Happy Book Birthday to Ellen Hagan's Reckless, Glorious, Girl!

Hello, Ellen Hagan! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m grateful you stopped by to celebrate Reckless, Glorious, Girl, a phenomenal novel-in-verse that Renée Watson referred to as “poignant and heartwarming,” Kate Messner called, “...a joyful, poetic celebration of family, friendship, and growing up,” and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich said it was “...bursting with humor and heart.” I agree with all of them! Hooray!

If you were booktalking Reckless, Glorious, Girl to seventh graders, what would you share with them?

Ellen Hagan: Reckless, Glorious, Girl follows Beatrice Miller through the ups and downs of 7th grade while she figures out first crushes, the in-crowd, puberty and finding out who she really is. This is a book about discovering who you are while asking all the questions that matter: Who am I? Who will I become? What will the future hold? It’s a story about finding and loving your family and your best friends and owning and loving your true self.

Please share 3 or 4 lines from Reckless, Glorious, Girl that made you laugh or cry or fill in the blank when you wrote them.

Ellen Hagan: This section always makes me emotional – thinking about growing up and how to figure out who you are in the world.

Still trying to figure out how to

take up space & show off.

Instead, I’m still somewhere

underground. Beneath it all.

Watching everyone else push up

& grow. Rising up all around me.

How I’d love to be: Beatrice Miller

Queen of the amplify. Expansion even.

Tell Mamaw to watch out for me

& my reckless blossoming.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Beatrice Miller is full of heart and love for her mom, her mamaw and her best friends. She loves Kentucky, the garden in her backyard, big family meals, floating in the river and riding her bicycle wild through town. She wants to be grown up and a kid all at the same time – constantly figuring out who she is and how she wants to show up in the world.

Story is using your imagination to build a world with characters that you love – characters that are complicated and read – and that you want to follow and figure out the world with. Stories are energy and balm. They heal and save. They are electric and energetic. They lift you up – make you feel like you are part of a community. Stories connect us to each other – they are a bridge for our experiences. I love, love the way stories hold and carry us with them.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about growing up in Bardstown, Kentucky. I have a poem in the book dedicated to my Bluegrass birthplace and a new mini film shot in downtown Bardstown. It was voted the most beautiful small town in America by USA Today in 2012. I carry my home with me – always. Here is the poem:

Bardstown, Kentucky

Rolling hills, grass

so blue it’s green.


& catching crawdads,

firefly Friday nights.

Fish fry & cornbread.

Fried chicken livers,

pork chops covered

BBQ. Porch sitting

all day. Glider

or swing, back

& forth. Main Street

slow drawl, honey

pecans, fresh peaches

in the summertime,

a watermelon sliced

straight through.

Voted most beautiful

small town

in Kentucky.

& I for one




Thank you, Ellen! Happy book birthday to Reckless, Glorious, Girl!

Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. She is the co-author with Renée Watson of Watch Us Rise. Her poetry collections include Hemisphere and Crowned. Her work can be found in ESPN Magazine, She Walks in Beauty, and Southern Sin. Ellen is the Director of the Poetry & Theatre Departments at the DreamYard Project and directs their International Poetry Exchange Program with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. She co-leads the Alice Hoffman Young Writer's Retreat at Adelphi University. Raised in Kentucky, she now lives in New York City with her family.

Borrow Reckless, Glorious, Girl from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Bloomsbury's Description:

Beatrice Miller may have a granny’s name (her granny's, to be more specific), but she adores her Mamaw and her mom, who give her every bit of wisdom and love they have. But the summer before seventh grade, Bea wants more than she has, aches for what she can't have, and wonders what the future will bring.

This novel in verse follows Beatrice through the ups and downs of friendships, puberty, and identity as she asks: Who am I? Who will I become? And will my outside ever match the way I feel on the inside?

A gorgeous, inter-generational story of Southern women and a girl's path blossoming into her sense of self, Reckless, Glorious, Girl explores the important questions we all ask as we race toward growing up.


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