Did you have a diary when you were young? Despite strong starts in several books given to me as birthday gifts, I never did keep up with daily documentation for more than a week, although I wrote songs on loose papers and still have shoeboxes of the notes, each marking relationships, fears, or wins. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that I kept those lyrics and can remember literally every moment I wrote about and the melody that goes with it, whether it was at eight or eighteen, but they are in no particular order and lots have been lost over the years. A bunch of scraps is also not the kind of thing my kids will look at someday and understand. I wish I’d had a diary. And that’s why I’m excited about my daughter beginning her own journal. AT FOUR. I know, it seems young, but she’s got ideas. Lots of them. And even in just a few years, won’t it be interesting for her to look back and see which of them are core to her and which have changed dramatically?
Petra’s new journal (“I am a Rebel Girl, a Journal to Start Revolutions” by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli) was a gift from Tiny Spark Boutique, and you might be wondering how this whole diary-writing business works since Petra is four. Yes, she can read and spell (phonetically and slowly) but actually it wouldn’t even be a dealbreaker if she couldn’t— “Rebel Girl” is a guided, illustrated journal that encourages kids to fill in answers how they like, be it with words or drawings.
One of the reasons I found it hard to commit to one journal as a child is all those blank pages. It’s daunting! Looseleaf was one thing but reams of paper, each striped with lines that demanded to be filled… that didn’t appeal to me. “Rebel Girl” is the kind of thing kids can work on at their own pace, each page asking them to think about a topic and examine how they feel about it. I usually start Petra’s journaling sessions with her so we can talk about what the page is really asking. For example, “things worth fighting for” is a big concept and I didn’t want to lead her too much, but we had a conversation where I gave her examples of things that might happen (didn’t get to go first; a friend also wants the toy she wants; a stranger is asking her to get in their car) and asked her which was most worth saying NEVER to. It got deeper because oof, “worth fighting for” is a whopper, but eventually she came up with a few answers. “Love” topped the list, which made me proud!
Petra dives into every vibrant page, whether it asks a serious or silly question and I love seeing the answers she comes up.
And, I love seeing her work on it without me. My big girl.
Thank-you to Jackie at Tiny Spark Boutique for the most perfect gift. Tiny Spark is a (Saskatoon-based) online shop that carries 100% girl-positive products from apparel and accessories to games and books. Not only was I taken with their shop, I love their mandate of supporting girls by earmarking part of every purchase made for their IGNITE bursary program which helps girls attend programs like coding camps and art workshops who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.