The Books Over Looks blog series focuses on how to encourage children and young adults, particularly girls, to look to books and reading to increase self-esteem and knowledge rather than appearances and material possessions. 

At some point as girls grow up, they become very aware of and concerned about their appearance. They start to derive self-esteem by how many likes they get on Instagram or the number of followers on Snapchat. My daughter is 11-years-old hasn’t quite reached that level yet. However, I have teen nieces and friends with young girls/teens. I was also once a young adult myself. (Yes, I do remember what it was like.) Things have changed since then. And, they also haven’t. I was always an avid reader and a writer my whole life. Still, I too fell into the trappings of putting that book aside so I could spend an excessive amount of time thinking about my looks or socializing. (I would like to never admit how much time I spent at the mall.)

So, Now About Those Shoes

No, I’m not saying girls should shun all mirrors, clothes, hair brushes, and make-up (although I’d be alright with a moratorium on selfies) and instead adorn themselves in burlap sacks. Honestly, considering my massive collection of shoes I would be a huge hypocrite to suggest such a thing. However, I just wonder if instead of buying girls that set of crackle nail polish or knock-off Vetements shoes, maybe we should think about buying them a book instead.

vetements-sock-bootLet’s just think about this. Let’s say the average physical YA book costs about $15. How many books could I get for the same price as a real pair of the Vetements sock boots? Let’s find out!

Let’s Do the Math

Vetements sock boots: average cost $1500. (Oh you read that right.) How many books could I buy with that? That math is pretty easy, right? I could get 100 books! Which, if I averaged let’s say 3 books a month, would take me approximately months 2.7 years to read all those books. By then, those sock boots would be way out of style. I think I’d choose the books.

Side note: I do love those Vetements shock heels/boots. Although at that price I hope no one is buying those for their teenagers! If your daughter really loves them too, there are a bunch of hacks to make them. Here’s an example. Then she’s doing something creative instead of just buying something.

Cost of Books vs Other Popular Gifts

Now, back to the books, let’s get a little more practical. Not many of us average people are out buying those shoes. But, here are some things we might buy or at least the internet encourages us to buy for our teen girls. (These were all in teen gift guides for 2016.)

New iphone case or selfie stand ($10) = 2/3 of a hard copy book or several ebooks

Sequin pillow or beauty blender sponge ($20) = 1 ½ hard copy books and 1 ebook

Monogrammed pompom key chain ($48) = 3 hard copy books


Boardless skateboard ($100) = 6 hard cover copy and at least 1 ebook


Wireless headphones or jewelry a make-up and jewelry display ($150) = 10 hard copy books and an ebook or two.



Final Thoughts

Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the items listed above. They’re fun and many would make nice gifts! But, it would just be nice if before we whip out that credit card to buy those $45 earrings that would “be so cute on our girls,” perhaps we stop and think first because that is the same prices as a Book of the Month subscription.