DARE TO BE YOU – Interview with Marianne Schnall

Author and activist Marianne Schnall has a new book out, DARE TO BE YOU. It’s a collection of motivational quotes from some of the amazing, trailblazing women she’s interviewed over the years …  an impressive list of people. I had a chance to interview Marianne recently about her book and her hopes for empowering young women coming into their own.

Dare to be You

Interview with Marianne Schnall

HMC: DARE TO BE YOU is such a lovely collection of quotes – almost like a daily affirmation book. Is that how you intended it to be used? If not, what was your vision?

MS: I love the idea that the book could be used as a daily affirmation book! It most certainly can be used that way – there are so many potent messages in the book that may resonate with readers for different reasons. My vision is that this book and its content would be used in whatever ways best serve those who read it – to find guidance, insight, encouragement and inspiration.

HMC: What’s the origin story for this book?

MS: I always knew I wanted to do a focused book for girls because so much of our sense of who we are, our self esteem, our development of our voice and our vision for ourselves happens early on. There are so  many harmful messages routinely hurled at girls from our society and the media, I wanted to help counteract those messages with some positive ones! More than ever we need women and girls to come into their true selves and power, to be emboldened to follow their dreams and callings, to be leaders and enact their influence and creativity in the world – both for their benefit and the benefit of the world around them.

Quotes from Personal Interviews

HMC: Do all of the quotes in this book come from women you’ve interview personally?

Yes, all of the quotes are from the wide range of incredible women I have had the good fortune to interview over the past two decades who span different backgrounds, industries, and perspectives. From Oprah to Melinda Gates, Natalie Portman to Jane Goodall, Maya Angelou to Anita Hill and so many more. I have spoken to so many amazing women who all have so much life wisdom to share – not only from their accomplishments, but in all the challenges and hurdles they had to overcome.

HMC: Any favorite stories from an interview you did for this book?

MS: There are so many it is hard to single any out! Gloria Steinem is someone I have learned a lot from through our many interviews, but she is also an important personal mentor to me. Whether reminding me to “ask for what I need,” or to take a pause now and then to acknowledge and own my accomplishments, Gloria has shared many wise insights with me in our conversations and interviews. She is someone who I have always admired for her trailblazing work, for her inclusive leadership, for her generosity of spirit, for her humor and curiosity, and for her tireless and fearless commitment to making the world a better place for all. And she is still doing it!

On Feminism

HMC: I loved the section on “Understanding Feminism.” It’s amazing to me that in this day and age, it’s such a loaded term. Are we still so embroiled in old stereotypes of the angry bra-burning woman that we can’t all embrace the concept without fear of reprisal?

MS: There are still so many misconceptions about what feminism is, but I do think the concept is being more widely embraced in a more mainstream way by women, and increasingly by men who realize that they too benefit from gender equality. It is hard to take issue with the dictionary definition of feminism which is quite simply, “the political, social and economic equality of the sexes.” I also think as the movement evolves to become more inclusive and intersectional with other identities and movements, more and more people are feeling like they can align with its objectives and values.

(For another look at evolving attitudes toward strong girls and the power of words to shape attitudes, read this post from MUF contributor Mike Hays)

Dare to be You

HMC: Your sections on women seeing themselves as leaders and resisting negative media messages is also a powerful statement in this election season. The idea of the “unlikeable” woman candidate is frustrating… were there any “outakes” you can share with us from your interviews that touched on this subject?

MS: Yes, a lot of people I interviewed talked about this – about the conundrum of powerful, confident, ambitious women being deemed as “unlikeable.”.This is certainly a sexist bias we need to watch for and change. But as Gloria Steinem reminded me in one of our conversations, women need to also not be as dependent on being liked. It is hard to be an effective leader if you worry too much about other people’s perceptions.

Finding Inspiration

HMC: Any other thoughts or hopes you have for this book you can share with our readers?

MS: My hope is that the book will encourage girls and women, and all those who read it, to fully embrace who they are, celebrate what it is that makes them unique and special rather than thinking they need to fit in or conform, and find the inspiration and support to follow their dreams, use their voices, and fulfill the vision they have for themselves and for the world.

HMC: What part of this book resonated most with you?

MS: I grew up as a very insecure teenage girl, and having two daughters of my own now, I see so much progress in their ability to know themselves and resist the disempowering influences they receive from society and the media. I feel very hopeful that we are living through a time where women and girls are rising up as a potent force to help transform the world in all kinds of necessary, beneficial and important ways. What resonates most for me is thinking about how the world would change if we unleash all of that untapped potential!

author marianne schnall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Marianne Schnall is a widely published writer and interviewer whose work has appeared in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine,, Forbes,, Refinery29, the Women’s Media Center, HuffPost, and many others. Schnall is the founder of, a leading women’s website and nonprofit organization and, a media and event platform that engages women everywhere to advance in all levels of leadership and take action. She is the author of What Will It Take to Make a Woman President?, Daring to Be Ourselves, Leading the Way, and Dare to Be You.

Connect with Marianne

Find Marianne here: ▪ ▪

And here: @marianneschnall

To buy a copy of Marianne’s book, click here.

Reading Restaurant

by Robyn Gioia

I was introduced to Reading Restaurant at a school get-together. Our school shared a professional day with teachers from a top-rated school in another district. Our assignment was to bring our favorite teaching units to share with everyone.

We met with the reading teachers. A manila folder was handed to us by two smiling masters. The manila folders were designed to look like restaurant menus. On the front cover was the title Reading Restaurant. When you opened the folder, you were met with a menu of different projects.

Instead of book reports or summaries, students have the opportunity to do a creative project.

Just like a restaurant, students select from each menu section. Their final selection must equal 100 points. For example, if they chose a 70 point dinner, they must choose another item worth 30 points.

The projects vary and can be tailored to the level and interest of your students. Some of the cool things are designing movie theater posters, writing and performing a play, or creating a cereal box that highlights selected literary elements with a playable game on the back. Of course you can add your own projects, but the restaurant menu format and a variety of projects is a big winner with the kids.

In my class, students usually mull over the selections. At the end of the month, each student presents their project to the class. I use a rubric to grade their project and presentation skills. Afterwards, the student audience is allowed to ask questions of the presenter. This generally creates a lot of excitement and generates a lot of interest in the different projects and featured books.



STEM Tuesday– Dinosaurs/Paleontology — Book List

If you’ve got a budding paleontologist in your home, you know there can never be too many books about dinosaurs! Who doesn’t love the mystery of ancient bones and tales of mighty lizards that roamed the Earth. These books run the gamut from detailed sketchbook to biography to comics to hands-on paleontology activities.


Dinosaur! Dinosaurs and Other Amazing Prehistoric Creatures As You’ve Never Seen Them Before, by John Woodward
Highly illustrated, in depth, evaluation of dinosaurs from their definition through the Cenozoic era. Created by DK and the Smithsonian Institution, it is full of facts on fossils, amphibians, sea creatures, woolly mammoths, Neanderthals, insects, and more.


Dinosaur bones: And What They Tell Us, by Rob Colson
Opening this book is like opening a field sketchbook. It’s filled with watercolor drawings, complete with labels and descriptive notes. Annotated skeleton sketches allow readers to compare their own bones to those of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. A fun way to browse dino facts.


So You Think You Know About … Dinosaurs (series), by Ben Garrod
Scientist Ben Garrod reminds readers that we can be a scientist at any age. His books may be pocket-sized, but they are filled with dinosaur discoveries, battles, adventures, fascinating facts, quizzes, cartoon illustrations and paleo art. And lots and lots of passion for dinos. Each book focuses on one kind of dinosaur: Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, and Triceratops.

Dining with Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching, by Hannah Bonner
If you are starving for dinosaur knowledge, this book serves up a full-course meal of mouthwatering Mesozoic food facts. Starting with who ate who. Along the way, we meet scientists who explain tough questions about dinosaur poop, teeth, and more.



The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries: Amazing Fossils and The People Who Found Them, by Donald Prothero

Exploring paleontology from the eighteenth-century to the present, twenty-five individual chapters describe the stories behind the most important fossil discoveries and the researchers who found them. The book explores the escapades, rivalries, and scientific debates that have occurred around dinosaur bones.

Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers, by M. K. Reed (“Science Comic”)

This is a fun, graphic introduction to dinosaurs in their natural habitats. Follow paleontologists through history as they try to piece together the mystery of the giant bones uncovered in cliffs and deserts. Learn how our ideas about dinosaurs have changed and continue to change. Endnotes clarify ongoing scientific debates, and a glossary will have you speaking like a paleontologist in no time.


Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Paleontologists, by Karen Bush Gibson; illus. by Hui Li

The first chapter introduces the science of paleontology, along with tips for how to pack your field kit. Then we examine the work and challenges of scientists Mary Anning, Mignon Talbot, Tilly Edinger, Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, and Mary Leakey. There are plenty of “Field Assignments” (hands-on STEM projects) ranging from modeling an excavation to finding clues in teeth, and informative sidebars are sprinkled through the chapters.


Battle of the Dinosaur Bones: Othniel Charles Marsh VS Edward Drinker Cope, by Rebecca L. Johnson
Explores the struggle and legacy of two scientists, Othaniel Marsh (Yale) and Edward Cope (Philadelphia), determined to become world-famous paleontologists. This book details the confusion and mistakes created by their haste and rivalry that took years to sort out.


Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology, by Thomas W. Goodhue

Biography of Mary Anning and her life’s work of collecting fossils. Details the important discoveries she made and her contribution to the emerging science of paleontology, even though women weren’t allowed to attend colleges. It includes a discussion of societal and religious changes which occurred because of her discoveries.


History VIPs: Mary Anning, by Kay Barnham

This biography explores the life of Mary Anning, from her first fossil finds at the age of ten to her sales of important discoveries to wealthy scientists. Mary’s fossil finds made a great contribution to what scientist understood about pre-historic life. Sidebars and text boxes give context to help readers understand the society and events of the wider world in which she lived, as well as quotes and fun facts that touch on the humorous side of history.

Tooth & Claw: The Dinosaur Wars, by Deborah Noyes.

This is a tale of the epic rivalry that exploded into a personal – and professional – war between two early fossil hunters. Edward Drinker Cope wanted to find the biggest, best bones of the newly discovered dinosaurs. So did Othniel Charles Marsh. Their race to uncover bones played out across the American West and they discovered dozens of dinosaur species. But their animosity ruined their lives. Includes a list of museums where modern dino-hunters can find bones.


Dinosaur Empire! (Earth Before Us series) by Abby Howard

Ronnie is just a normal fifth grader, who is having a bit of trouble passing her science class quiz on dinosaurs. Until… her neighbor, a retired paleontologist, lends a helping hand. With a bit of time travel and science “magic”, Ronnie and Ms. Lernin find themselves in the Mesozoic era.
Other books in the series: Mammal Takeover! and Ocean Renegades!


The Dino Files Trilogy: A Mysterious Egg; Too Big to Hide; It’s Not a Dinosaur! By Stacy McAnulty

Nine-year-old Frank loves visiting his grandparents in the summer. His grandmother is a famous paleontologist and, along with his grandfather, owns the Dinosaur Education Center of Wyoming. Frank calls it DECoW and loves that it’s got labs and dig sites where people – including him – can dig for fossils. But what happens when fossils aren’t so … extinct?

STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter generated one of her first articles for kids. When not writing, you can find her committing acts of science from counting native pollinators to monitoring water quality of the local watershed. Her most recent book is Diet for a Changing Climate (2018).

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a judge for the Cybils Awards from 2017 to present. And a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at