We’re guessing that most moms of daughters know that our precious girls aren’t made up of only sugar, spice and everything nice. They’re complicated creatures, with complicated problems. Here are five books we’ve relied on to make sure we’re raising them to be confident, smart, kind and fearless women.


“Beauty Sick”

We’re be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t struggled with body image and pressure to look a certain way. And as social media inundates us with images of airbrushed Kardashian perfection, the struggle has only gotten more real. Psychology professor Renee Engeln made a popular TED talk on how women and girls can navigate our beauty-obsessed world; this book grew out of her video and is equally inspiring.

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“Queen Bees and Wannabes”

Fun fact: The movie Mean Girls was actually based on this super-smart book about the unique ways that girls torture each other. Here, Rosalind Wiseman offers keen insight into the social structure of adolescents, and concrete tips to help your daughter deal with all the Regina Georges in her life.

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Riverhead Books

“Reviving Ophelia”

First published in 1994, this #1 New York Times best seller is kind of the Bible of teen girl angst. It was the first to really look at the whole ecosystem of problems facing adolescent girls (eating disorders, suicide, depression, anxiety, etc), and is told powerfully in the voices of teens themselves.

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Random House

“Mom & Me & Mom”

Sometimes, you just need a great story. And we can’t think of a better or wiser storyteller than the late Maya Angelou. In this powerful memoir, she writes about her complicated relationship with her own mom, which feels surprisingly universal to anyone interested in mother-daughter dynamics.

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Ballantine Books

“You’re Wearing That?”

Deborah Tannen made a name for herself with her hit best seller, You Just Don’t Understand, which revolutionized the way men and women talk to each other. In her follow-up, she turns to mothers and daughters, another kind of couple who often seem to misunderstand each other. By analyzing countless conversations between real mothers and daughters, she identifies patterns and helps each group figure out better ways to make themselves heard.

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RELATED: The 7 Most Essential Parenting Books

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