Choosing books for Girlspace

Choosing books for Girlspace

Last October, a fire destroyed the Rockhill apartment building in Yellowknife. Along with the YWCA’s GirlSpace program, 33 families lost their homes. GirlSpace lost their library of books focused on female empowerment.

After the fire, community members rallied together to find ways to support the families that were displaced and to help GirlSpace get up and running again. I wasn’t sure what I could do to help, until someone suggested that I apply for a Rising Youth grant. I looked at the list GirlSpace posted of things that they were trying to replace. What stuck out for me was books.

So, I applied for a Rising Youth grant to help GirlSpace rebuild their library. Working with the GirlSpace coordinator and the girls in the program, I came up with a list of genres and topics that the girls were interested in, as well as specific books that they wanted in their library. I had a lot of fun choosing 65 books for their library – there are so many fantastic books for young adults!

Some of the books I’m really excited about are Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens, The Marrows Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Girls Resist! A Guide to Activisim, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by KaeLyn Rich. 

TakingITGlobal leads the Rising Youth grant program. It empowers youth to give back to their community. Youth aged 15 to 30 years old can apply for grants of $250, $750, or $1,500 to support a project of their own design in their own community. To learn more about Rising Youth Grants in the NWT, contact You can also check out their website to learn more about the grant criteria and how to apply.

Growing up, I loved to read. Books allowed me to see worlds beyond my own experience and helped me to imagine what kind of person I wanted to become. I hope these books will interest and inspire GirlSpace participants for years to come. 

If you want to learn more about the GirlSpace program and how you can support it, contact the YWCA at or call (867) 920-2777. Many thanks to the Yellowknife Book Celler and the NWT Literacy Council for their support for this project.

— Emily Smith, Youth and Adult Services Coordinator

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