Have you ever read a book and just knew that it was going to be an experience you would remember forever? Have you ever read a book, got a little way into it, and already started recommending it to everyone you knew? It doesn’t happen often, but there is something so special about when it does. Dear Black Girl: Letters from Your Sisters on Stepping Into Your Power was just that for me. 

Within Dear Black Girl we are given a collection of letters written to Black girls past and present, and its empowering message encompasses all the facets of the Black girl experience. With uplifting talk of Black Girl Magic, female friendships, found and real family, and sex, there is no topic that isn’t covered. Tamara Winfrey Harris has created a collection of letters that is completely inclusive, yet also very personal to each experience. While there is no one way to be a Black girl, there are so many things that—no matter where you are from—are universally Black girl things. This five-star read is a gift that proves Black girls are not alone in this society.

“Have you ever read a book, got a little way into it, and already started recommending it to everyone you knew?”

Every chapter starts with an introduction about the subject matter of the coming letters, all of which are written from a place of love and hope. Then you get a “Know This” section that talks about various Black women mentioned and gives definitions of words, concepts, slang, and cultural sayings such as “Black Don’t Crack,” eliminating the need for Google. Each chapter culminates in a call-to-action to reflect and write on what you have read. Dear Black Girl book also includes an index with which you can read targeted parts of the book for your current struggles, or you can simply read it chronologically. This book would be a great addition to any library. Mentors and guides should add it to their leadership programs.

Every Black girl, from preteen on up, needs this in their hands. The letters vary in length and subject matter, but each resonates with some aspect of the Black girl experience. The expansiveness and inclusiveness of the Black girl experience is often overlooked in favor of talking about those deemed ‘troubled’ and satisfy the appetite for Black pain. While these stories are important, there is so much more to being a Black girl.

“Every Black girl, from preteen on up, needs this in their hands.”

In my interview with Harris, she says that when getting the letters from the various contributors, she didn’t want them to make assumptions. That intention comes through when you are reading the collection: it is for everyone, and nobody is left out. I learned so much about different Black women in pop culture who have been forgotten, for example, the woman who coined the term ‘Black Girl Magic’. To think a random tweet sent to uplift would become a cultural phenomenon. Black women are truly amazing, but we already knew that. 

Whether they come from within or without the community, limiting beliefs are often imposed on Black girls and women. Oftentimes, Black girls are told that there is a certain path that must be followed to success. This can be frustrating because there is never one right way to do anything. As it says in the book, “there is no correct way of following your dreams. You simply must make the choice and then start down that path”, advises the book.

“Whether they come from within or without the community, limiting beliefs are often imposed on Black girls and women.”

Upon finishing Dear Black Girl,  I felt empowered. I was ready to face the world and as a woman in her mid-30s, that means a lot. It was everything I wanted said to me and everything I want to say to other Black girls growing up in this world. Bringing joy to Black girls joy is so important and this book brought me so much of it. I want to put Dear Black Girl into the hands of all Black girls because to be seen in a book is such a great feeling. I could absolutely gush about this one all day. 

By Tasha Mays

TASHA MAYS is a mother, blogger, and some-time booktuber. In her free time, she likes to read and craft. If you don’t see her with a book or at a table crafting, she’s probably sleeping or eating. Follow her on socials at @amaysnreads on Twitter and @tashalikesbooks on Instagram. 

TAMARA WINFREY HARRIS is the author of the award-winning books The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America and Dear Black Girl: Letters from Your Sisters on Stepping into Your Power. She has also been published in several media outlets and magazines. Harris wants to empower Black girls and women by letting them know that they are not on this journey alone. You can find her on Twitter and her website.