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Teen creates journal to help Black girls find their sparkle

The guided journal has 100 prompts to help girls with their self-confidence

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — At the age of 12, A. Garlinghouse knew she wanted to create something special for girls like her. 

"Sometimes they might feel left out or different from everybody else," said Garlinghouse. "They have a chance to inspire themselves with what they have in them."

A. and her mother, Rachel, who is a popular writer for the parenting website Scary Mommy, went to work, spending all their free time working on a prompted journal.

It's a lot harder to put together a meaningful journal than you might think.

A. said she wanted to make a journal where girls can show their emotions and express how they feel about themselves. 

"Tell a time when your confidence determined the outcome of your situation," Garlinghouse read aloud some of the prompts she put in the journal. "Write your whole name and how you feel about your name."

She also asks girls to write down other things like their personal favorites, honoring memories or creating plans.

Rachel Garlinghouse was happy to help her daughter, who she often writes about on her website. She is the mother of four children through transracial, domestic and infant adoption. 

"We just worked all the time on it, but I think it's great that kids can start a business," said Rachel. "You don't have to wait anymore until you're an adult to do what you want with your life."

The journal, called "Discovering Your Black Girl Sparkle," started selling online this week. And although the family is excited about seeing people buy the book, Rachel said the focus won't be on sales.

"We've had a lot of family and friends telling us that they're buying the book, so we're really excited about that," she said. "We're really careful about just celebrating where it's at, and just being OK with it."

A. hopes that whatever happens, more girls will learn how to be more than OK with themselves. She said too often Black girls struggle with their self-confidence and their place in society.

"Sometimes it's hard for them to fit into a world where most people just don't expect much of them," said A. "You should do at least a few of these prompts and see how much you surprise yourself — by how much you're turning more confident and empowering yourself more."

Although the journal has 100 prompts, A. said there's plenty of room for freestyle writing and drawing. She recommends the journal to anyone 12 and older.