you so much Marianne Schnall!!! 

Win a copy of the book!


Lisa Swope said...

I love this interview!! Thank you! I have been looking for books just like this for my daughter's Christmas stocking! I found a book called Madame X that seems to have a strong female lead which my daughter really looks for in a book! Some good ones out there! Again, great interview!

Lisa Swope said...

I love this interview!! Thank you! I have been looking for books just like this for my daughter's Christmas stocking! I found a book called Madame X by Eileen Conway that seems to have a strong female lead which my daughter really looks for in a book! Some good ones out there! Again, great interview!

Amy said...

Best advice ever? That's a really tough one. What I keep coming back to, though, is to do what you know is right, even if it's unpopular or hard. While that path is rarely easy, it always works out.

WendyMcLeodMacKnight said...

Congrats Amy! You won!