Bestie Book Club
Chloe, Christi and Clara on raising your voice and the wisdom of She Spoke
Welcome to May, bookclubbers! Chloe's Book Club is back with a special this month (more on that below!), and we can't wait to talk to you guys about this fab read.
If you're joining us for the first time, here's the deal: Each month we’re reading, discussing and obsessing over a new book, so if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to CLICK THIS LINK and officially join the club. (We’ll email you with Chloe’s Book Club updates, reading guides, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more.)
This month, we're doing things a little differently: Chloe's younger sister, Clara, and mom, Christi, are co-hosting all month long—which is fab, because they're pretty much experts on our May special selection, She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World.
Here's a quick list of everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember to look for the spoiler ratings before you read!
The special May pop-up edition of Chloe’s Book Club stars She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World, an inspiring and interactive book by Kathy MacMillan and Manuela Bernardi. Be sure to head over to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book for you and the babes in your book club!
Ready to get started? Read on...
Spoiler level: Low
She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World isn't your everyday Chloe's Book Club novel. In fact, it's not a novel at all: It's a beautifully illustrated, absolutely moving and totally unique audio + picture book that packs a serious punch.
Each spread in She Spoke highlights one history-making female. You read her biography then listen to an actual audio clip from one of her career-defining speeches. After hearing each woman speak, you’re given key questions that help you understand her significance to history—and expand on your *own* possibilities. For example...
What's so great about working hard toward a singular goal? It pays off in time. Just ask Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American person to hold a seat on the US Supreme court. That's something she couldn't have accomplished without putting in years of dedication and hard work in her field.
Why was it incredibly important that Dr. Maya Angelou overcome her past hardships (poverty, segregation and abandonment) but *not* forget them? So that she could use those experiences and feelings to create moving poetry and fuel her fight for civil rights—so that others would know that your past does not define your future.
No one in your family has ever finished high school? Push past that roadblock like Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. The educator, civil and human rights activist, and presidential advisor didn't let the fact that neither her parents nor her 14 older siblings knew how to read stop her from learning. Instead, she sought out lessons, passed the knowledge onto her family and went on to create a school for African American girls (among many other amazing accomplishments).
The most essential takeaways from She Spoke? The book as a whole is a reminder that you can do anything you set your mind to. And that—no matter who you are or what your circumstances are—you have the right to pursue your passion and get loud.
Spoiler level: Moderate
Happy May, everyone! I'm so excited to bring in two guest hosts for this special edition of CBC: Clara and Christi, my younger sister and my mom, definitely two of the most perfect people to discuss this fierce female-fueled book with. From politicians to environmentalists to poets, we had so much fun talking about the women in this book. They continue to inspire us, reminding us to always use our voice for good. Read on for our chat...
Chloe: Mom, Clara—isn't this book so cool?!
Clara: Oh my gosh, yes, it was awesome to read. The illustrations are so fun but they still look life-like. And the audio feature is just so different. I haven't read a book like this in a while.
Chloe: I thought so, too! And the message of speaking up is just so necessary. It's so important to speak up and use your voice—so many amazing things can come from it. With social media and being in the public eye, we have such a great platform to talk about things. It would be silly for us not to use it to spread positivity and highlight the causes we care about.
Christi: I love that speaking up is just second nature to you guys now. When I grew up kids were basically meant to just be seen and not heard. Times have definitely changed, but I'm so excited that you guys are growing up in today's world.
I can actually think of two great examples off the top of my head of you guys using your voices. Both of you are great about standing up for other people—in your own unassuming ways—when they're being talked down to or bullied. Chloe, I remember in sixth grade, there was this table full of girls you were sitting with at lunch and they wouldn't let your classmate sit with you guys. And you actually got up and went to sit with the girl your "friends" were bullying.
Chloe: I remember that. It was just that I would rather sit with her, someone who is nice and clearly needed a friend, than people who are being mean for no reason.
Christi: Clara, you do the same thing. Your teachers tell me all the time that you go out of your way to talk to everyone in your classes and treat everyone fairly, but you're especially nice to the kids who are picked on or introverted. The fact that you guys are kind, that's more important to me than any competition trophy you could win.
Clara: I really like doing that. I just don't understand the point of being mean or using your voice to be negative. Your voice is your identity.
Christi: I think that's a great way to put it, Clara. And you know, for a long time, anytime one of us had a position or opinion on something, even if it wasn't controversial, I would usually just make the executive decision to not speak up about it. I remember when we did a shoot for the No H8 Campaign, [a pro-LGBTQ+ charity], I had second thoughts before the photos were released. I knew that some people were going to give us pushback, even though we really believed in the cause (and still do). I used to think that it's better just to stay quiet. To stay neutral. To be vanilla.
Chloe: Yeah, exactly. Like it was easier to just fall in line. But now we've just realized that if someone doesn't like me or you or Clara because we hold a certain opinion, then fine. It just doesn't matter that they disagree.
Christi: Right. It's actually better that we speak up and show where we stand on issues—and that's what all the women in this book have done. I mean, Malala Yousafzai's story couldn't be more inspiring. She was shot in the head but still continued to advocate for what she believes in—which is just the simple fact that women deserve to be educated.
Clara: Like you said, she was shot, but she continued to fight for others.
Chloe: She let it fuel her fire, basically.
Christi: Yes! Malala, and all of the women in the book, really show that strength isn't always obvious—like physical strength. It can be a quiet strength or an emotional strength or a mental strength.
Chloe: I think that's why I was so excited to see Jane Goodall featured in this book. She embodies that. When I saw her speak at the UN's Worldwide Day of Peace, she really blew me away. She was so sweet and soft-spoken, and you wouldn't know by looking at her all the powerful, life-changing things she has done for the world.
Christi: Yeah, Jane is a boss. Hillary Clinton is a boss, too.
Clara: You guys know that I want to be the president when I grow up, so when Hillary Clinton ran for president a few years ago, I thought that was really cool. I'm so glad she's in this book.
When a lot of the women in this book spoke up, it was during a time that women weren't really heard (even though we're still kind of fighting for that). They probably knew what would happen if they spoke up (maybe nothing), but they did it anyway—and it paid off.
Chloe: You're right, Bean. And that's exactly what mom has instilled in us: to be brave and independent and to raise our voices despite the consequences. Sure, I stood up to those girls at lunch, but I did that because of the example mom (and dad!) set for us. And I think that's pretty amazing.
Spoiler level: Low
The world needs more female voices. That means we need your voice and your sister's voice and your mom's voice and your bestie's voice and your grandmother's voice—and the voices of these strong female artists.
They've been using their voices—and their platforms as performers and celebrities—to speak up about anything and everything (think: inequality, the pressure of being female, the power of femininity and more) for decades, and we're *so* glad they are.
Press play below for the ultimate #girlpowervibes playlist.
Spoiler level: High
Use the questions below as a discussion guide for your Chloe’s Book Club get-together or as thought-starters for your own personal journaling. Posting online? Be sure to use #chloesbookclub and tag @chloesbookclub. We can’t wait to hear what you think!
1. When Jane Goodall was asked to lead a research study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream River, she learned that young women weren't allowed to enter the reserve alone. Because of this, her mother had to chaperone her in the jungle. What other unnecessary barriers or restrictions have you faced in your life? How does this make you feel? When you encounter these in the future, what will you do to combat them?
2. She Spoke shows the importance of perseverance in the face of failure. What was the last thing you failed at? How did it make you feel? What did you learn? Will you try again in the future? Explain.
3. Abby Wambach started playing soccer at the age four and then went on to help the U.S. win two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 World Cup. What's something you've been working toward for a long time? What first sparked your interest—and why do you continue to do the thing that you do? What's the importance of consistency, practice and never giving up?
4. Dr. Temple Grandin struggled with social interaction and was bullied in high school. Despite this, she then went on to become a professor of animal science (and an autism activist). Have you ever been bullied? How did that make you feel? What was your response?
5. Everyone has someone they look up to—whether it's a professor, coach, Sunday school teacher, older cousin or someone else entirely, Who do *you* find the most inspiring? What do you admire most about them? How do you hope to inspire others?
One future female leader will win a She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World prize pack, which includes a $50 gift card from the ethical, female-led clothing and accessories company Dazey LA (think: the IG-worthy statement tees of your dreams), a $50 gift card from Barnes & Noble *and* a copy of the book itself.
Ready to enter—and, fingers crossed, win? Click HERE.
So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things She Spoke? Wondering *exactly* how Chloe’s Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it’s solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list…
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level by using Chloe's discussion questions as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on She Spoke using #chloesbookclub on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL book club party, of course! Check out the playlist for music ideas and Chloe's discussion questions for convo starters—then be sure to tag us in your snaps so we can share them.