Speak Up!  

By Laura Coryton
Published by Red Shed (Egmont)

Laura Coryton is an exceptionally feisty woman. She launched and led an international campaign against VAT and other taxes on sanitary products – “the tampon tax” – and, working with likeminded groups in other countries, succeeded in getting it removed in many countries including the UK. She is unstoppable, persistent, determined and very willing to speak up – even on a traditionally taboo subject in male dominated environments.

And now she has written an accessible, empowering book to persuade young women of about 12 and upwards to have the courage to speak up about matters which concern them. Using her own experience as an ongoing detailed case study, she tells her readers, in large witty fonts with plenty of break-out boxes and block caps things like “Your everyday actions can make a huge impact” and “Have faith in yourself. You can bounce back from anything”.

She is also very strong on practical tips and advice such as how to set up an online petition and details of a website which provides contact details for all local and national politicians: www.writetothem.com, as well as lots of ideas for how to make the most constructive use of social media.

Speak Up! is a serious attempt to make young women use their voices to effect change but there’s nothing remotely worthy or dull about it. The presentation is colourful, well designed and the simple illustrations are quite fun – including cartoons of tampons and sanitary towels which often decorate the change.

Do get any teenagers you work with to read it and recognise that every one of us has the power to make a difference.