Here's the perfect pairing of two own-voices books that teachers, librarians, and parents will want to read and recommend.#ownvoices #YA #MG #teacher #librarian #amreading #Argentina #futbol #soccer #homeschool #multicultural #diary

Ever heard of book pairings? A fiction book that pairs perfectly with a non-fiction book? Here’s the perfect pairing of two own-voices books that teachers, librarians, and parents will want to read and recommend.

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

Here's the perfect pairing of two own-voices books that teachers, librarians, and parents will want to read and recommend.#ownvoices #YA #MG #teacher #librarian #amreading #Argentina #futbol #soccer #homeschool #multicultural #diary

Perfect Pairings of Fiction and Non-Fiction for Teen Girls

A fellow blogging friend talked about perfect pairings of fiction and non-fiction books on her blog recently, and I could only think of one–The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This year I’ve intentionally read more own-voices books in an attempt to educate myself and broaden my horizons. So far, I’ve loved every book I’ve read. They haven’t been easy, at times, but I love what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown as a person by reading outside my comfort zone.

If you’re a teacher, librarian, parent, or teen looking for perfect pairings of own-voices books, I have two great ones to recommend.


By Yamile Saied Méndez, narrated by Sol Madariaga, September 2020, 8 hours and 52 minutes, 7th grade and up.

“Lies have short legs,” Camila Hassan remembers her grandmother telling her. But when Camila discovers her passion for fútbol (soccer) during her last year of high school, she’ll find out just how short a lie’s legs really are.

 In Argentina, girls don’t play fútbol—only boys. And Camila’s older brother already earns his living playing for a team. Her mother wants her to study medicine. And her father…well, she never knows what her father wants. Neither does the rest of the family, who lives to appease his short temper.

When her team wins a place in a tournament that could lead to a soccer scholarship for Camila at a university in the United States, she knows she’ll do anything to achieve her dreams. For the past year, though, she’s lived a double life. Her parents have no idea she plays soccer. Camila’s brother knows and supports her as much as he can without sharing her secret.

When her childhood friend returns to town and declares his love for her, Camila faces further confusion. All the lies she’s told to follow her dreams start chasing her on their short little legs. Can she face her parents with the truth? Will her team actually win the championship? And is Diego, the man she loves, really someone who will wait for her as she pursues her passions?

Why I Loved this Book

Yamile Saied Méndez manages to weave together a book about dreams, goals, and true love with a social justice issue I had no idea existed outside the reservation in the United States—missing and murdered women and girls. The resulting tapestry will both charm and haunt you long after you finish the book.

You don’t have to love soccer to love Camila’s passion on the pitch—but if you know a young woman who loves soccer, buy her this book!

The author’s authentic voice (she grew up in Argentina and loves fútbol) lends subtle textures and colors to the story. Sol Madariaga, an Argentinian actress does a masterful job of narration. Although I speak decent Spanish, Madariaga’s accent made me feel like I normally do around Argentinians—just a little lost but following bravely along.

If you want the full flavor of this own-voices book, don’t just read it, experience it through narration as well.

This amazing #ownvoices book will delight soccer fans, teenage girls (and older ones, too) everywhere. If you want the full experience, listen to the audio book! @YamileSMendez #futbol #soccer #girlsinsports #amreading Click To Tweet

Furia pairs well with a non-fiction book coming out in February.

Girlhood–Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

by Masuma Ahuja, Algonquin Books for Young Readers, February 2021, 256 pages, appropriate for girls 8-18.

I distinctly remember reading Anne Frank-the Diary of a Young Girl as a 13-year-old and marveling at how her feelings about boys echoed my feelings about boys. I admired her bravery and ability to not succumb to despair. And like thousands of other girls, I immediately bought a notebook and started a diary addressed to Kitty. When I read back over those entries, I have to laugh at my younger self. As a privileged white middle-class teen, I had no profound observations about the nature of humankind. On the other hand, my diary entries do show snapshots of feelings during my turbulent teens.

And we all have times of turbulence growing up. Unfortunately, we often think our feelings, stories, and experiences stand out as unique from every other girl’s. But what if we have more in common than we think? Would we judge each other less and support each other more? If we read a diary from a girl in Kazakhstan mirrors our experience just a little bit, would we increase our empathy and understanding about the universality of girlhood?

This timely book pairs diary entries from 30 girls in 28 countries with photos (provided by the diarists). The author, a multinational journalist, adds context and background for each diary entry (which have been translated and lightly edited for English readers). The result? A magical mix of hopes, dreams, aspirations, struggles, and matter-of-fact reality in 30 unique voices.

As a teacher, Girlhood* will provide an incredible resource for my students. When they study different cultures in my world history classes, they can connect with girls their age in a country they study. Students in my English classes will have examples of own-voices writing. As they read about a girl across the world, they will understand that fewer things separate us than they might have imagined.

The fictional girl in Furia provides the perfect pairing with the real-life girls in Girlhood. They go together like dark chocolate and almonds.

*I recieved a free advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher and am reviewing it on my blog because I love the book and all it stands for.

#Furia and #Girlhood make the perfect fiction/non-fiction pairing. If you're a librarian or teacher, you'll want both! #teacher #librarian #ownvoices Click To Tweet
Here's the perfect pairing of two own-voices books that teachers, librarians, and parents will want to read and recommend.#ownvoices #YA #MG #teacher #librarian #amreading #Argentina #futbol #soccer #homeschool #multicultural #diary


  1. Wow, Anita, I’ve never thought about pairing fiction and nonfiction. I love this pairing, and I’m intrigued by both books. I love the way you think about others and seek to understand. You are an inspiration!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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